On Losing My Dog and Life’s Other Eventualities
Everybody had been trying to prepare me for the moment I would lose my dog but in fact there is no preparation that can be made for a loss this grave.
“You know,” my brother would say, “dogs go through the same things we humans do only they do it faster.”
On the Sunday before my Belle’s passing, I had a conversation with Sue Maes, my mentor in healing. I like to talk to Sue about twice a month. It’s great to be able to talk to someone who does what I do at the level that I do it, and given our history we can talk about everything and anything – dogs, men, sex, work, how to do great healing and whatever happens to be on our minds.
In January, Sue had said to me out of the blue, “I just want you to know I’ve been seeing you with another little dog.”
To get great intuitive information you have to be neutral.
You can’t be totally neutral about yourself or about anyone or anything you are madly in love with, so even though I intuit for everybody else I talk to Sue when I really want to get clear.
“How blind is Belle?” I remember asking Sue that evening.
“100 percent,” Sue said.
It was good to have had that conversation because the very next morning I watched my beloved Belle walk off a five-foot wall in my back garden.
There was nothing I could do except scream and run as fast as I could to pick her up afterwards.
“Where’s Belle?” my next client after that asked.
Usually Belle would be working with me, just as she had done practically every day for the previous eight years.
“She doesn’t feel very well,” I explained.
That evening my friend Virginia Wright drove Belle and I to the vet.
The vet shined a light into Belle’s eyes and the truth was indeed obvious. She was in fact 100 percent blind.
Oh, there are so many other details to relate, but my brother had also been warning me. And on top of that, my brother is an ophthalmologist and he had personally examined Belle in his office with a laser. He concluded she must have a brain tumor.
About two weeks prior to Belle walking off the back wall I heard her fall all the way down the stairs, top to bottom.
I was taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon.
I jumped up and ran down the stairs to hug her.
She was shaking.
There was little else I could do other than comfort her.
So when the day came, my brother warned me, “What she has is inoperable. There are some decisions that are difficult to make, so I’m going to make it for you. You need to put her down.”
I prayed about it and received the same guidance.
I asked Sue. Sad but true.
So the next morning I fed Belle her last breakfast. She always loved eating out of a red ball that when pushed dispensed her kibbles. I wanted her to enjoy that last regular moment of her happy little life.
I took her out into our beautiful organic garden overflowing with flowers and tomatoes.
“This is your garden,” I said to Belle, knowing full well that she couldn’t see it.
Usually she would sit beside me in the car but that morning she lay quietly and gently in my lap.
Just a few days before I had been thinking how happy I was, how blessed my entire life had become, and then there I was, driving Belle to the vet for the last time.
When we got out at the vet, I offered to take her for a little walk, but she declined.
“She trusts you,” the vet said to me.
Fortunately, when the vet delivered the final injection, nobody asked if I was ready.
One is never ready for a moment like that.
“I love you Belle Belle, I love you Belle Belle,” I sobbed. I apologized to the vet as I feared I must have been shouting.
“It’s OK,” the vet said.
It was over far too quickly.
I looked at her precious body lying on the black blanket. I could hardly believe that the best eight years of my life – my life with Belle – were actually over.
Later that day I went in for craniosacral therapy with Shyamala Strack.
Shyamala adored Belle as much as anybody did. Belle came with me to virtually every craniosacral therapy session, lying on the ground, soaking up the healing energy and letting go of as much of her own issues as she was capable.
Belle had gone from being a fearful, depressed, partially deaf dog with horrible skin bumps to a sweet, happy, joyful little deaf dog whose skin had been blessed with multiple healings, both traditional and alternative.
The night before I took her in, I prayed to God.
“God give me the strength,” I prayed.
“I already did,” I heard God reply to me.
Several friends marveled that I did not ask them to go with me that morning.
“I didn’t want to ruin anybody else’s day,” I explained afterwards.
The rest of the day, after my hands-on-healing, I lay on the floor of my yoga room and sobbed.
It was remarkable to me just how much physical pain I also experienced – my head ached, my jaw throbbed.
At the end of the day I took a Benadryl and an Advil to go to sleep.
“Hell with it,” I thought. I just couldn’t stand the pain any longer.
Meanwhile, people were calling me saying things like, “I thought we had an appointment right now?”
I just literally couldn’t remember anything.
My ability to think – much less intuit, much less make any logical sense – had completely gone.
Two days later, I wrecked my car on the way home from yoga class.
I ran off the side of the road and into a little ditch – $700 worth of damage. Who wrecks their car after spending an hour and a half practicing yoga?
“This week was like winning the lottery in reverse,” I explained to my family.
Several friends helpfully pointed out to me that bad luck usually runs in threes.
I felt almost relieved when 11 days after Belle’s death I completely broke off the nail bed on my left big toe as I was helping my brother carry a heavy cooler out to a car.
“Done,” I thought, looking at the bloody mess.
Meanwhile, my mother and sister-in-law who saw me when I went down for the family reunion kept making helpful remarks about eating.
Finally my mother came right out and said it.
“How much do you weigh?” she asked.
I don’t actually know because I never weigh myself, but even I had gotten a little worried about how hard it had become to eat and sleep.
I made sure I ate at least three cookies at a time, I made sure I would get in three feedings a day before noon.
And meanwhile I had this obsession of looking for another dog.
As Belle sat in my lap that last morning, I said to her, “Please help me find another dog. She may not be as beautiful as you, she may not be as sweet as you, she may not be as much fun as you but please help me find another dog.”
By a small miracle I now have my Dixie, and indeed I can confirm my beloved Belle has done right to help me find the best possible replacement.
Her previous owners had only decided to put her up for sale the day before I inquired about her.
The winner of not just one but three AKC championships, her owners had chosen to give her away so that they could make room in their home for Dixie’s mother to have more puppies. Even though Dixie is gorgeous, her mother had been voted No. 1 cocker spaniel puppy in the country, so her mother would have the privilege of bearing more puppies and leaving Dixie to become my dog.
They had just said a prayer and then I inquired. Case closed!
With Dixie I feel I have won the dog lottery, having been able to adopt the sweetest, gentlest one-year-old cocker spaniel I have ever met.
And yet my tears still flow when I think back to my Belle, her sweet spirit, all the closeness we had, how she lived and worked with me these past eight years through good times and bad, how she liked to eat popcorn on car trips with me and try to steal the cream off my Starbucks chai tea frappuccinos.
I took Dixie down to see a client for the first time this afternoon.
While I was practicing Reiki, Dixie kept trying to play with the cute dog in the mirror, pulling on a loose thread in the carpet and examining my client’s shoes to see if they might in fact be edible.
She has not yet caught on that her new job in life is to be a healer’s dog.
But she is smart, she is watching me carefully and I have no doubt that she will soon catch on.
A healer’s dog gives comfort to all who come through our doors.
Dixie has everything it takes to be that dog, it’s just a matter of time.