Al wants a puppy Part 2

If you haven’t read the first part of Al’s story, please see Part One here.

So the plan was this: Since I didn’t have experience talking with animals in spirit at that time, Al would have to ask a potential puppy if he would agree to exchange spirits with Zeke. Then Al would relay the information to me. Awkward? Just a little. Because this meant that we’d have to take Al along on our search for the puppy. Then the 120 pound Shepherd would have to be introduced to the candidate. This wasn’t going to be so easy.

We called the local shelters, but no one had puppies. We drove the back roads of our county to the north, but no signs indicating young dogs. Nothing.

One day we decided to head south. I’m not very familiar with the towns or the rural area south of us, but Sandy, (Al’s mom) had lived there before moving to our town. She knew the back roads, little stores, and post offices. Places we thought we might find a sign. A literal sign announcing puppies.

I asked if there was a feed store in the area. I am not someone who uses a feed store, wasn’t sure what they sold there, only it had come to me that this was the place to look. And Sandy knew of one close by. I walked into the store and there on the bulletin board was the sign we’d been looking for. “Puppies – 8 weeks old – 7 males, 1 female”. I knew we’d found our place.

That night Mark, (dad of Al) called the Puppy People. Not only did they have all the males left, but one was two colored. He was black and red. Continue reading

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Al wants a puppy: Part One

This is my friend Al. He and I have been walking and talking together since I first learned I had this ability. Whereas a lot of animal communicators learn as children, I was late to the party. And I had a lot of catching up to do. A veteran animal communicator Annette Betcher offered to mentor to me. This proved invaluable as I was on a speed track to learning and she would validate or correct the things I was getting. She told us that Al wanted a puppy during a conversation with him. We all thought that this was rather odd. He was a giant Shepherd mix, a no-nonsense kinda guy. And none of us could figure out why he would want a puppy. So I decided I should find out why.

It took hours of walking and talking together for me to get the story. Al didn’t always want to discuss it. Animals will typically tell or show you something once, and then they move on. Dogs live in the moment. And sometimes on our treks to the beach there were far more interesting things to smell, roll in, or talk about other than this puppy. But he never swayed from his goal. He wanted a puppy. One day I decided to try and ask in a way that he would explain to me, why it was he wanted a young dog. We all know what puppies are like, so why did this large in tact male dog want a youngster?

I was surprised and fascinated with his answer. He finally told me the story of his brother in spirit. They had traveled together in many lifetimes. He showed me the last one in which I saw a mutt who was medium sized, black and tan, with a heavy build. I saw next to him a beautiful Irish Setter. The two were riding in the back of a jeep. I could see the back of the driver’s head and he appeared to be a rancher or possibly a farmer. I didn’t recognize the landscape, but I knew it looked nothing like where we live. I thought that this was possibly in the Midwest somewhere. The two dogs were farm or ranch dogs. The Setter was beautiful, and the little bulky dog looked all muscle. I understood that they were loved by this man driving the jeep and went everywhere he did.

“That was us” Al explained. “I was the small dog and my brother in spirit was the red dog. I want a puppy because this will be the way I’m assured that he comes back to live this lifetime with me.” I was sure I hadn’t heard him right. At this point in my experience I had never seen or heard anything like this before. So I decided to run it by Annette.

She told me that Al was right. That there was a brother in spirit waiting for the right body for him to come into. I had no experience with animals in spirit then, so Annette did a lot to help bring this about. If an animal wants to return to a specific human (or in this case: dog) there is a better chance that a puppy will agree to the exchange since it has few attachments to the body its occupying. The animal in spirit negotiates a swap with the spirit of the young animal in a body. If there is an agreement, the young animal will return to spirit, and the animal in spirit will take its place in the young body. If an animal in spirit is sure that it will be born close to you, they will come in that way as well. I know this sounds a bit out there, but I’ve seen it happen many times now. The new animal will not be a clone of the animal it once was, but it will have many recognizable characteristics of the animal you knew before.

Annette spoke with Al’s brother and he too was eager to return. They had already decided that in this lifetime, Al could be the “handsome one” and his brother would be a mix. There is no doubt that Al is a beautiful dog. He takes your breath away when you see his massive size. He has a bit of a quirky personality, but is loyal and protective of those he loves. He had been the little mixed dog I had seen in the jeep and his brother in spirit had been the beautiful Irish Setter.

