Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dog Day Afternoon

I embraced my inner Henry David Thoreau and took to the woods, away from civilization, where I could commune with nature.

While the coolness of autumn has arrived, her colors are not quite here. It may be a couple of weeks before things peak.

The trail, though well-trodden, showed no other signs of hikers. I had the entire canyon to myself, a personal Eden.

Or so I thought.

As I squatted on a footbridge to angle my camera for a photo of the stream, I heard the pitter-patter of feet coming toward me. And then it licked the side of my face. Yuk.

It was a black lab.
On point, waiting for me to throw a stick.

I looked around for its owner, but saw no one. I waited.

And waited.

No one came to claim this dog.

I crossed the bridge to a shelter, thinking the dog would take his leave. He didn't. I took mine instead and headed deeper into the canyon. To my surprise, the dog stayed with me, leading the way, always looking back to make sure I was still there, as if saying, "Follow me."

So, we bonded. He grabbed a stick and dropped it at my feet, staring. He wanted to play. I threw the stick and he fetched. This went on for an hour. When we made it to the second shelter, we played fetch in the stream so he could cool down and drink. I fed him all of my beef jerky and half of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Another kiss. Yuk.

The shadows grew long. Time to head back. My dark furry angel remained with me. We spent four hours together, sharing the woods, playing, and bonding, but I knew it would eventually come to an end. We headed back toward the entrance of the preserve, where I gave him more water. I petted him and thanked him for his company; he thanked me yet again with licks to my face. Yuk.


And then off he sauntered to the mystery from which he came. A piece of my heart went with him.

Like Thoreau, I went to the woods to live deliberately, if only for a few hours, and as I did, I found it bursting with the colors of Spirit; Spirit made Itself known in every moment, from the scented breeze that I breathed in, to the falling leaves that baptized me in nature's cathedral, to a dog's sense of play and adventure that unleashed my own.

Spiritwork:

If you've lived with animals on a daily basis, you know intuitively that they have souls. They live through their senses, are curious about the world, serve as companions, and are great teachers of life. To some a dog is nothing but a carnivorous quadruped, the canis lupus familiaris, of the family Canidae. To others the dog is a study of intelligence, loyalty, unconditional love, obedience, and protection. Examine your view of animals.

If you have a family pet, spend time with it and observe it throughout the day. What can you learn from it? Or, if you don't have a pet, go someplace where you can observe pet owners interacting with their furry family members. What do you notice?

Another exercise is to choose one way to help animals in need. You can visit a local animal shelter and volunteer for a day. You can walk the dogs, pet or feed the cats, or simply socialize with them. Or, you an volunteer to pet sit for a neighbor. Maybe you can plan a fundraiser for abused animals. Let your heart guide you.

Blessings.

Related Posts:

Read the introduction of 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.


8 comments:

  1. Lovely post Penny. He led you, comforted you, gave you company...'His' presence was truly divine I think! I've never had a pet of my own as of now, but truly believe they have souls!
    Love your series, although I haven't been regular... But the few I've read will stay with me forever!

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    1. Thank you, Aditi!

      "He" was a wonderful companion on the trail and we had a lot of fun together, even though it was only for a short time.

      Thank you for stopping in from time to time and sharing. I hope all is going well for you.

      Blessings!
      Penny

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  2. I have heard it said that black dogs represent our higher self, and whenever we see or dream about one we should pay especial attention. So maybe your higher self was encouraging you to play more and have some fun! Another great post, I enjoyed reading it thank you.

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    1. Andrea,

      That's interesting about black dogs representing our higher self...hmm...

      And for as old as that dog seemed to be (he had some gray around his snout), he sure did love playing and kept encouraging me to play, too. He didn't let his age get in the way!

      Thank you.

      Blessings.
      Penny

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  3. aw Labs are such sweethearts. Wouldn't it be nice if we all looked to take care of others, play and eat with joy and gusto the way a lab does? How blessed you were to have his company for a while. Makes me want to go give my big black dog a big cozy hug!
    Bonnie

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    1. Indeed, Bonnie, it would be nice if we all could do the same.

      I was very blessed to have his company. I'm going back in two weeks when the colors are more vivid. I'm hoping he'll be there for the journey, but if he's not, I totally understand.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      Blessings.
      Penny

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  4. We can sure learn from our dogs...I gave a border collie ...she is the best dog....
    I can remember when I was pregnant ..being over 35... the doctor said I need this blood test...I was in my 6 month ...so this teat could tell if my only child could have a birth defect...so..I got home and my husband wasn't home yet...I took my dog for a walk to get the blood test off my mind...so I got home with my dog n the phone rang. It was the nurse practicinor calling me..she told me that my blood test was positive and my baby could have Down syndrome ....I got off the phone and started to cry...my doggie came up to me when I was sobbing n curled up next to me...I was holding her while I cried...she was the only one here to console me....she stayed next to me until my husband came home....she is n amazing dog..n she knew something was wrong n helped me thru that long afternoon .......I'm so lucky to have my baby girl.....so they do know....and she has taught me tons....live in the moment n just give love o people who REALY need it...

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    1. People underestimate animals and their abilities. They are amazing creatures. I'm so glad she was there for you when no one else was. She knew to take care of you in that moment. What a blessing!

      Love and Blessings.
      Penny

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