animal guides

I Apologize to Slug and Bow with Gratitude for the Teaching

I Apologize to Slug and Bow with Gratitude for the Teaching

I want to publicly apologize to the slug. I’ve come to realize I was associating my idea of slug negatively yesterday, when in fact, embodying slug was exactly what I needed to be doing.

For many of us, I think we truly don’t appreciate the slug and what they can teach us and now the gem of a teaching surfaced from slug that I felt called to the page to share.

As many of you know, since 2006 I’ve been caring for dachshunds with IVDD and on my third now with Gidget. It hasn’t always been easy, but a path I was called to, and then chose to travel for various reasons. Though it has come with many rewards too and which I’m very grateful for the growth I’ve experienced. And not to be left out, the depth of love I’ve received from them!

So perhaps you are wondering how the teaching of a slug plays into this? Well, hopefully it will make sense, but bear with me as this is how my mind works. 🙂

Recently Gidget had another Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which can be common with dogs with disc disease. After treating it with antibiotics, unfortunately it came back. So a sample of her urine was sent in for a culture to see what type of bacteria we are dealing with to be able to treat it accordingly in hopes it will completely clear up. It’s a road I’ve been down often with all of my doxie’s. On top of the extra daily care required with dogs with disc disease, along with other health challenges with Gidget along the way, well, I was left feeling exhausted.

A part of me is also realizing that my time will eventually come to an end one day where I will no longer care for a special needs dachshund. While I thought at one time I’d always want to care for a special needs dog, in being honest with myself the last few years, I’m looking forward to a day where I won’t have these constraints. While honestly, I feel some joy with this awareness, I also feel sadness too. It’s been so much a part of who I am.

While I’ve never had children, and I wouldn’t compare a dog with that of a child, I feel like I can somewhat relate to thinking about that empty nest concept that will eventually come for me. Of course, I have no idea when that will be. But Gidget will be twelve in April and with the recent loss of Kylie, perhaps it is why it looms larger on my mind than usual.

And yesterday, I just felt exhausted from all these years of caring for a special needs dachshund, plus what is going on with Gidget right now, and with my own psyche of understanding all of this as part of preparing myself for that someday.  While also recognizing I don’t want to lose site of living in the present moment and enjoy each precious moment with Gidget. But I also do think about what my life will look like after I’ve been so used to being in the mode of caring for a special needs dog.

A part of me feels ready for this step when it comes, but a part of me does not. And then I fight internally with myself when I feel exhausted as I did yesterday. It can all be quite the emotional roller coaster. And I didn’t go willingly at first, but decided I would just be a slug for the rest of the day after running some errands yesterday morning. 

So I slept on and off all afternoon trying to honor that is what I needed. Though I kept negatively referring to myself as a slug. As the afternoon sunshine gave way to dusk and then dark, I began to feel lighter in spirit once again and that I could handle whatever comes my way.

It then occurred to me that I was back, being in my body once again as I felt more grounded. And I thought about how it is like that of a snail who carries a shell on their back that is their home. But I first had to be a slug and not carry the weight of the world on my back and instead surrender to what was, and honor a s-l-o-w-e-r pace to find my balance once again.

This also made me think about the spiral design on the shell of a snail which is wonderful symbolism for life and how we must allow ourselves to spiral in and then out again. We can’t always be living in an outward spiral motion! In other words, we can’t always be in a state of going or doing!

After this realization, I did some research and appreciate the symbolism I found regarding slug and snail that makes perfect sense: 

A Slug embodies both the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine. Because of this, the slug is more a spiritual being than an earthly being. Great balance and strength is also a message that the slug can bring to its beholder.

Snails symbolize many deep and powerful things that most of us might not realize. These little crawlers are more in-depth than ever imagined. Keep in mind that not only are there land snails, but there are also sea snails so in this regard this species bridges the gap between elements. And any animal that bridges the gap between two elements bridges the gap between the mundane and the spiritual worlds.

A snail symbolizes:

  • bridging the gap between the element of Earth and Water
  • the spiral or cycle of life, death, and rebirth
  • the earth’s rotation around the sun
  • carrying one’s home with them
  • taking one’s time and enjoying life at a slower pace

It all brought it home when I thought about the importance of finding sanctuary and bringing myself back into balance again – just like slug symbolizes and with snail who carries their home on their back.

And I came to realize all the symbolism that was playing out the last two days that was showing me I needed to rest. Not only with slug and snail as my guides, but also what was said by one of the gal’s in my women’s mastermind group when we met in my home Wednesday morning.

She shared with me the positive energy she could feel being in my home and how she feels that is so much a part of who I am and what I exude in the world. Then Thursday morning doing my daily ritual of pulling an oracle card and journaling with it, what should I pull, but a card about home?!

Home in the literal sense, being my home, is my sanctuary. It’s where I can completely be me. It’s where I can find respite from my whirling thoughts and let go and surrender so I can eventually come back home to the heart of who I am and what matters.

Today I can see with utmost clarity how slug, along with the symbolism of snail and messages I was receiving about home were reflecting what it was I truly needed to honor for myself in order to move forward again.

And this my friends, is what I call magical, when we can open to life in this way and see it as all part of the process.



P.S. To appreciate Slug and Snail even more, I share this sweet video!

Pet Grief: Integrating it one Pauseful Moment at a Time

Pet Grief: Integrating it one Pauseful Moment at a Time

It’s been a little over two months since Kylie left her earthly trail and now travels among the stars. With the full moon last night, driving home from date night with John, I couldn’t take my eyes off that mystical and magical glow in the night sky.