Annette went on to say that Al’s brother had two requests. He wanted to be two colors, (his words: “I think it would be kinda jazzy”) and that his name stay the same as his spirit name. We all have spirit names and then promptly forget them when our parents name us something they like. We remember them again when we return to spirit. So this brother in spirit wanted to be named: Zeke.

Al doesn’t live with me. He lives with my dear friends who’ve helped me on this journey. Without their support and occasional tests, I don’t think I would be the animal communicator I have come to be. So I told them the story of Al’s puppy. They already knew he wanted one but once they heard why, they agreed to get another dog. They agreed to find a dog that was two colors, and they also thought Zeke would be a good name.

The search was on for a two colored puppy named Zeke.

al_d

“My name is Bozo”

bozo

This is my good friend Bozo. He was a neighbor for many years, and not only does he look a lot like Bart, he has some of the same idiosyncrasies. For example, Bart insisted on drinking water out of a dripping water faucet – so does Bozo. I have never known any other cat that does this although I’m sure there are few others. We used to get calls from the city that we had a water leak, but it was simply that Bart insisted we leave a steady stream of water running for him in the bathroom. Bozo’s mom turns it on and off for him. (she has better boundaries than we did)

And Bozo was Bart’s only friend. One day I spotted the two of them sunning together at on a vacant front porch. Had Bart seen me, he would have instantly turned on Bozo and the 19 year old warrior would have tried to have a brawl with the surprised younger and stronger kitty. Bozo has a sweeter nature than Bart did. This is where they weren’t alike. In fact in the photo of him here, he’s asking me to rub his tummy- something Bart would never allow.

When I first met Bozo, I was a little put off by his name. Who names their cat Bozo? Typically we name our animal friends with a nice noble-sounding name, and then proceed to use a variety of nicknames instead. Those of us who love our animals are reduced to puddles of love when it comes to our animal friends and silly nicknames come with that connection.

So I was really surprised that this wonderful mom who is Bozo’s human would choose such an odd name for such a great cat. She’s a writer for several of our local newspapers and asked me one day if I would interested in an interview. In preparation for the article, she wanted me to talk with Bozo – get an idea of how animal communication works, and learn a bit about his thoughts.

One of her questions was: “Do you want to be called ‘Uno’ or ‘Bozo'”? His given name was Uno, and I was anxious to find out the answer to this too as I had been calling him “Zo” for over a year. I couldn’t bring myself to call him Bozo.

I was surprised by his answer. He told me that he preferred the name Bozo. He told me proudly: “I like the name Bozo. That’s my name!” It was then that I realized that *I* was the one who needed the reality check. Bozo is a cat. He has no idea of the connotations of his name. He doesn’t know who Bozo the Clown is. He’s a cat who likes the sound of his name when humans address him. He’s proud of it.

A friend of Bozo’s mom had nicknamed him. He was flattered and felt very loved by this human. It brought a special connection between them and he liked the name Bozo better and wanted all humans to call him by this name.

Right away I felt what a snob I had been. Here I was feeling all defensive for him, when in reality he loved the feel and sound of his name. And to this day, I have never called anything but the name he prefers.

It’s a good lesson for us all. Animals are wise beyond what humans realize. And they’re not judgmental. We all have spirit names too. Animals and humans. We’re rarely given that name once we’re in a body. An example though is my good friend Zeke. He asked while in spirit that when he came into a body that he retain his spirit name. We all agreed. His name fits him and he loves it.

Now I often cat-sit for Bozo when mom goes on vacation. We have a great time and I look forward to spending time with this little sage, who taught me such a huge lesson.

Simon

Meet Simon – he’s a very special kitty. This isn’t him, but he is Siamese. He lived happily in the Bayshore Animal Hospital, who is our favorite local vet. He was allowed to come and go as he pleased. But he always came in at night. He had a good life, welcomed animals that were in for treatment, comforted humans waiting for their animal friends, and was loved very much by the vets and staff at the clinic. This was home. He showed up as a kitten and had lived in the clinic his entire life.

The original clinic was a large mobile home that had been been used for years. But their successful business and the need for a larger space was becoming evident. So last summer, construction began on a new larger facility that was located right in back of the original one. Simon watched the construction with curiosity and anxiety. What was this new building? Why was it being built in his back yard? Who was going to live there?

