Messages from dog
Messages from dog.
“One year old dog is looking for a foster from today until Sunday”.
I stopped at the post of one of my Facebook animal rescue friends like many times before. I’d love to have a dog again. I stared at her cute face, these sad brown eyes; she’s so endearing.
Be rational. This is a NO.
I had dog buddies for 30 years of my life’s ventures and adventures. Now I had arrived at that age where my generation had to let go of their cuddly senior pooches and planted trees on their graves. Our grown up kids left to live their life and many of our beloved moms and dads left forever. I was asked to adjust to a new era of responsibility for none other but myself; that crossroad where my fellow boomers either wind down and prepare their funerals or reinvent themselves.
I chose reinvention, more than that I chose rejuvenation, the path of longevity, and to create a new business for all who are into living long and prosperous. I needed time because I loved life and because I was looking for more, my purpose, my sense. I wasn't clear on what was missing just that it was.
I was interviewing, asking, learning; searching so hard and mostly online that had no time for the other stuff of life. Friends, fun, action? Forget it. I had to focus and hurry up to succeed. I didn’t want time to run out.
I reaffirmed the one thing I knew for sure: I can’t be distracted and especially not by emotions. Pooch will not mess up my life! Sorry little dudette.
Do something good whispered the little voice. You think of yourself as an animal rights activist and won’t help a little dog? It’s only for three days. I mean, honestly, I could care for a little dog for three days without messing up my intellectual routine of 8 – 10 hour days. I could be unselfish. Give back. It would make me feel good to help an animal not just by pitching in rescue bucks.
I comment on the post: “I’ll do it”. The rescue says: Okay.
Okay? I can’t possibly denounce my offer now. I take a deep breath: three days isn’t enough to get attached. It’ll be a little vacation from the brainy stuff. I live in my head and in my car. I can as well try walking the streets of LA for a change.
I fill out the foster application and pick up a fluffy little bundle of depression; hidden behind a trash can in a grassy backyard, where ten other rescue dogs joyfully chase each other and their tails. She briefly looks at me with that resigned “whatever” in her sad eyes. She trots along and rides in the car in trance. A friend who helped me pick her up suggests to call her Pi, cause it was Pi day.
Why would I name her, dude? She’s not my dog.
She’s skin and bones under her fluffy fur. I wished dog communication would truly be possible and I could read her memory. What did she go through, what is she looking for? What’s the truth of her story?
I offered her five different organic dog foods; I even tried a cheap brand. She looked at me, shivered and walked away. She didn’t eat, drink or moved much. She didn’t know fetching balls or what a toy is. She shied away from other dogs and men. She seemingly never played in her life.
I’m so sorry for you baby, of course you can sleep on my bed…
Came Sunday and I had to excuse her as a no-show at the rescue event; she is too depressed and weak from the shelter experience and being spayed.
Actually we had already done a walk around the lake and found that she loved my home cooked Quinoa with organic chicken and veggies. I sent the rescue my first page of her character analysis adding that I should find out more about her so that it will be easier for them to find the right adopter. I really want her to have the perfect person to love her eccentric character. She needed a surrounding in which she could thrive.
I had so much to do, I was never bored, rarely unhappy. I was always on. I was fine. I didn’t need her but somebody very special would. I'd bring her to the adoption fair next week.
This was the first spring break that my son preferred to hang with his girl friend in Berkeley instead of coming home, which was of course totally okay with me. I hug my fluffy new friend: “Thanks for being here, little one”. She licks a tear from my face. Damn, it seems I was not really okay with it. You are right, pooch. It sucks not to have anybody to care for. It sucks not to be No 1 anymore. Freedom is cool but to be fine with being alone suddenly felt like a lie.
The penny dropped slowly: this was a trick of my inner mischievous twin who I called Gina, my unrestricted, emotional inner child. She liked to toss sticks and stones into my tough rational ways, causing me to stumble when I didn’t listen and to provoke “mistakes” so that I’d learn and wake up from routines and perceptions; often with a black eye but also a new piece of awareness. She was usually pretty mean and now she made me cry. Let’s see what this is about. I’m experienced in analyzing myself.
I will find the message of the dog and then we’re good. It might just be to re-enforce my emotional armor and re-affirm what’s most important at this time in my life: success of my new venture, a futuristic blog called La Femme Futura.
Writing about stuff always helped in the past: aside of the obligatory list of pros (heart) and cons (head) I decided to dig into the trick box of my art therapy college: morning pages and inspiration boards clear our minds. All I saw was doubts. Was I living the life I dreamt of?
After losing my closest people to college, other countries and cancer it had taken me three years to settle in with my reality: I walked alone. I had become the lonely tiger I had resonated with when I was 16.
I ran an event production company with assistants, servers and vendors who were mostly 30 years younger so were the peeps in coffee shops and seminars and many cuddled babies on their arms.
I was surrounded by a lot of people but I didn’t have real friends. It was hard to connect when you feel like 28 but your looks doubled that and you could be a grandma. I was between chairs and had made up my mind about not fitting in. Not atypical for me;
I felt fat when I weight 110 pounds and not good enough all my life cause I didn’t have super model genes, actually because my parents never accepted who I was. How could I not feel self conscious about lines and crows feet? Often an Alien amongst humans I had needed a bunch of booze to enjoy parties and the “normal” life. Why should that change now that I was categorized middle age and far from sex and drugs and Jaegermeister?
To find the message of the dog, I needed to connect and get feedback.
