Spirit of DOG

And All the Things I Have Learned
by Tracey Rich

If you are not a dog person, we know what you think of us anthropomorphizing our pets. We get it. We know how it looks, but, you love who you love. Still, if you are not a dog person, you may want to stop reading here. One thing I do know is that there is never too much love in the world. There is never too much kindness. You can never laugh too much or smile too much, and that keeping your heart open, no matter what inspires that, is a gift.

A child is a witness, a partner is a witness, friends are witnesses, and like it or not, our dogs are our witnesses. Not in the same way a human is, but they too are our witnesses. They give us a chance to be reflective, if we choose it. I choose it, and would choose it again and again.

I had the opportunity to care for my mother in her latter years in numerous ways once my father passed and she needed greater support. It was an honor, a labor of love, and a gift, sometimes with a steep learning curve which I was often just behind. Caring for a dog is a commitment for the entire life of the dog...even children grow up. Of course, children also talk back. Upsides and downsides! I adored caring for Mazie throughout her life, and when the time came to do even more for her, I could not do enough. Even as stressful as it could become at times for both of us, I was grateful for the patience it taught me, and the compassion it gave me, and for the tiny, moment to moment reflections on being, and serving, and eventually, on not being, at all.

The evolutionary story of our kinship with dogs has always spoken to my heart. There is an unspoken rhythm there for the recognizing. The opportunity to care for any living being is a recognition of our humanity--our place in the rhythm of all things. It is the rhythm of the heart.