Finally construction was complete the day came when it was time to move to the new building. Simon watched as his humans and all their things were loaded out of his home and into the new facility. It can be chaotic in moves like this, equipment, office materials, medical equipment etc. And throughout the move, Simon became more and more anxious.

Animals are very literal. Simon didn’t understand that the brand new building was going to be his home too. To him, everyone had left him. His home was vacated of all his humans and animals. Confused and scared, he packed up and left.

I was called and asked if I could locate him through my skills as an animal communicator. But lost animals are not my forte. They are difficult to work with in that they are scared, constantly on the move, and rarely sit and wait for you to find them. I talked with him and he told me he was “in his body”. Animals know when they are still in their body and when they’ve moved to spirit. So I knew he was out there. But where?

He showed me a wooded area behind the building. He told me he hunted for food and was hiding back there. He was scared and not willing to come near the new hospital. He may have seen some of his human friends from his vantage point in the woods, but he wasn’t willing to risk coming out. Meanwhile, the devastated staff were doing everything they could to find him. They put up fliers and set traps in areas they thought he be, and also a place I suggested. The result? They captured several strays who who were kindly neutered and released back into their familiar environment.

Meanwhile, the old clinic was moved to a location down the road a few blocks. It sat there, sadly broken in half. The plan was to move it back to the property and create a second building for other uses.

Simon had been missing for three months when one day I happened to be in a shop across the street from the old clinic. It looked so sad and kind of creepy broken in half up on blocks. I had visited this old place many times with my kitties and it looked sad and lonely in the rain. But I had a “hit” – Simon was there somewhere – in his home.

I called the new clinic and reported that I was fairly sure he was in there. But since that day was so stormy and there was no way to get into the mobile home sitting high on blocks, I couldn’t get in to search. Turns out the staff had thought the same thing and many had made frequent visits to the old building, calling his name, hoping he was there and would respond. Nothing.

Finally the day came to return the old mobile home/clinic to the original property. One of the vets watched as the large trucks slowly moved the building down the street in order to return it to its original spot. And what did he see? Simon. He jumped out of the building as it was being placed and scampered into the woods.

When cats have been away for as long as Simon had been, they go into “survival mode”. They don’t respond to those they once loved. They simply have the basics on their mind: find food, find shelter, and don’t approach any humans whether they know them or not. He wouldn’t come to the calls of his loved ones, but stayed hidden in the woods AND his home. No one could get him to come to them and traps still weren’t working.

But one stormy night, one of the techs was called in for a late night emergency. The rain and wind were howling and it was pitch black. She decided to try again and went to the empty mobile home sitting whole next to the new hospital, and called his name. She heard a faint “meow” and that’s when he decided to give up life on the run. That’s when he finally came out.

Skin and bones and still terrified, Simon was finally home. He was greeted with lots of love, happiness, good food, and a warm place to sleep. He came home on Christmas Eve which was the best gift of all for the staff at Bayshore.

Animals understand everything we say to them. I have clients that want me to tell their animals they love them – when this is something they can do themselves. If Simon had been shown the new facility each night as it was being built, if it had all explained to him that they were moving and so was he, this may have been avoided. But then again, animals have free will and he may not have accepted any attempts to acclimate him to his new space. He may have done exactly what he did. Run for it!

But to me, this is a perfect lesson in talking with our animals about upcoming moves. Tell them where you’re going. While you’re telling them, hold a mental “picture” of the new home in you mind. Tell them who will be coming (and who won’t). Tell them that all their toys and beds will be waiting for them when the moving day comes. Many people make the unintentional mistake of taking for granted that our animal friends will simply come along with us to a new home and after a few days – accept that this is now their new dwelling. But many animals don’t. They become afraid and think they’ll do better on their own. Or if they’ve been relocated miles away, they may even try and make the journey back to their original house.

When you are planning a move, you don’t need an animal communicator. You can explain yourself (without too much detail) what is going to happen. Always keep outdoor cats in for a minimum of 10 days (longer if you can) so that they adjust to their new surroundings. Then slowly let them out to explore their new territory. Make sure you stay with them and talk with them as they explore. After a week or so of short outings, if you feel confident that they understand that this is home – then let them roam for themselves. Cats are real home bodies. And they need to understand and feel comfortable in their new homes and surroundings.

