To Think It All Began with a Phone Call.

flowerIt all began with a phone call.

The day before I was going to help Frankie transition and become a dog angel in heaven.

My friend Mary, bless her heart forever, for suggesting I call her friend, Dawn.

Dawn is an animal communicator.

I knew of her, but didn’t know her.

I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do.

My hands shaking, I picked up the phone and punched her number into my key pad.

My heart was beating wildly.

The kindest voice answered.

I explained who I was and the gut wrenching decision I was in the process of making.

She was in the middle of a hectic day of book publishing with last minute details.

But she dropped everything for me and Frankie.

She said, “It was in your voice. I knew you needed help.”

The gift of having her communicate with Frankie solidified for me that I was making the right decision.

Frankie and I had come to the end of our beautiful journey here on earth together. She was ready to move on.

Dawn helped me to trust in my heart that this was right. That I’d be okay and so would Frankie.

I’ll never, ever forget that day. Dawn’s serene and calm words of wisdom that made me know the journey with Frankie would not end. But it would evolve into a new level. We’d always be together. There was nothing to fear.

A year later I met Dawn for coffee when she visited Wisconsin. I didn’t want my time to end with her because I felt so connected in a special way to her.

She returned again this past week as I hosted an animal communication workshop in my home that she taught.

We met today to say goodbye before she heads back home to Alaska tomorrow. She is a gift.

I drove home floating on a cloud for the friendship I have with Dawn. Her spirit that is larger than life. Her heart that is open and shares freely.

It’s her secure knowing in herself as a woman that shines so brightly that makes me feel grounded and happy in her company.

She is a wise role model for me. A mentor. A dear friend.

Brought together by a phone call two years ago. Thank you Universe (and Mary) for bringing us together.

My soul having evolved just a bit more because of her.

And I know when she reads this she will be ever so humble. But it’s all true. And I wanted her to know.

Love you, dear friend!

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A Tribute to Olive: One of the First Dachshund’s in a Wheelchair Frankie & I Befriended.

IMG_0004It’s like people. Some you feel more connected to than others. And so it was with a dear, little, sweet dachshund named Olive.

She was the first Dachshund in a wheelchair I came to know after publishing my first children’s book about my dachshund Frankie, who was also in a wheelchair. Both Frankie and Olive had Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).

Home 045 eI felt this special kinship not only with Olive, but her loving and devoted “mom” and “dad,”  Jill and Eric.

Caring for a special needs dog isn’t for everyone. But when we befriend others who care for these special pups, you seem to form a bond like no other.  Jill and Eric, like John and I, had no children.  Like our dogs, Olive meant everything to Jill and Eric as a very special part of their family.

Home 034 eOlive made her transition on Monday, August 11, 2014.

Reading Jill’s email that morning that they had made the difficult decision to finally let Olive go, had tears rolling down my face. I felt like, in a sense, I was losing one of my own.

Olive had wiggled her way right into my heart the first time I saw a picture of her that Jill shared with me. I enjoyed knowing how she was doing and seeing updated photos of her as the years passed. I prayed each time something was wrong with her that she would recover. She bounced back each time with amazing and stunning resilience as she battled various issues.

IMG_0958Lastly, I sat in a moment of silence for her, miles away, me in Wisconsin, and she in Kentucky, as I knew her transition would be soon. I prayed she would go peacefully. I pictured Frankie and Joie welcoming her to heaven. I wished dogs never had to die.

I’ve  thought about Jill and Eric often these past few days. I can’t get them out of my mind. I share in their heartache. I know the pain well, as do scores of many others who have loved, and lost, a beloved pet.

I know there is nothing I can do to ease the pain. I know each of us grieves in our own, unique way. I know, as was for me, that time does dull the pain, though you never, ever forget.

I think about all the beautiful lesson’s Olive taught Jill and Eric. I think about how they are forever changed. I think about how their hearts expanded beyond measure for having Olive in their lives.

Olive 006 eAnd then there is the love. The unconditional love Olive has for Jill and Eric. It remains. It will never leave. It will be there to call upon when the pain comes in yet another wave. The memories that eventually will heal the heart to smile again. To love again. These are the things that I pray for Jill and Eric.

And it is only in taking a small step each and every day, that moves you through the grief. That, and the picture that stays embedded in their hearts of a little dog in wheels who loved life with everything she had.

I shall not say goodbye to you my little furry friend, Olive… but know that it will be a glorious day when I see not only all my beloved pets, but you too, who I thought the world of.

olive2005

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Animal Communication Journal, Part 2: Connecting with Kylie. Letting Go of Guilt.

IMG_2106 12On Monday, two days after the animal communication workshop I hosted, I walked by the mirror that sits on my vanity and Kylie caught my eye as I saw her reflection in the mirror. I quickly grabbed my camera and got this shot. I love it. It speaks to so much of what transpired during a group connection with her.

