for the love of dogs

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.”



On Knowing When It’s the Right Dog for You

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I’ve been watching with great interest as my favorite author, Jon Katz and his dear artist wife, Maria of Bedlam Farm have been searching for a new dog to bring into their lives.

The breeder they hoped to get a pup from was taking longer than usual, the dog not going into heat when they’d hoped. They considered adopting, but had a bad experience visiting a shelter over the weekend.

But then something prompted Jon to reach out to the woman who had given him his border collie, Red. As fate would have it and the stars aligned, they knew when they saw the pup with one blue eye that she was the one.

And get this….her name is Fate. I think they need no other clearer signs than this. It was meant to be.

It brought up the times this has happened to me. How it is when you just know. While at times I’ve been anxious for a new dog after one has passed, I believe that it has to feel right—that there is this connection that is undeniable.

At least this is how it works for me. It made me think again about Gidget and how I found her. Or perhaps I should say she found me? But likely once again everything aligned and we were supposed to be together.

When I saw her face and those telling eyes, after looking at hundreds of dachshunds, I felt that familiar tingle in my heart. She was the one.

While I had passed over many sweet and adorable, and most likely great dogs, I couldn’t stop looking at Gidget and found myself getting lost in her eyes. She drew me into her being. I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

It just brings me back to how connection is so important—for both you and your new dog.

Each day our love for each other deepens. I learn new things because of Gidget. I’m learning to step into and own more of my belief’s.

She is the one. And while I don’t know what the future holds, I take one day at a time, soaking in all the love that she is. And I thank all the stars in the universe for lining up in just the right way that brought her to me.

Jon’s post about what happened during a shelter visit in Vermont is worth reading. I was saddened to learn that some animal shelters are now using a process for adopting pets out that seems cold and impersonal for both the person and the dog.

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It’s a Tough Job, but Someone Has to Do It. I Want This Job.

kylie holding down the bedEvery morning after I feed Kylie her breakfast she makes her way back to the bedroom.  She hops on the bed and seems well, err…. to hold it down. This is her job.  She takes it very seriously as you can see. No one else can do it quite as good as her.  Though I’d sure like a shot at it.  Oh yes, the life of a dog!