Death & Dog Medicine
I’ve always loved dogs. We had dogs when I was little and when my husband and I bought our own home, I couldn’t wait to have a 4-legged in it. Why? At first I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why, but when Jelly (our adorable little pooch) died in August, I knew…
Dogs have evolved with humans. The First Peoples of our planet formed a bond with the wild dogs. They tamed them and the long and beautiful relationship between humans and dogs began. The dogs of yesteryear would look over the human babies, protecting them from danger, they were working companions, hunting companions.
Jelly, our furry buddy, was our companion. She was a miniature dachshund. Everybody loved her. When we walked her it would be like dropping a ‘cute bomb’. We’d walk past people, wait a couple of seconds and then — bang — a flurry of ‘Awww’, ‘adorable’, ‘so cute’ etc. It wasn’t just because of the cute and cuddles factor that we loved Jelly. Dogs carry good Medicine!
In Native American and shamanic traditions, animals are messengers. They have many teachings for humans. Dog Medicine reminds us about loyalty and truth — being loyal and truthful to others and to yourself. Dogs live ‘in the moment’. If you’ve ever trained a puppy, you’ll know that if you don’t catch it weeing on the carpet, there’s no point telling it off afterwards… it won’t work!
I loved the daily reminder of living in the moment that we got from Jelly. Her attention to what was going on right now was all that mattered to her. Jelly was a beautiful and frequent nudge not to let gossip or other people’s unwanted opinions creep into each precious moment of life. Dogs just aren’t wired that way.
Without Jelly there was no pooch pogoing at the door when we got home, there were no barks to let us know that someone was at the front door, there was no furry heater at our feet while we slept….
There’s that old saying about not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone. How true. We adored Jelly, but I don’t think either of us understood the extent of our affection and love towards our furry friend. What we would have given to have her bark at a passer by, or clean up one of her random pukes, or take her out for a walk in the freezing cold and rain. All those ‘duties’ that we sometimes saw as chores were actually privileges. The privilege you have of caring for another soul.
Without Jelly, our house was empty and a piece of our hearts that was nourished and lit up by her was suddenly hollow and dark. The house felt empty. For many days Dom (my husband) and I couldn’t see a way forward without Jelly. She was part of the big plan…
It’s sad to me that it takes death to make some simple realisations. One was about our ‘big plan’. I should know from my experience in planning parties, that even the best made plans get dealt a little something from left field. Our healthy dog deteriorating and dying in the space of a week was certainly a blow that floored us. Since moving from our city lives, big salaries and even bigger mortgage, we had been in limbo — ‘waiting’…for what, I’m not sure. Experiencing the death of a Soul so close to me was a very clear reminder that we shouldn’t waste a moment of life. Death reminded me about what I hold as precious — my husband, my family, my friends, my healing work. Death kicked my arse into action — to making decisions and being truthful to myself about what I really want to do/be, right now!
Taking steps towards the next chapter of our lives without our much-loved Jelly, wasn’t easy. At first I felt guilty for moving my thoughts and energy away from Jelly’s death and into actions that began to build our future. But, Jelly didn’t die in vain. That’s important to me. Her death jolted us into the next phase of our lives and in the weeks after her death we did make some decisions that we had been tiptoeing around for months:
- Staying in the UK (for now at least!)
- Being close to family and friends is important to us
- It’s about time to start our own family!
- Let’s stop waiting for ‘tomorrow’s plan’ and live now!
Last week I stood at Avebury for the Winter Solstice with my husband, our adorable puppy Ivy and a hundred or so other people. A lady that we didn’t know asked if she could hold Ivy for the sunrise. We let her. Puppies quickly get deep into your heart. I didn’t ask why, but this lady needed some heart-warming from our pup. It was beautiful to see how our little dog had lifted the lady’s Spirits so quickly. More magical dog Medicine…
We said our thanks to 2014, even the sadness, and welcomed in the new light that will bring us into 2015. Every sunrise, every sunset, every moon, every tide that rolls on is part of the cycle. Jelly is very much in our hearts and we frequently delight in remembering her little quirks. To us, she was gone too soon, but I understand that her death brought about a new phase in our lives….
Thank you, Jelly, we love you and we’ll see you at the Rainbow Bridge.
“Dog…You are so noble,
Until the bitter end,
Your medicine is the teaching, of true and loyal friends.”
From ‘Medicine Cards’ by Jamie Sams and David Carson