I rarely go to the movies but I did see the Zookeeper’s Wife (yes- yet another World War 2 themed film). The best part of the movie: the animals. Two scenes in particular are very touching. The birth of a young elephant, brought back to life by the zookeeper’s wife- when the respiratory canal was blocked with mucous.
And my favorite part- an incredible healing scene with a rabbit as the centerpiece. Pure magic.
Animals are amazing.
And dogs with their special affinity to humans, bestow an incredible loyalty and a type of unconditional heart-centered companionship.
I visit my most recent end of life client’s wife, Peggy–once a week, at her request. Though her husband, Terry, died in early April, Peggy still needs emotional-spiritual support. I help her with a few practical things. And though not actively dying, she is 80 years old and has many health challenges.
Last Friday when I showed up at the door, Peggy answered and immediately went to finish a chat call. I was left with Mac, the red poodle.
As I came in the door, Mac approached and I dropped to his level, taking him into my arms. I was not sure which of us was more excited to see the other. All separation fell away. The acknowledgement of Existence.
I felt seen at the core, as a valuable part of the scheme. So much of the time, in the last years during the chronic illness, I have invalidated myself, my contribution, my worth. Subtle forms of the primary egoic movement:
“Am I enough?”
Mac has this way of being majestic, ordinary, in tune, yet still. His ways are unique to any dog I have known. As I lowered my head down more, he sniffed, licked, nuzzled and simply just pressed the side of his body against me, remaining still and poised. I absorbed him.
God incarnate as dog. Jesus the Christ in action, the Buddha Field, whatever name you like: Unconditional goodness permeated the room.
I am here to die with a dog, be fortunate enough to experience God through Mac.
I could see clearly that we are here only to experience this Grace, as giver and receiver.
JUST FOR LOVE.
Tears slid from my eyes, core touching core, redeemed and grateful. My healing session is complete. Just 2 minutes with Mac is all I need.
I am more fully here, more available for Peggy. I can listen in the stillness and hear what is really being expressed underneath her words, soothe the tears with the same LOVE Mac showed me. I can be present for the regret, sorrow and anger she is experiencing. I can reflect the truth of LOVE.
I embody a more spacious place and undertake the simple, practical tasks Peggy wants me to help her with for an hour. We then sit and talk for 2 hours.
Well, mostly, she talks. I listen, embody presence, and be the space as dissolution continues; for she died with her husband too. Peggy is saying goodbye to those old attachments, feeling deeply all that she was holding in and letting go in subtle and profound ways. She is on a most important, mystical journey. How can she still experience the full depth of her husband’s soul, without seeing him?
And there is nothing like the guide called death, that sudden thrust into formlessness, the realm often seen as a dark tunnel. Really that tunnel is made of Light and dying is just a transitory shift of Consciousness (God)–which is Eternal.
Before I left, Peggy informed me that Mac would soon be trained as a Therapy Dog–not necessarily to enter as a professional but so she can take Mac to places that ‘ordinary’ dogs are not allowed.
Mac will work his magic outside of illustrious ‘professional’ distinction. He will greet the little girl inside the grocery store who has just lost her grandpa. Mac will cheer up the teenager, depressed because, well, he is a teenager and he will bring a smile to the 95 year old who can no longer hear.
Yes, Mr. Macker the red poodle will share his inherent gifts, that scent of Love, without even trying. All will share in Mac’s joy-laced glory.
**On an interesting end note, most are aware of Guide Dogs for the blind. What has evolved in the last decades: 3 primary categories of Service dog are now available for a vast variety of needs.
1) Service Dog (Mobility issues, visual impairment (blindness), hearing impairment (deafness), seizures, diabetes, PTSD, autism, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS), and other physical/mental disabilities).
2) Emotional Support Dog: Anxiety, depression, bipolar/mood disorders, panic attacks, and other emotional/psychological conditions.
3) Therapy Dog: Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities.
There is even a special category of Therapy dog, the Diabetic Alert dog and the Seizure Alert Dog.
The Diabetic Alert dog is trained to alert diabetics in advance of low (hypoglycemia) or high (hyperglycemia) blood sugar events before they become dangerous and the Seizure Alert Dogs alert those with epilepsy and other seizure disorders up to an hour ahead of time that a seizure is imminent giving their partners time to take precautions such as lying down or leaving crowded environments. This helps prevent serious injuries due to falls.