For those of you who have ever allowed yourself to be fully loved by a dog, will understand my words. The love of an animal can go beyond the love of humans. The day that sweet being picks you, is the day where your life is given more meaning, love and if you are open to it, lessons.
The day she picked me changed my life. She looked into my eyes as the runt of the litter and spoke to me without saying a word. She said “mama pick me, I am the one who belongs in your life, it’s me that you are supposed to care for and go through life with”. Without question I just knew. Just like any dog owner, you just know when you have been lucky enough to have been chosen to be the most loved being. Those eyes. I still catch her just looking at me with those beautiful soul full eyes that speaks years of life and knowledge. I promised to give her the best life possible. Gave her long walks all across Ontario, different trails each month, daily 2-4 hour walks, jogs and runs, sleepovers, home cooked meals, play dates, cottage trips, resort trips, beach days, shopping trips, etc. She was part of the family.
As I sit here and watch her, I am reminded of everything she has taught me. My very first lesson was when we were in Hungary many years back. She had a huge field to run around in and roam as she pleased. Not that I ever put her on a leash, not even in the city, as she was so well trained and my words were more effective then a leash. She would sit on the back porch step and… just sit. For hours she would gaze out into nature and observe the birds flying around the trees, the woodpecker knocking on the trunk of the tree, the rustling of the leaves and whatever else she saw that the rest of the world didn’t. My little spiritual old soul. She was fully in the present moment. Always. She enjoyed every minute of every activity wanted or not, without any complaints. As there were days I had to bring her into the store with me for work, she laid there without a sound, occasionally coming up to me for a hug or to tell me she has to pee. She was never ever a bother, if anyone had met her, they immediately gravitated towards her energy. She would greet people with a wag of the tail and sit and without asking give them paw, as if she were shaking their hand. An impressive little girl, one could only be amazed at her human like behaviour. I would often tell her “baby girl just speak, you are so close”. While her words did not come out, she would listen and obey without effort. From drinking and peeing on command, she would also understand when I asked her to go up on the curb, places we were going, people we were seeing and the list goes on. She would never and I mean ever chew on furniture or clothing, wouldn’t make a mess or destroy anything. She was literally perfect in every way.
My Peanut taught me patience…or at least tried to. This one time, we went out for a run before I had to go to work. It was 4am as I was starting early day shift and it was pitch dark outside. I never put a leash on peanut but I always bring it just in case…actually I just tie the poop bags on it.
As I was running laps, Peanut would run a little, then she would find a stick and then come back and run with me. This would go on as I ran the track. But at one point she picked up her leash and started running with it, which she enjoys doing quite often. In fact her most favorite thing to do is walk with the leash in her mouth, almost to show everyone “hey look everyone, I can walk myself!”
As I finished my run, I told P we were going and she was right behind me. But as we began to go I realized I forgot her leash. Going back to the track I couldn’t find it anywhere. I started getting upset and kept telling P to go and find it. But it was dark and she tried but failed. I started to stress and was getting very irritated because I was going to be late for work. Well Peanut did not seem to like my behaviour and she sat down under a tree and just watched me. Then I got upset because I couldn’t find P. I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off…terrible analogy as I have lived on a farm. But she kept quiet, wouldn’t reveal herself. She just watched. I stopped and took some deep breaths and I changed my tune. I called Peanut only to realize she had been sitting about 25m from me just watching. It was the only day she ever hid from me. I felt embarrassed and ashamed at my behaviour so early in the morning. I apologized to her and at that moment she popped up and was ready to go wherever I was going. Bless her heart for calling me out on it and teaching me a thing or two about patience and glow in the dark leashes.
She taught me that giving is something you do from the heart and if it’s taken and gone, then that too is okay. She would always allow other dogs to have her toys, sometimes she would play with the dogs in tug a war but if they took it from her, she would just give it and look for another toy. On our walks she would find sticks and balls that she just adored and carried it with her throughout our walk. But when it came time to let it go, as I wasn’t going to bring it home, she would look up at me, drop it, and we would continue on. No fuss, she enjoyed it while she had it and was able to let it go and move on when it was time to. A lesson I admired so much as she showed it to me in countless ways of how easy it was.
Peanut is my little love bug. She would have everyone in love with her in seconds. That was because she radiated peace and love. Doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. Loved all beings, including animals. She loved chasing squirrels, she would run with them but never actually catch them. Only once did she catch one but I think it scared her so much she spat the squirrel out, it kept running and she ran to me.
She would watch bunnies as they ran in front of her, never chasing them. In fact one time, we came across a wounded baby bird. As I approached the poor little thing I wanted to pick it up with something and put the baby bird close to the tree in hopes mama will come back for it. The whole time Peanut sat down close to me and just watched. As if she knew this baby bird was wounded and she was the protector. Bless her heart.
Now some would say that animals are meant to hunt and kill their prey so it’s only natural for them to chase and try to catch other animals. But P never did. She was around chickens and hens and she was more curious about them then anything else. And no she was not a vegetarian, I cooked her all sorts of meat.