Alone in my thoughts I felt the presence of Kylie now a part of the vast universe and that exquisite orb so full of wonder and mystery. I’ve thought about her everyday since she moved on, and Tuesday afternoon on a saunter through the woods, I carried in my pocket a portion of her ashes to scatter.

It was a part on the trail I remember well and can still see Kylie standing there waiting for me in the early fall of 2013. It was a sacred and special time between her and and I when I took a two month sabbatical after my dachshund Joie, passed away. We formed a bond during that time which was magical and needed.

Scattering part of her ashes at this spot on the trail had been nudging at my heart for quite a few weeks now. But I wasn’t ready until now. In part, because I’ve been working through some things I needed to understand, and how her last days unfolded.

I don’t want to live in “what if’s” or regret, but instead honor her life by the many gifts she was to me and John, and also the gift of her legacy, which has come into full view with the help of two friends who have been thoughtful reflections for me the last few weeks.

So as I stood at this spot in the woods where I fondly recalled many happy days walking with Kylie and where our bond grew by leaps and bounds, I invoked an ancient Hawaiian practice a friend recently told me about. It spoke to me as the final piece I’d been waiting for to guide me to close the gap of healing that needed to take place.

It’s called Ho’oponopono and can help restore harmony within, and with others by saying, ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.’

And so with each statement, beginning with ‘I’m sorry,’ I talked out loud to Kylie surrounded by the trees, standing on the very spot of the earth where I still see her face so full of joy and her heart bursting with love.

While what I talked to her about is private and between her and me, there were tears that I was finally able to release that had been whirling around in this inner black void.

As I shared with Kylie some things I was sorry about and wished I could have done differently, a hawk swooped across the trail about ten feet in front of me. It happened so fast, but yet it was as if time stood still as I was in complete awe.

Hawk’s appearance for me in that moment and what I’ve percolated in what I feel it meant, is that I believe Hawk symbolized not dwelling in the sorry, but to understand the deeper and true message of my life with Kylie. I take it as I was meant to swiftly move into the statement that was the hardest for me which was, ‘please forgive me.’ 

And once I did, and worked through that sharing with Kylie, this abundance of joy flooded my whole body as I then thanked her for all she was to me, and still is.

The final statement, of which is never truly final, and that of ‘I love you,’ opened the floodgates of pure, unconditional love. It brought me to this new place of healing for having taken the time to pause and remember that we truly can connect with those that are no longer physically here. And we can ask for what we need and say what we need to say, and know that it was heard and understood, just as the practice of Ho’oponopono teaches.

Integrating this piece of the healing into my being, I now understand on a new and needed level as Kylie’s legacy which speaks so beautifully to the depth of love she was not only for me, but for all those that loved her.

With some of her ashes now scattered in those tiny woods only five minutes from my home, I feel at peace knowing part of her spirit frolics among the trees. While I can be with her anytime I pause and take the time to do so, it’s that part of the trail that is now that much more sacred. I know I’ll be called to visit often and it will be the greatest honor to do so. 

I’ll see you soon sweet girl.

Lastly, I share this quote from the book, The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee’s. While I didn’t read the book, I appreciated the quote which I recently read on a fellow blogger’s website. While Thomas speaks about cats, I feel this quote really hits home the beauty and love and our dog companions, too.

“We love our cats with a purity and grace not possible in our love of our spouses, our parents, or even our children. People are too complicated for love as simple as what we bear to our cats. It is not agape, phileo, caritas, amor, or eros (roughly: selfless love, brotherly love, love of humankind, romantic love, and erotic love, respectively). I believe it has never been named. The kinship between our cats and ourselves reaches deep beneath consciousness, to a place before history, perhaps even before the development of self-expressible human intellect … It is devotional, like prayer, and like prayer it is met with silence. Our devotion is what gives cats their power.”



Animals as Oracles: A Quest to Connect, Contemplate and Create

The animal world has much to teach us. Some animals are experts at survival and adaptation. Some are great nurturers and protectors. Some have great fertility and others have great gentleness. Some embody strength and courage, while others can teach us playfulness. The animal world shows us the potentials we can unfold. But to learn from them, we must first learn to speak with them.

When we learn to speak with the animals, to listen with animal ears and to see through animal eyes, we experience the phenomena, the power, and the potential of the human essence. They become our teachers, our friends, and our companions. They show us the true majesty of life itself. They restore our forgotten childlike wonder at the world, and they reawaken our lost belief in magic, dreams and possibilities. ~Ted Andrews, author of Animal Speak – The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small

I feel so blessed to have, and continue to, experience many beautiful teachings from animals – dogs I’ve shared (and share) my life with – and many of the creatures in the animal kingdom.

In my quest to deepen this journey I want to:

  • Continue to deepen my love and understanding of animals, connecting more often with their symbolic teachings and wisdom.
  • Devote more time to my writing and journaling to allow teachings from the animals to gently bubble to the surface.
  • Deepen my work with oracle cards as a tool for self-reflection and insight I may not otherwise have thought of as a way in which to see the world in a more insightful and meaningful way.
  • Honor my desire to express my creativity, and especially that of playing more with something I could honestly get lost in for hours, which is creating with digital programs such as Canva.

So every day I will draw a card from an animal oracle deck, percolate in its wisdom, consider how I can integrate that animals teaching into my life…and then I will share my insight via a graphic I will design in Canva!

I welcome you to join me on this quest as a partner and sharing how animals have served as oracles in your life, too! Just follow along on Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #animalsasoracles

Today’s animal card from: Messages from Your Spirit Animal Guides by Dr. Steven Farmer