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My Dogs Are My Greatest Teachers

It's been two weeks since I stopped watching the news. And one week since Mukunda had his surgery. And Now, we are hanging out by the river. Suddenly, the days are warmer, the pale green hue of springtime is deepening with every moment. My friends ask me: What was it like to watch your dearest companion be sliced into and stitched back up for a total of three hours? Frank, our Vet and friend kept asking: How are you holding up, Kate? And I thought, How am I really holding up? Could I faint? I hadn't eaten. How embarrassing it would be to faint after Frank so graciously allowed me into the operating room.

So I dropped the idea of fainting and got into the experience, chatting with Frank about mutual friends, and discussed the days when I was nursery school teacher to Frank's daughter, now also a Veterinarian. Muki's heart monitor reassurred me of his continuing physical life. Otherwise he did look as if he died, reminding me of the time I saw 8 of my dogs after they were shot to death by a neighbor who hated "Hippys," and who later was said to embezzle 8 million dollars from the Republican Party in Lancaster County. Or so the story goes. At the time, the sight of my lifeless companions, done in by so much violence, prompted me to wait 28 years before before I could bring myself to get another dog: Thus Mukunda, then Ulysses four years later, the greatest friends I have ever had.

The days since the surgery have been quiet. The moments spent stroking my dogs, watching sunbeams bounce prism rainbows off Mukunda's paws and Ulysses eyelashes, listening to birdsong, watching the ever quickening pale greenery, marveling at the Daffodil and harvesting newly sprouted Nettle to sprinkle on the food I prepare every night for these dogs, has been an education in Being, In-Joyment, in Pure Peace, and also a touch of Spring Fever, which I never want to end. These dogs are representatives of the spiritual realm, messengers and teachers, to teach what it truly means to live in the present moment.

The dogs are not concerned about tomorrow, nor do they obsess about the past. They love harmony and quiet and love. In fact, they thrive on it. My dogs abhor fights between humans. I call these creatures my harmony barometers.

When I get tense and anxious, my dogs remind me: Forget about it. Get back to harmony, they tell me. They act as a tuning fork that resonates only with Joy, Love, Peace and Enlightenment.

And when I am with them, their need for love and peace is exactly what I need. We resonate together to create a harmonious space. These dogs tune me into my higher, infinite and eternal awareness. When I am with them, I truly am happy, in a timeless realm.

I am convinced they are guardian angels, God's messengers for peace and silence, the space between the notes, the quiet at 3 am every morning. The dogs remind me to listen. They remind me to cease judgment of all creatures great and small. They were happy when I turned off the news, where all the pundents scream and yell about impending doom. Wow!! Why did I watch it so long? No matter. It's off now, and is off for good.

That's the promise I made to my dearest friends, Ulysses and Mukunda. I like it that the dogs don't talk as conversation and endless analysis. Yet they do converse but silently, through intuition, through loving glances, and as in the case of Mukunda, sometimes with loud barks when he sees a human friend he recognizes. Ulysses is even more silent than Muki. He often looks like a giant tortoise as he makes his way to his customary place beneath the kitchen table.

And now as I sit on my sun porch, and darkness descends, even the birds have ceased their song. Ulysses lies beside my writing arm on the couch, and Mukunda lies at my feet. He is wearing a teeshirt to protect his stiches for yet another week. When the tee gets dirty, I have several others that are working well.

I especially like the Planned Parenthood tee, that on a dog who never was "fixed." He never needed to be. He always stayed close by, he loves people, all dogs and children.

Ulysses is another story. He is a Golden Retriever. He's supposed to be mellow, friendly and lead the thieves to the family jewels. But Ulysses kills groundhogs, squirrels, (if he can get them), hates other dogs except for Mukunda, whom he worships, and is fiercely protective. A man approached me in the park one time and Ule's hair stood on end and he snarled and lunged at the man. Ule is my Old Yeller.

Mukunda is my Saint Reborn. When these dogs die, I will not fall apart but will be put back together because they taught me how to live, how to love and forgive. And in their love for me, I have learned to love myself. Their presence in my life has shown me the Presence that resides within myself and everyone else. Their Being-ness has taught me to slow down, turn off the TV, to sit in the night and listen to sound and silence. Walking with them night and day has acquainted me with the sky, the clouds, the identified and unidentified objects that soar beyond the clouds.

We often walk along the river that the dogs have always known. The heron silently skims the river surface and is quite a gift to behold. The geese chase Ule while he swims and scold him when he reaches the shoreline. These Dogs are Gods.

They are beauty in all guises. Words are inadequate but may help you to transform your heart, as you read them, one by one.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator of the e-book called "Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover Your Calling and Destiny." Click here to find out how to order the e-book: Check Out Kate's Blog: -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


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