In the death and dying classes I have taken in my shaman studies, they tell us of the importance of recapitulation or remembering the key points of a life when saying goodbye. Today is the day I’m helping your spirit make that great journey back and since your Mom is a writer it seems only fitting to write some of those memories down.
When I brought you home, you were scared. People had not treated you well in your first year and you didn’t trust. You had no reason to and I was determined to change that.
The first morning, my coffee grinder sent you running for the security of the crate that I had bought because I wasn’t sure if you were housebroken. You later learned to love the sound of the coffee grinder because that meant breakfast would be coming soon.
Early on, meeting new people was a terrifying experience for you—especially men because I know that at least one man tried to break your spirit. Your spirit was only wounded, not broken. You taught me the power of forgiveness, letting go of the past and claiming your present. You went from Tequila the dog with the bad history to Sadie the shaman dog princess and you rocked the shaman princess thing!
You loved to hunt squirrels and freeze and point them out to me, looking at me as though I wasn’t doing my part. You were supposed to point out the squirrel; I was supposed to get it. I would tell you I didn’t need to hunt squirrels. You would say, “But it would be fun!” One day to my utter dismay, you caught a squirrel by the tail on one of our walks. The silly squirrel ran right in front of you and under estimated your speed. Squirrel hanging by the tail from your mouth, squeaking and flailing, I sternly told you to put it down, you turned to look at me as though to say, “Are you crazy, Carol? I’ve wanted one of these my whole life!” You let it go and it scampered up a tree. I know I disappointed you that day by not congratulating you on your great accomplishment. For weeks, the squirrels on that street would chatter and throw carob pods down on us as we would walk by as though to say, “take that Dog and Human! This is for Fred!”
I loved the way you used to talk to me especially if I was gone a long time. Through your vocalizations, I could hear, “Why were you gone so long? I missed you! I’m so glad you are home. Let’s play. Where’s my cookies for being such a good dog?” Lately because you couldn’t hear, you didn’t talk as much but are intuitively connected—so I still got your messages loud and clear. This morning the message was “I’m tired and I hurt. I’m done.” I was waiting for that message. I’m honoring your life and your request.
You saw me through many heartbreaks curling up by my side and gently kissing my face when I needed to cry it out. You were Nana Dog concerned for the teething baby next door who wouldn’t stop crying. Coming to me with big brown concerned eyes—”Mom do something the baby is crying,” you’d stare at me. You let me know when a cat was injured lying under our pine trees so I could call the Humane Society and get the injured kitty treatment and back to its home. And most importantly you let me know when there was a fire in the trash cans in the alley—after you came in the doggie door one evening, talking to me in a way that made me know something was wrong. And when the firemen arrived to put the fire out your satisfied smile said, “I did my job. Yep I told her to call you!”
You made me laugh so many times. One night, I woke up to a thwap, thwap sound coming from the living room. I walked out and turned on the light and there you stood with one of my bras. The hook hooked into the carpet, standing in a cup with a strap in your mouth, you backed up, let go the strap and the bra catapulted across the room. You were disappointed in me for taking away this fun toy but mama’s bras are too expensive to be dog toys!
You loved the white overstuffed chair that used to be in our living room. As many ways as I tried to keep you out of it, you happily claimed it as your bed. Resistance was futile. You won for many years until I disappointed you again when I decided to redecorate and moved the chair out of the house.
You taught me so much. With every sniff as you took in the messages left for you on the grass, trees, telephone poles and fire hydrants. You taught me to slow down, take things at your pace and see—really see the beauty in this world. The shaman on the walk pictures are because of you. We haven’t been walking much these days because you are old and it hurts to walk. But I promise you I’ll walk again, take in the beauty and finish the book.
You helped me with client healings. By checking in with you, I had another indication of the types of energy I was dealing with. If you were scratching, the person was normally experiencing anxiety. If you came and laid down as close as you could to the table–deep grief. If you threw up, deep trauma and if you went out the doggie door looking back at me as though to say, “You are on your own!” it was time to call in deep spiritual reinforcements—as I was probably dealing with some very dark heavy energies. Thank you for your assistance in helping these clients.
People who came to our Despacho ceremonies knew how much you loved to take part. You’d often want to be right in the middle of the activity, standing on the paper, looking for edibles from the ceremonial offerings. We heard your outrage when I wouldn’t let you be out by the fire. The backyard isn’t fenced and I wanted to keep you safe especially after you lost your hearing and couldn’t hear me call you back to the circle.
You’ve taught me about unconditional love and joy and beauty. You amassed quite a fan club my sweet gal. People who’ve met you once, ask me about you. Through Facebook people who haven’t even met you feel your sweet essence.
I know you are hurting and tired my sweet Sadie dog, so today I will help you find peace. You tell me you are tired but you want to stay with me. I tell you, you are always welcome to be one of the spirits who come check on me, but I can’t watch you stumble and hurt and be a good doggie mom. If I keep you here, it is for me, not you.
Look for Russell (my dad), Lucille (my mom), your friend Dick (our former landlord and one of the men who taught you that men can be kind and don’t always hurt animals) and other family members who have crossed the bridge already they will show you how beautiful it is to be on the other side. Oh and look for a dog named Tippie. She was my dog as a child (actually Russ’s dog because I wasn’t as good at taking care of her as I was with you!). She’ll show you the doggie spirit ropes in heaven.
You gifted me with 15 ½ years of your 16 ½ year life. I am so blessed that we rescued each other and had these amazing years together. Now it is time to send you home and relieve you of your pain. You take a piece of my heart with you to heaven, hold it there for me—until I meet you there sweet thing.
All my love . . . Thank you!
PS I did a despacho ceremony for you after I booked the appointment for the vet to come to the house. I was trying to make a circle of sugar to represent the sweet connect we shared. Instead, spirit gave me this!
Sadie’s despacho: of gratitude and love for 15.5 beautiful years.
Your passing was sweet and peaceful. I was honored to hold you on my lap till the vet came and while you transitioned. Thanks to Dr. Robin Holmes of Gifts of Peace for helping you go home! Thanks to Margaret, Michelle and Karen for being with me while I helped usher Sadie to the other side. Thanks to Victorea, Maryjane, Susan Kay, Christina, Shirley, Susan D. and Bernadette for holding that prayer circle for us.
Mom had a glass of wine and dinner with friends. As you wanted I gave your treats to Roxie and Cha Cha. I am at peace because I know you are. There will be tears because I loved you that deeply but I am so honored to have had you in my life–every moment including today was worth it.