There are many smiling and happy humans today at this wonderful Christmas “miracle”: Simon’s return. I made a phone call today, nearly three weeks later, to hear an update on Simon. I was told that he’s doing great.

And he hasn’t even tried to venture outdoors.

The real Simon:

Simon_1

Can’t we just get along?

Recently a friend of mine adopted a dog. Not so unusual really, except my friend has always been a cat person. And that ‘s putting it mildly. My friend is a literal angel in our community who has rescued hundreds of cats over the years and found good homes for them. She has a small home, patient husband and too many cats-in-waiting. But she never refuses a cat in need. She’s been known to call other kind souls and ask them to help her foster a kitty for a short period of time until their forever home can be found. She has even set up a place in her car so that a cat can have a stable environment (so to speak) and feel at ease, warm, and fed until the right human comes along. So that she decided to adopt a dog is sort of out of her wheel house.

Over the years, I have worked with many of her foster kitties to help her with their background. The question for me as an animal communicator is simple “Lost? Or dumped?”  I find out a little background on the cat and then the Kitty Angel can better place them. As an animal communicator it’s a nice way to give to the community.

Nilla came with a history. She had a loud mother and an “in-your-face” three year old child as her pack. So Nilla, for whatever crime she committed, was sent to the shelter.  My friend chose her for her sweet temperament and brought her home. Finding herself in a new environment, with no one yelling or small children in her face, Nilla began to chase the two resident cats and played too roughly with her husband’s dog.

She wrote me in frustration on “Day 5: Nilla’s New Home” and asked me to tell the dog that “cats rule in this house.” Before I even spoke to Nilla, I wrote back and reminded my friend that animals have free will just as humans do. There would be no use in having me tell Nilla to stop chasing the cats or else, because that wasn’t  going to work and Nilla would find herself right back at the shelter.

I checked in with Nilla who indeed has a very sweet personality. She wanted to please her new family very much and was confused about the kitties. She has never been around cats, but boy are they fun to chase! I asked her to please stop but knew it was going to take some work on the part of my friend if this was going to be a success.

My suggestion was to take Nilla to the beach and walk her often. Talk to her. Animals understand everything we say to them. You may have found yourself confiding the deepest secrets of your heart to your beloved four legged. And even though they appear to be asleep, looking at something on the wall, or licking themselves  – believe me they’re taking notes. I suggested packing treats along for the walks, to keep her attention and let her run off some of her energy. I also suggested telling her repeatedly how much she wanted Nilla in her pack. And I suggested bringing up the subject of chasing the cats, and how this is something that scares them and they don’t enjoy.  And so she did just that.

Several days after our initial conversation, things are going much better. In fact all the animals can be in the same room without a lot of panic and protection going on. Nilla is quickly learning her place in the pack. Things aren’t perfect, but she is listening and learning.

Dogs are very different than cats in that they want to please first. Cats could care less. Dogs need to know their place in the order of the pack. Cats let you live with them. Dogs need structure. Cats want their food a half hour early. Dogs love to walk with you and explore. Cats want to ditch you and live their private life.

Temperament and the breed you choose are really important. Nilla has a sweet temperament and most likely came from sweet parents. And this environment works much better for her than her first family. If my friend had gotten a  Jack Russell, it would be: Game Over. Jack Russell’s are small and would seem a good match for cats, but they simply can’t resist chasing them. Jack Russell’s were originally an off-shoot of a breed that chases and kills small animals. So the instinct of the breed (mixed or not) is important too. But Nilla has a shot at this. Through her alone time with her new mom she is learning the ways of her new pack, where she fits in, and what’s expected of her. The expectations are simple: be the loving girl you are, and please don’t chase the cats. She has good temperament and doesn’t have that killer instinct bred into her.

Putting dogs and cats together in a family can work. But it takes understanding dogs and their need for structure.  A strong willed cat will put a dog in its place right away with a good swipe to the nose. But if a cat is the least bit timid, and the dog is strong willed,  then problems will arise for sure. And an animal communicator or pet psychic can’t fix this problem. We can isolate the issue, but ultimately, the human is the one in charge.  And that means coming from a place of patience, firmness, and most of all love. You will teach them faster with that combination than you will by blocking off the house, yelling at the new dog, and trying to fix an animal problem with your human mind.  Everyday must be predictable for the dog and everyday must have the same routine (or as close as possible) for the dog if you’re going to integrate them into a home with cats.