I had coffee with an equally unaltered 65 year old professional writer who didn’t stop mentioning how beautiful she was, how genius and smart, loved and adored and generally totally amazing. I stared at her like into the abyss; how can she be older than me and be a social butterfly reincarnate and so freaking self-confident? She advised me that I could only achieve her status by focusing on my future and not to be an Emo push over. “Don’t burden yourself with the dog! Just imagine how much organizing there’ll be and how much waste of precious time…”
Life presents us with mirrors of our truth, says my personal trainer, who was working on his PHD in religious sciences, and with whom I felt comfortable enough to bitch and moan about anything.
It’s about self-love for you, he continued and made me voice something nice about myself every ten minutes. The most honest one was “I am determined”. What did he mean with to love myself? Whatever. Let me punch the ball please!
My trainer had advised me to break my endless deskwork with workout. I had never followed through, there was just too much to do and I got so absorbed into my online world that I forgot to move, to eat or drink water.
“So?” he insisted ”did you do what I told you?”
After months of “sorry, I forgot” I hear myself say “Yes, I did.”
The dog made me do it. We strolled around the block first thing in the morning, walked to shops so she got some action in the afternoon and ran for 30 minutes in the evening. Dog was my fitness whip. I was happily tired in the evening and fell into bed at 11, ending my seemingly unshakable and unhealthy 2 a.m. habit.
“So she is good for you,” he smiles, “and she’s like you, sensitive like a princess on a pea. Why don’t you call her Anastasia?” A princess? Not so much. The archetype of the woman I adored at this time was the sexy rebel embodied in la femme Nikita. Nikita was a cool name.
Do loud speakers of our not yet admitted feelings surround us in our fellow humans? Was the law of attraction, the “secret” not that silly and the “universe” responded to my needs? We are all “one” didn’t seem so kooky anymore. We can consciously affirm every day: I want be rich and nothing happens. But what corresponds to our real needs will; be it good or bad. Manifesting happens when what we think, feel and act on is in alignment with our deepest truth.
It always felt to me that we follow a script, which we are constantly re-writing while living it. We toss failed scenes into the bin and realize later they were an integral part of the whole without which we’d never would have become the heroine destined to sail into the happy end.
I fished out the scene, where I had a puppy in my life. Having a dog wrote a different movie. Where would Nikita get me? Was she the foreshadowing I needed?
When I left Nikki alone at home, she cried and I got all mushy looking at her cute face. “You are such a beautiful girl” became my daily mantra.
It slowly dawned on me that there was a beautiful and sad little girl waiting in myself to be seen.
I felt what I thought I had overcome: the pain of loss and separation and my emotional needs - including the wish to love and to be loved.
Nikki opened the door to my heart, which I had barricaded so sternly.
I was ready for another test. How can I work, travel and do meetings and weekend seminars with her in my life? Visit my son in Seattle? I have no social network to help out…
I asked for feedback. I asked for signs. I looked for practical solutions.
At Wag Ville, a holistic doggie day care five minutes from us, Nikki was hiding from 60 happy dogs cruising the huge hall and yard for nearly the whole hour.
Asked what I envisioned for her to learn at Wagville I heard myself: to open up, to be social and to have fun. Mirror, mirror…
My son supported keeping her, offering to look after her if I wanted to travel. My trainer declared her to be fate. “You already named her, girl! There’s your decision.”
Lisa, a woman I said Hi to a couple times in my writer’s café, volunteered the contact to her dog sitter, who turned out to be amazing and takes dogs over the weekends. A friend in Europe emailed a woman’s info who shipped her dogs all over the world. When I walked the hood another dog sitter handed me her card. “If you ever need help.”
I had lived in my neighborhood for a long time and talked to more people in the two Nikki weeks than in the last 12 years. By now she bravely checked out every doggie friend she saw. And I even met this nice guy David with his cute blonde puppy…
I re-connected with a former friend who invited me for dinner. She had a cat and Nikki couldn’t come but to chat about life on her inspiringly designed porch was – fun.
I didn’t want to be too busy anymore; I wanted to invite people to my place, to open up. I found myself raking the yard and buying plants the next day, making my house, which I neglected for the last couple years, a happy home again.
My house was actually cute like Nikki.
“We need the dog this weekend,” interrupts the Facebook message, “it’s our biggest adoption event.”
Final test: the landlord, who was happy when my rebellious Wheaten Terrier finally went to heaven. He hated her and the feeling was mutual. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t allow a Tibetan terrier. I decided that this would be it: I’d leave the final decision to him. If he said yes it was meant to be.
He said no.
I went up the wall. Forget about signs. Immediately I switched to rebel mode and checked how to get the emotional support dog license, which would make it impossible for him to intervene.
My heart won. Nikki won. I’d fight for both of you!
Next day the landlord changed his mind just like that and congratulated me to my new companion.
Nikki finally arrived.
After three week with her, we had walked around the neighborhoods’ blocks 21 and jogged the lake 10 times. I had giggled more than in the last year.
I had cooked many lunches for her – and for myself. My care for her transferred to my own needs. Nikki didn’t like to drink water, so I told her to – and did it myself. Finally I got my 8 glasses into the day, a very simple rule of longevity.
More and more she became for me what I was working on to be for others: a life style guru.
Falling in love with my dog motivated me to embark on an elaborate one-year journey to understand and feel self-love. Nikki changed my life, she crushed my armor and made me see, listen to and feel my truth on so many levels.
My dog became the snowball creating an avalanche of change.
When I came home with her after my long decision battle, my neighbor smiled at me: “You look like a teenager with your dog.”
Thanks universe, but I have already signed the papers.