Pamela’s dog, Louis
My partner and I are what you call “dog people”. What that means is that we adore dogs of all kinds and all breeds. We bond with a dog before we have even met the dog. We believe that their unconditional love is a part of God; they are “tenderness” personified or should I say “dogified”.
A few years into our relationship, we began to discover just how deep the love for dogs was within us. As soon as we realized that, we went shopping one day in the mountains of Colorado. In a simple discussion, we decided our relationship was ready for a dog, English Goldens would be the best breed and it was TIME...
We found our girl that same day. We named her Grace. She was a white english golden retriever. You know, the kind with a very white coat, big, square jaw and the sweet, sweet temperament. We decided that we would name her “Grace” so that every time we looked at her or called her name, we would experience grace. Believe it or not, that is EXACTLY what happened.
There were two dogs that followed. Joli came to us to help me survive the loss of Grace and she was a devoted yellow lab chow mix. After Joli died, Rosie came to us. She was also a lab and she turned out to have serious separation anxiety issues. Rosie was not able to “give” much because her needs were so great. Since I was used to Grace and Joli giving and giving and then giving some more, and then giving back to them in that wholehearted way, Rosie was a challenge. I loved her and it was more of a relationship like parent to troubled child.
I realize now, that what I really need is a dog who is an emotional support service dog. As I age, the calm a dog can bring becomes increasingly more necessary for me. It's also quite helpful, when I work with clients for “dog energy” to be in the room. Clients relax more and have an easier time truly opening up.
In the Medicine Cards “The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals” by Sams and Carson, dogs embody the quality of loyalty. I remember that in my relationship with the God of My Understanding, God's loyalty continues to teach me how to be constant with myself; whether I am behaving in a way that I appreciate or not, God still wags her tail.
Here's the poem that describes dogs in that reference book.
You are so noble,
Until the bitter end,
Your medicine is the teaching,
Of true and loyal friends.
Today, in just a few hours we are experimenting with a new dog. A breeder from High Desert Laboradors in Texas is giving us a chance to try out her dog. The dog's name is Sky. She is two years old, beautiful white coat and deep chocolate brown eyes. Sky is described as having a sweet temperament and she knows her basic commands.
The reason Sky is coming on “trial” and not for good is because I don't want to repeat my experience with Rosie. It was too hard to have a dog that needed so much from me and who had little capacity to give back yet I loved her and I considered her my teacher. She helped me accept my own neediness, my own inability to let go into the love.
Sky will be here for 10 days. She also has degenerative hip disease which is osteo-arthritis. Both Grace and Joli had to have all 4 knees replaced though they were older when the disease showed up. Sky's hip issues may or may not intensify sooner rather than later. This isn't a deal breaker though. If she has the qualities of an emotional support service dog, we would be happy to help care for her body.
Her owner and I agree, if we are the “right match” and can partner well, then this will be a “go.” If not, Sky is already dearly and deeply loved and she'll have an experience with us much like when kids go to camp. She'll return home after a great vacation with new friends.
In the twelve- step model, which is part of my own spiritual path, the second step states, “We came to believe that there is a power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity.” I have translated that step to be, “I came to believe that there is a power much vaster than I and also living deep within the wellspring of my being, who can restore me to wholeness.” Sky will help me to further embody that step. Her vastness as “Sky”, if she is “the one”, will bring calm and stillness into my heart.
I WISH THAT YOUR DOG OR CAT OR CHILD OR PARENT IS ALSO A MANIFESTATION OF GOD FOR YOU,
P.S. It turned out Sky was not “the one”. It was a wonderful experiment though. I learned I am no longer able to handle a big, active dog with a tremendous amount of energy. Sky went to a family near here with 3 younger kids...