While reading how-to-blog stories at my favourite cafe, sipping one of the best decaf lattes in the area, I enjoyed a moment of daydream pleasure. It was supposed to be an hour of research on writing blogs since I had never written one before. Glancing through the large window, I witnessed three women raise their coffee cups in a toast. It must be to life I thought or just being together on this spring morning. Recognizing a soft cotton hat which one woman wore, it was one that I was all too familiar with; like the one I wore several years ago. I could see she had the tell-tale signs - no hair peeking from under the hat; facial ridges where once her eyebrows were, her complexion sallow. Yet her vitality shone through in her animated conversation. I wanted to give her a hug and say, "Good on you!" because she was wearing her truth - her hat and a colourful spandex top signifying she was a cyclist. She was living . . . . now, through, and forward in her life.
This moment gave pause to reflect upon my life and what I learned through my own cancer treatments, and who was there to support me on this new journey 14 years ago. Our young family learned how to cope, accept, and live together in their own precious moments of deep love. Amazingly, the world around me became very vividly clear. Colours were richer. The sun, like a fuzzy blanket, was warmer as I sat leaning against an outside wall of our home. I learned the 'art of being' in the moment by being forcibly slowed down to a crawl, not bound by time, but by consciously breathing, being physically vulnerable and weak. I learned deep gratitude.
Feeling at times so unwell, it was all that I could do but curl up in a fetal position on the sofa to conserve energy and warmth. It seemed that there was nothing I could do to stay warm. But Toby, our precious little Wheaten/Poodle cross, did know. Ever attentive, he seldom left me alone. He gave unconditional support and love, and the gift of his body heat as he curled up behind my legs and laid his head in across my thigh. He knew what I needed. The bond between us grew deeper as this little soul taught and gave me much. He was my "heart" dog.
Toby, I suppose because of his timely actions at that particular time in my life, has affected me in ways that other pets haven't. He was very special. However, reflecting back, each dog, cat, small creature and horse have been my teachers. If I listen well, whispers of wisdom come from each of them in some form or another. They, among others, guide me along in my practice and my life.
I am sure that there are many other people who may have similar stories. Ones where their animal companions have helped them, maybe even saved them. Toby, lived to be 18 before he passed, but I can still feel his sweetness and joy recalling how he would race around the yard barking at crows or push his muzzle under my hand to pet him, among other wonderful memories. So in gratitude and much love, I dedicate my practice to him . . . and all the other loving pets I have had the privilege from whom I have been cared for and taught, and who live in my heart.
Reana Selody Joubert
Pondering, mulling, musing with pen in hand about animals or people, sometimes family or sometimes wild. Oh, and news & events, too.
We acknowledge the First Nations of Musqueam, Tsawwassen, Tsleil-watuth, Qayqayt, Kwikwetlem, Katzie, and Kwantlen whose unceded land we
work, play, and reside. Thank you, Honoured Ones.
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