First a bit of background:

Kylie was only six months old when my dachshund, Frankie became paralyzed. Initially, John was the one to want another Lab after our chocolate Lab passed away nine years ago. I  recall not being sure if I was ready. But then I thought about how I wanted a therapy dog. Maybe Kylie would be the therapy dog I wanted, I thought, so the excitement grew in finding just the right puppy.

It didn’t work out the way I had planned. Frankie became my therapy dog after she recovered from her disc surgery and was then fitted for a wheelchair. Looking back I know this was the plan, though I didn’t know it at the time.  As it would also turn out, and I discovered as the years unfolded, Kylie was happier in her own environment. Therapy dog work would have not been for her.

At times I’ve felt guilty for the extra attention Frankie needed, then Joie, and now Gidget. I also felt guilty many times I’d leave the house to do my work with Frankie, leaving Kylie behind. And this is such a difficult thing for me to admit – In many ways I’ve felt like I’ve failed Kylie.

During the 2-day workshop, Kylie stayed in her kennel in the kitchen or laid on the bed in our bedroom. The two places that make her feel safe and comforted. Kylie can feel off center when things are out of place and my living room was surely that with furniture arranged differently and chairs added to accommodate 10 people for the workshop. She would peek in at us from time to time, but made no attempt to want to be among us.

Dawn led the group in a short meditation and then they first connected with Gidget.  After everyone shared their thoughts about her, we went right into connecting with Kylie.

Dawn asked me to ask my question of Kylie that I most wanted to know from her, so the group could then connect with her to see what they would get.

I said, “My question to Kylie is this:  What is the one lesson you are trying to teach me that I may not yet be getting?”

What happened next with one young lady in particular brought me to tears, releasing a deep guilt I’ve been carrying around for quite a few years.  Because it was so emotional for me, I actually reached out to Renee (not her real name) via email earlier this week and asked her if she’d be willing to share her notes she’d written about Kylie from the reading. Because I felt distraught at the time, I didn’t capture exactly what Kylie had conveyed during the reading.

This is what she wrote to me about Kylie:

Kylie was being a little shy and insecure during the reading. She has a heavier energy and needs time to adjust to new things. She worries about things and has some feelings of conflict about being a dog. She doesn’t have some “normal” doggy preferences and behaviors (like playing fetch). She likes support from you and to be in the light of your love and compassion, including self-love and self-compassion.

When asked the question from you: what is the one lesson you are trying to teach me that I might not be getting? I received a very strong “YES”, there is a lesson. I felt her energy really perk up when asked this and she was very straight-forward. She answered, “Everyone needs and wants love.” There was an emphasis on the word everyone and I felt it was to represent herself and you as being included in the statement. There was no sense of judgment coming from Kylie. No self-pity, guilt or resentment, just an understanding that everyone is worthy of love. Kylie seemed relieved to have been able to share that.

Renee also told me as she was reviewing her notes to send me, the song by Melissa Ethridge, Only Love, kept playing over and over in her head. She suggested I check it out. When I did, it brought it home full circle for me (video below).

In one sense it was very hard for me to hear what Kylie shared because the guilt I’ve carried about her having weighed heavier on my heart than I think I even realized. Even though I’ve never been a mom to children, I feel trying to relate my feelings in the following way helps me make sense of it.

Trying to be everything for each of my dog’s hasn’t always been easy. Because my dachshund’s have special needs, and I love caring for them, I have always felt like Kylie has gotten the short end of the stick — so to speak. My guilt in that I don’t spend as much time with her as I have, and do, with my other dogs. But I love her. I love her very much. It just feels different.

In a sense, I’ve relied on Kylie to be the strong one. The self-love and self-compassion really spoke to me as I caught her reflection in the mirror the other day. If I don’t let go of the guilt, I can’t love myself in order to give her more of my love. The self-compassion also speaks volumes as I must be compassionate with myself and where I’ve been and how I’m evolving. Kylie’s heart is big  and open and she accepts me, even when I don’t feel I’ve been the best I should be with her.

On a spectacular side note:  After the group connected with, and heard from Kylie, something pretty special happened. Kylie came into the living room and made her way around to everyone in the room. It was if she was thanking them for the honor of being heard. It brings tears to my eyes as I finish writing this post.

Everyone is worthy of love and we must first begin with ourselves. We must remember to forgive ourselves when we aren’t at our best or try so hard to be everything to everyone.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hugged Kylie since the workshop. I silently talk with her and thank her for her words of wisdom. I also tell her how much I truly love her for who she is. But the difference now is because of my shift in understanding and forgiving myself, I believe she feels that on a whole new level for herself…. and that makes my heart so very happy.

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