And as for the cats? They will get used to their new dog companion as long as you remember the half hour early feeding rule.

Miss Maddie made it Easy

Awhile back I worked with this lovely lady. Her name is Miss Maddie. She was a healer who traveled the quiet neighborhood in the midsection of our small community. She lived with many humans and went by many names. Loved by all who knew her, this healer masked herself as a feline. She lived for a year or two with one human, and then would move on to the next soul who was in need of her gentle healing.

Her last human called me when Miss Maddie was working her way through her final days. She had questions on Maddie’s wishes and true condition.  She had adopted her last person who made a promise to her. She would help her live out her life and then help her to spirit. Miss Maddie was 15 when I met her. She had a tumor in her belly that was bigger than she was. It was hard at first to see what this tumor had done to this tiny elderly frame. But the love that she radiated told me her heart was bigger than any tumor could ever become.

I was with Miss Maddie and her human the day she went to spirit. We needed a vet’s help and it’s not something I typically do with clients. But in this case I made an exception. I don’t regret a moment of that very hard day. I asked Bart ahead of time to please keep his heart ready to receive Miss Maddie when she arrived at her destination – the place where her spirit would live on in the heavens.  Bart received her as my client and I shared tears and a day we won’t forget. Miss Maddie had had a great life and was now watching over all from her new home in spirit.

Maddie made sure her human and I cemented a friendship before she left. And soon after, my new friend adopted two kittens. One is red. Red kitties as I’ve talked about before are very special spiritual cats. They are like little mysterious messengers from Spirit that live among us.  I had my eye on Stella from the beginning. For now though she’s a kitten who’s legs and body don’t quite co-ordinate. She’s exploring all this new body and life have to offer. She’s a “hunter-wannabe” and a great companion for her new mom and brother who is part 2 of the package adopted by my friend.

Her brother Easy is jet-black. A male kitten dipped in ink except for his yellow-green eyes. He’s more shy than his sister and lives to eat. He’s going to be one big black boy. He’s also changing  in a way that I hadn’t been ready for.

Shortly after my friend adopted her kitty kids, she went to visit her human kids. So she asked if I would take a shift feeding the two little eating and growing machines at her home. I agreed. On the first night I was watching them play and I glanced at a beautiful photo of Miss Maddie that hangs on the wall. Since I work with animal’s photos I often get messages when I’m not expecting it.

As I looked at the photo, Maddie told me she would watch over the kids so that they would stay out of trouble and then said in a matter-of-fact way that she and Easy had been in negotiations.  She was going to trade spirits with this kitty and assume his body. I was surprised. She was coming back rather quickly and this time as a male. But Maddie has always had her own agenda.

The rest of the week was fascinating as I watched what had been a shy male kitten, become a cat I had known in a different body. He spent a lot of his time eating, but he also visibly changed. Slowly he began to take on the traits of Maddie. Whenever I would arrive to feed them – he’d greet me at the door while Stella was busy hanging from a curtain rod. It was like he knew how to behave, and he knew me.  He was enjoying the young strong body and I started to think I was making it all up. That is until the neighbor stopped by.

My friend’s neighbor dropped in to chat and see the kitties one afternoon. She too is an animal lover and told me how much she was enjoying the kittens. She described some great kitten moments of Stella’s and then said “And Easy really reminds me of Miss Maddie!” I was a little taken aback. I had told no one what Maddie had told me. And this was coming from someone who knew Maddie, was watching  the kittens at play in the daytime outside, and had come to this on her own.

My friend has been back from vacation for over a month now. She is sure that Easy is Maddie, or rather Maddie is Easy. Whatever. I have seen this many times after the transition is complete, but never watched it from the beginning and followed the progress. He’s an amazing cat. And I’m sure he’s going to carry on the work that Maddie came here to do. I’m fairly certain he’ll stay with his sister and my friend. He loves them both very much.

And it should be interesting and fun to watch as Maddie/Easy performs his magic.

Angels

Until a story was published about me in a local paper a few years ago, Norma had no idea animal communication was possible. But she and her husband Ed contacted me so that I could talk with their dog Hannah. This is her pictured on the right. She had some health problems, she was blind with cataracts and had bad infections in her ears. Ed and Norma wanted assurance that she wasn’t in pain. This beautiful girl with the sweet smile was not in pain, though the daily medication treatments stung her ears a bit.