A true warrior my little nut butter is. When she was hurt, I wouldn’t even know because she was such a trooper. Continued on. In my glorious 81/2 years of having her, I may have heard her yelp once or twice. She never showed signs of pain. One time when we went hiking on a beautiful trail up north, she cut her toe nail on a rock that I didn’t even realize till later once I saw a trail of blood behind her steps. She kept playing and continued on. My heart ached at the strength and tolerance she had towards anything life threw at her. When she got sick the vet and techs could not believe how abiding she was. She would even raise her head as she knew they were going to take blood from her neck. But it breaks my heart as she must be suffering quietly now. Laying there, fighting to survive. Now, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly with my previous profession. Not much I haven’t seen. As a sensitive person to begin with, watching this is literally the hardest thing I have ever had to endure. I am doing everything for her, from carrying her out to pee, hand feeding her mashed food I cooked, massaging her, meditating and giving reiki to her, spending as much time as possible with her and trying my hardest, as broken as I am to make her happy. She was my rock for the last 81/2 years, this is only naturally that I do everything in my power to help her. As she is a warrior and the strongest soul I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
For the longest time I used to think that loving too hard is the worst thing in the world because it always leads to devastation. A feeling I am all too familiar with. But over the years, over the many experiences I had come to know, it is actually such a rare and beautiful thing. Many people can’t handle someone “loving them too much” as this can be a scary thing for some looking at it from the outside. But loving too hard is merely when you see another equal to you, when you wish for their happiness to be the same as yours if not better, when you wish their health to be perfect, just as you would for yourself and that you will do anything, and I mean anything in your power to help them and be there for them in times of need. It does not mean you sacrifice your life for theirs, it means you include them in your life as your own. No selfishness, just the glorious act of giving. Not just love, but of your time and attention or however else you can help and ease one’s hardship. So if you ever come across a being who “loves too hard” in whatever shape or form, be grateful that you have encountered a being with such capacity to love and that you are a part of that.
It does not mean you are so attached to them that they become your lifeline to happiness. It means that while they are in your life you show loyalty, an abundant amount of love and kindness and when it is time to let go, when you have done all you can with no regrets, then you ease their soul back home. Even after doing everything you possibly can for another, there is always a higher power at play. Call it The Universe, Energy or God, where it is no longer in your hands.
Will there be tears, buckets full, will you wake up throughout the night and be thinking of them, guaranteed. But you realize that all things end, good and bad. And when you have been blessed with the most beautiful soul for a big chunk of your life, you cannot help but feel gratitude and love for being so damn lucky.
Perhaps this experience was to teach me about energy. That my stress and my sadness is absorbed and felt most importantly by the one who is there for me day and night. Her loyalty and unconditional love had gotten me through some hard times, but perhaps that was what made her sick. Had I been in perfect harmony, at peace and radiating love perhaps this would not have happened. In no way am I conjuring regrets. I did the best I knew how in that moment. But it is definitely something to reflect on. A heartbreaking lesson, one that will scar me for life. But I guess you grow the most from the hardest times…not from the nice and fluffy ones.
She has always been a solid rock in my life. She was what “home” meant. She always loved unconditionally not matter the mood, the situation. I’ll never forget the worry in her eyes when I got sick many years ago. I had gone through a stressful time and created acidity in my stomach. I spent the night hugging the toilet as my empty stomach was throwing up whatever it could. Peanut came running in and kept pushing her nose under my armpit and neck. She would sit down beside me and put her paw on me in comfort. Bless her heart, she tried to help the best she could, and she did.
My final lesson from her was the most important one. She taught me to open up my eyes and appreciate whatever is in my life at this very moment. I struggled for a while as I had opportunities to work in Europe but when Peanut got sick I declined them one at a time. I was staying put. I stay in Toronto, itching to leave but have Peanut. I leave to Europe and Peanut will no longer be with me. I naturally made the choice of staying with her as I was lucky enough to gain time and take care of her like she did to me all those years. But it opened up my eyes. I befriended my situation. I let go of those so called opportunities and made peace with it. I focused on my beloved fur child as she needed me so badly. This made me realize that there is always something good in ones life if you can just sit back and observe. Amongst all the hardship and suffering, there is always something good. In this case something amazing. Regardless of all the things I didn’t have or wanted, I had her with me still. Who knows what tomorrow brings, but for now as much pain there is in my heart, there is even more love and gratitude.
My love for her is never ending. Even when her physical body has parted me. I just pray that in this lifetime I will have the opportunity to reunite with her in another form. That she will come back to me and our souls can connect once again. As she will forever have a big part of my heart if not all.
So in the end, what has my dog taught me? Well for starters I wish to be more like my dog. Secondly, in this chaotic, sometimes selfish world, to see the yin and the yang, two extremes in our world of duality and to appreciate it for what it is. To be selfless even when the world proves otherwise and to be a warrior and live with strength even when you have none left in you. And just when you think there is nothing good in your life, you see that there are endless gifts given to each and everyone of us, every day. We just have to see it before its too late.
To my greatest love, you have left paw prints all over my heart and soul, I bid you farewell. May your soul rest in peace.