Thursday, December 1, 2011

Boomerang-a previous story that has since evolved

I was reading the book " Small is Beautiful Economics as if People Mattered" recently, and came upon a quote from St Thomas Aquinas "It is evident that if a man practices a compassionate affection for animals, he is all the more disposed to feel compassion for his fellowmen" I suppose I was on the right track in my previous blog post.

I had a favorite book when I was a child called "Part time Dog" it was one of those children's books geared towards the beginning reader.The brown dog in the above photographs, with my Australian Shepherd, is Porky, well at least that's what his name was when I knew him. The shelter staff had named him Porky because he was found covered in porcupine quills. I fostered this dog for 6 months deciding that since no one had claimed or adopted him I would keep him, until one day his previous owner found me while I was out walking with the dogs. Of course by that time I was completely enamored of the dog and so attached to it as in the way that people become attached to something when they decide to incorporate it into their life. Although for me,there is a strange Buddhist type of crossover emotional area, since I have grown fond of and worked with so many dogs. I have a strange sort of combination of deep love and yet at the same time non attachment, which pervades more than the dog/ human world for me but due to my rather odd upbringing, I am also not so attached to people in a way that may be different from most people. Of course as things go and people are tested, the one dog that I really loved in a possessive way, besides my darling old Blue Heeler,( I had not found my Aussie Shepherd at the time) the one I was going to make into my second dog, was reclaimed by his owner which you can read about in this link to a previous blog post.

Well now it's a year later, I have a new Australian Shepherd as a walking and shelter dog training companion as well as my old Australian Cattle dog. I got over the loss of Porky and helped some other shelter dogs along the way. I have an old man friend that lives near me. I met him while he was out walking with his wife when I first moved here 11 years ago. His wife died some years back and I go and check on him and visit with him when I can. His house is about 2 miles from mine at the halfway point for one of my walks so I often stop by and say hello and catch up with him when I'm out and about. The last time I went for a visit we were standing outside talking when out of the corner of my eye I saw a dog walking around,checking me out.My old man friend said "don't mind that dog, that's Bear", which was Porky's real name. I said " I know that dog" and then Porky came to me and we were reunited and I was so happy to see him and pet him and visit with him. My elderly friend has a rental property on his place and the family that the dog belonged to had moved into it.The dog looked healthy and happy, and had the run of the farm. Now I can visit two friends at once, and get a nice 4 mile walk in as well. That's the beauty of being connected to a community and walking around a lot. You get to meet all kinds of people, you get a feel for a place in such a different way than when you drive around in a car. You can even get a reading on the economy based on observations over time.When I now go and visit my previous foster dog , he jumps up affectionately on me and seems to remember me, he even tries to go on walks with us but I make sure that he stays on the property. I talked to the young man who is part of the family that owns the dog. He really enjoys his dog and is so bonded with him and showed me all the tricks that he taught his dog. He says that the dog follows him all over on his bike. So I guess my heart break and loss are someone else's gain. After all, he was such a nice dog that I knew people had to have cared for him. In the course of things in this world he didn't belong to me, but I can visit with him like in the children's story I used to read"Part time Dog" perhaps we set the stage for our lives at a young age. I said to my elderly friend, jokingly, " well now that the dog is here I'll have to come by and visit more often" he seemed taken aback by that, and I felt a little guilty for letting such callous words fly out of my mouth, despite the fact that they were true. I contemplated that exchange as I walked home and realized something about myself, that's it's always easier for me to relate to the dogs. They don't lay guilt trips on you, they don't care about your political persuasions,they just want to be treated well and have fun.There is not the muck of expectations, desires, resentments, imposition of beliefs, that often encumber human relationships. Well I really can't help the way I am, it resulted from a long history of not being able to trust the erratic behavior of humans in my life, but at least I try and accept the way I am and do my best with the dogs and people in my life. I'm glad I fostered that dog for so long . Had someone else adopted him he may have never been reunited with the family that loved him so much. Had I not been the type of person who walks the neighborhoods with my dogs, they may never have found me. Strange, the luck and synchronicity involved here and that these people are now living near enough for me to visit. It's as if the dog orchestrated it all in some mysterious way. Maybe there really is some strange kind of Native American Animal Spirit Guide at work, as we are surrounded by Native American culture here, or maybe I just have an overactive imagination! You decide

"I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth."

Walt Whitman- excerpt from " Song of myself"