They took her to a vet that told them that a surgery was possible, but risky for a dog Hannah’s age. Also it couldn’t be done in our area and Hannah would be in pain after the surgery. It was a very tough decision and a hard call for anyone to make. But Hannah had lived a good long life so Ed and Norma did what was best for Hannah. Rather than put her through the ordeal of a painful surgery to help, but not cure her ear problems, they chose to send Hannah to spirit. It was the best choice for Hannah.

Not only were Ed and Norma heartbroken, but Buddy their other Cocker and Hannah’s soul mate was devastated too. He told me he’d rather be in spirit with Hannah, he was so grief stricken. In their last few years together, Buddy had helped Hannah navigate their world. She had such trouble seeing because of her bad vision, that Buddy had been her, well, seeing eye dog. He missed her very much and wanted to be with her. This is not unusual. I’ve seen healthy animals either have accidents or die suddenly when their mate goes to spirit.

So shortly after Hannah left them, Ed and Norma went to the shelter and adopted Bugsy.  He was a Boston Terrier who was in the same place they were. He had lost his human and was awaiting adoption by a new family. Bugsy had some health issues of his own because he too was an “elder dog”.  He had cataracts that really distorted his vision.  Bugsy literally had no future until Ed and Norma found him.

Gradually, everyone worked through their grief and got to know each other. It took some time, but Buddy and Bugsy began to really have a good time together. Buddy told me they were “a couple of old guys kickn’ around” – a line that has always made me laugh. Both “old guys” had arthritis in their hips, so Norma and Ed took them to the beach daily for a walk. And Bugsy was just what this family needed. I suggested a good supplement for the boys and their hips got stronger. Today they are very good friends. Bugsy has a loving home again, Buddy has a friend to knock around with, and Ed and Norma’s family is once again complete.

Buddy has not forgotten Hannah, nor has anyone in this family.  I often wonder if Hannah was the catalysis who “urged” Ed and Norma to go to the shelter that day and find this wonderful guy. Bugsy told me he helped to heal his human that is now in spirit and now he’s helping to heal the hearts of this family. I think he’s done his job and earned his new life.

This is a story that is special to me.  Hannah will always hold a special place in my heart. She was so kind and loving and never even let on to me if she was in pain. In fact I don’t believe she suffered at all. For one, animals don’t feel pain as humans think they do and two, well, Hannah really is one-of-a-kind. But then, so are Ed and Norma.

As for the old guys? They’re still enjoying daily walks on the beach that I know keep them younger and younger. These two are pretty great guys themselves.  And they have their angel Hannah watching over them as they enjoy a second life together. Both of these dogs had decided this was the end of the line for them. But this new found friendship has changed everything. And it’s keeping everybody young.

I titled this post “Angels”  because I believe that everyone, human and canine are all angels.

My best friend

You may have seen him before. Well yeah, he’s right up above here in my banner. His name is Zeke and he’s my best bud. We try to go to the beach at least once a week. We experience different things on our walk, even though we’re walking together.

I’m currently working out some issues that are tough for me. The fresh sea air clears my head. The cool wind keeps me present. I always notice that the sea and the beach are different. Though we’ve walked this beach hundreds of times, maybe thousands, it feels like a fresh place each time we go. It might be new driftwood that washed up the night before, could be that sand has been removed or brought to the beach by the angry night sea, or simply that the light has changed from the last time we visited. It’s always a different day on the same beach for us, every time we go.

I wish I was a stats person. If I was, I could tell you how many more smells  Zeke notices than I do. To me, it’s simply the fresh sea breeze and beach I notice. But to my best friend this is a treasure trove of smells. Dogs have well, a lot more smell senses than we do.  They have sensors in their mouths as well as those keen noses. So when we go to the beach, the salt air is just a backdrop to all the other interesting smells. Canines that have visited the beach before us, food that has been stashed carelessly behind by folks having a meal on the beach, or sea birds that have left their bodies for the other side  (another way of saying “dead birds”), all of these smells are of intense interest to a dog. If the tide hasn’t washed it away, chances are, he can smell it. So his walk is like mine. It’s different every day.

We occasionally have east winds that gust from the land. I used to hate these days when Zeke was younger. The good news was that east winds mean clear weather. Sometimes warm, sometimes cold depending on the season. But they also mean bringing smells from the land. Even I with my wimpy sense of smell have noted the musky scent of elk as we walk the beach and so has Zeke.

