spirit dogs

A Deep Stirring of the Heart

A Deep Stirring of the Heart
Just days before Frankie moved on…

I was deeply moved by a post  on author Jon Katz’ blog this morning. So much so, I’m still having tearful moments as I write this.

They aren’t tears of sadness, though some bittersweet. But tears of recognition – of understanding – of having been in this space – and have come away from it profoundly changed.

Jon’s border collie, Red, who so many have come to love, is dealing with an unknown illness right now. A therapy dog who has touched so many lives he is also the spirit dog here at this time marking a passage in Jon’s life.

Having talked with a healer and animal communicator this morning, Jon wrote this:

Kimberly was direct, she told me that my challenge now was to recognize Red’s exhaustion and discomfort, and to give  him the time he needs to rest and to heal.

There was a time in my life when I would not have been able to hear this, I was too broken myself,  but I know Kimberly and trust her, and she simply went to the heart of it with me and with Red.

This stirred my heart with much emotion remembering my work with my paralyzed dachshund, Frankie, who was in a wheelchair, and touched so many lives herself. And without a doubt in every fiber of my being, she came here to help me heal – though I didn’t recognize it at first – and that gift would continue to unfold as we had a shared purpose and mission.

The recognition in realizing I was sensing she was slowing down in 2011 – she was ready to retire. Her time was coming to an end and my life, and our life as I’d come to love it, was about to change. And I didn’t know how I’d go on without her.

But in those last six months, and for months afterwards, the whisper in my heart that didn’t want to surface or admit to was that I too, was ready to slow down and move on. And it was also in learning to let go of what was, and to accept that Frankie wouldn’t live forever, and that I’d be okay.

It opened my heart to understanding more than before that with the gut-wrenching pain of loss, finding our way back to gratefulness of what was, was the whole point of our journey. How blessed I was to have had the opportunities I did with her.

How blessed I was to have this spirit dog, who forever changed my life for the better. It was imperative that I recognize and honor her wish to now retire and live out her days next to my side as I wrote the memoir of our journey.

This too, an enriching gift, of days with her all to myself. To give thanks for all the compassion she not only showed me, but others.

And getting to this place of not wallowing in her passing, but in the bliss that she brought to my life, that her gift lives on… and her spirit fills me each and every time I think of her.

And I’m grateful when my heart gets stirred from a post like Jon’s – a reminder of a time that was excruciatingly difficult, but with time I can now look back and my heart smiles with such joy from the love of Frankie.

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Spirit Dog’s See Me and Help Keep the Light Shining.

barb, kylie and gidgetKylie loves her kennel. When she was a pup we trained her to be in it while we were gone. It has come to be her “happy” place. Her place to center and chill out.

To this day, when we get ready to leave, she goes in her kennel and lies down. We don’t even close the door. Often times during the day you will find her sleeping (and snoring loudly!) in her kennel.

John has dubbed it her “apartment.”  Last night Gidget and I went to “visit” Kylie at her apartment. It was very nice. She was happy to have Gidget and me over for a visit. Though she didn’t serve tea, I was happy to just be hanging out with her in her special space.

I asked John to take a picture of me hanging out with my girls. When I look at it, I see me. Meaning, I really see who I am. I feel like I can almost see my soul. Maybe this sounds silly, but I really can identify with myself when I am surrounded by my dogs. It’s this feeling of knowing deep in my heart and bones that I am one with them. That we are here to help each other.  That they love me – They see me – They accept me… That they get me.

I can be me – all of who I am – with them. No holding back. And this animal wisdom I carry with me as I move out into the world each day. It’s the light I wish to carry inside me always which I hope radiates out to others, and touches them in whatever way is meant to be right and good for them.