When he was younger I would watch him (very carefully) as he’d run along the tree line that meets the beach, looking up for a place to spring up an elk trail. A place to start the chase. Some days I’d lose him and his brother for a few frustrating hours. I’d worry about the road that he’d have to cross in order to stay in pursuit. And then what? How would a dog who pales in comparison to these giants capture their “prey”? Bark them to death?

Those days are mostly over since his brother has sore bones, he doesn’t rise to the occasion too often for the hunt. But now that I know what I know about dogs, I wish I hadn’t been so hard on them. I used to scream, yell, stamp my feet, get all bent outa shape. Threaten them with no walks. All to no avail. And for what? Being angry that they were simply being dogs doing what dogs do? Having fun? Nah, the stamping, yelling, and screaming never worked.

And Zeke isn’t my dog. He lives in another pack of which he considers me a member. Maybe because I picked him from the litter. He fell asleep in my lap on his ride to his new home. He took his first walk with me on the beach. And then his second, and then (just keep adding them in here). He may not live with me, but Zeke’s my dog. He calls me “mom”, he calls to me when he’s in trouble, and he has an adorable sense of humor.

Yeah my guy is in his prime now, a few more years will tip him into his elder years. I don’t think about that though because that would be going against the grain of dogs. For dogs, like we humans should, live in the moment. We’ll be walking the beach and Zeke will remind me that I’m not staying with the moment very well. I’m “off” somewhere in my head which does us no good. We need to stay present, he reminds me, or we might miss one of these interesting smells. Or simply the pleasure of being together on the beach.

I love my guy. I know he loves me too. And it’s the kind of love that doesn’t shift and change. It’s not complicated love. It just is.

Wish I was a stats person.  Then I could guesstimate how many others out there have Zeke’s and know what I’m talking about.  It’s what life’s about. The fact that two beings can take the same walk, have totally different experiences, and still be blissfully happy at the conclusion of their time together.

That kind of friendship. That kind of love.

Joy

I awoke this morning after a lousy night’s sleep. I don’t really know why, but it’s unusual for me to wander our house in the middle of the night. Yet last night that’s exactly what I was doing.  Ugh.

So today when I woke up to two matching faces – (aka: my cats wanting breakfast) it was just a “tad early” after maybe 3 hours of sleep. I fed them and tried to return to sleep. No go.

I have a simple rule in my life that I try to remember everyday. And that is to find joy in at least one part of my day. We all have hardships, issues that seem to drag on forever, and pain that keeps us awake at night.  But I try to find at least one joyful experience each day, and try to appreciate that frozen moment. It might be that first sip of a great cup of coffee. It could be the sweet look on my husband’s face when I come through the door. It might be the glow of a beautiful sunrise when I’m on the beach with Zeke.  I’ve found that if I take the time to identify at least one moment of joy in each day, it brings a smile and makes me remember for that one moment that joy is kind of what it’s all about.  People may argue ‘no love is what it’s all about’.  Yes but to find that love and feel it passionately, one must start with joy.

How many times do we trudge through our day trying to make ends meet, dulling our minds with TV or anything to get the hard issues to go away for a while?  I don’t know anyone who hasn’t done this. But how often do we recount the joy in our day?  Granted it’s not always easy. But if  I’m cognizant of this being a goal I find there is a lift in my step as I move forward through my life. And if you try this, pretty soon you’ll notice you aren’t even working at it. There are many joyful times in everyday – you just have to know when to stop and notice.

So back to this morning at O-dark-thirty with no sleep. I lay back down and shut my eyes hoping to fall back into sleep.  Just outside our open bedroom window I heard the familiar honks of  Canadian Geese starting a leg of their twice yearly trek. I lay there eyes shut, and smiled. What a beautiful sound to hear them starting their morning journey. We have a pond near-by where they will stay for the night, resting and feeding before the dawn’s trek.

It was awesome.

So what went through my head? Well, first of all that fall is truly here, and secondly this little rhyme my parents (now both in spirit) used to say:

“Spring has sprung, fall has fell, winter’s here and it’s colder than it was last year.”

Cracked them up every time.

I found joy twice this morning before I’d “officially” opened my eyes.


For Jeremy: a guy who knew joy.