February 19th, 2016
While checking out at my local grocery on Saturday, my cashier became engrossed with a woman on line behind me, holding something tucked securely beneath her coat. As a few others gathered near, we were treated to the sight of a gorgeous puppy, very much like the dark one in this photo. Another employee who was now cradling this sweet baby explained that her mother had been driving behind a fast-moving vehicle, when this puppy and one other were tossed through an open window landing hard on the side of the road. Astonished, she quickly stopped her vehicle and was able to rescue them. The sweet puppy that I imagine may have looked like the lighter one in the photo above, did not survive. The dark angel, blinking his wise blue eyes at us, under fluorescent lights in a check-out line on a Saturday night, was full of the miracle of life, coursing through his tiny body.
As I gathered my packages I was filling with joy at the story's happy ending for this little guy, and I could feel a familiar sense of outrage welling up inside me about the evil and cruel end to his litter-mate's short life. As I walked to my car, placed my bags inside and fell into the driver's seat, my story was shaping, as was the stone in my heart. Feeling this stone growing cold and hard within, awoke me with a hard shudder. I sat quietly, feeling calmer as a slow melting began, the ink on my invented and cherished story-line, slowly fading on the page of my mind. As my heart opened wider, I considered another story. Whose hands were those, who executed such a hard fate to such innocent babes? What careless, cruel, and violent tossing aside might this innocent babe have felt from the hands of another, before? And they, from another before? And they, before them? Innocent children, innocent puppies, innocence lives, born and abused, again and again. How do we separate the guilty from the innocent, the perpetrators from the victims? How do we know?
I trust that you, the reader are more awakened than I. I trust that you moved more easily into compassion for all involved, skipping the condemning story-line from the start. I trust that each of us, when encountering tough situations that break us, will feel from a wide open heart that knows suffering for what it is. I trust that we will feel the suffering, acknowledge the vastness of it, and stretch ourselves to heal it with love and compassion, and not with fear and indignation. I trust that we will all give ourselves to that which breaks our hearts the most, in our work and in our play; allowing our hearts to heal and not to harden, in the process. I hope for a sane and kinder world where events like this cannot happen. I trust in Love, and I trust in each one of us.
And I wish the very best for you,
Veterinarians experience an increased number of office calls due to
digestive problems after the holidays because humans invite their animal companions to
celebrate with high fat meals.
Ten tips to remember:
1. Keep your animal companions out of the kitchen so they do not get food that may
drop on the floor. Of course, you do not want to trip on your dog or cat while
carrying something hot.
2. Secure Your Garbage: dogs have been known to eat tin foil due to
3. Watch out for the decorations. Candles should be placed away from the
reach of children, both 2 legged and 4 legged.
4. Table Scraps/Sudden Diet Change Hazards: Rich, fatty foods (turkey skins,
gravy, etc,) can contribute to pancreatitis. This inflammation of the
digestive gland is painful and can be serious--requiring emergency
5. Bone Hazards: Remember that cooked turkey, duck, geese and other bird
bones are dangerous to your animal companion.
6. Dessert Hazards: Chocolate, macadamia nuts & grapes/raisins are poisonous
to dogs, cats & ferrets! In addition, xylitol which is used in baked goods
can be a serious danger to your companions.
7. Train Your Guests: Let them know your companions have already eaten, and that
your prefer that they not be fed without your permission.
8. Don't forget your companions' regular exercise: You may want to extend the walk to ensure that all
excessive energy is dissipated before your guests arrive.
9. Water: Make sure you provide enough water for your dog or cat. If your
fur baby is hiding due to guests, be sure to put water close to their hiding space.
10. Last but not least: give your animal companions lots of love and tell them
how thankful you are to have them in your life!
Happy Thanks-giving Day to all -
I wish the very best for you!
They mourn for the Elephant Whisperer
I cannot remember a time without the love of an animal companion (or several!) in my life. I cannot remember a time outside the presence of the companionship of all beings, surrounding me. Beloved ones have come and gone for me, for well over 50 years. I remember each of their faces, personalities, whims, touch, and these days, gratefully, I remember their unique teachings.
I understand that these magnificent beings live in relationship with us, love us, guide and protect us, and teach us respect for all life forms with equanimity, with their unique way of mirroring us, at our best and at our worst. I trust that if we pay attention, they will assist us to be our best human selves. If we learn to look, listen, and practice observing our own arrogance, we might begin to grasp a small notion of innate, unconditional love, and just perhaps may even lean ever so slightly in that direction
Blessed for the past 18 years to be raised by three magnificent golden retrievers, first one, then three, then two, then one, now none, with my husband Rick Amendola, I have come home to the best parts of myself. Through the teachings of our last one standing, Fletcher, who left us in July of this year, I have surrendered into my boldest passion, highest gift, and my life mission.
It saddens and befuddles me how in these times of great evolution and awakening for humankind, we miss the sense that all other life forms are evolving and awakening, too. You need only to look into your animal companion's eyes to know that this is so. The relationship is about helping each other in the practice and process, at this most perfect and auspicious now in which you have come together.
If you do look into their eyes, and listen to the voice of their heart, they will sing to you of so many things: how the flowers are the continuing evolution of plants; nuts, the continuing evolution of trees; moss, the continuing evolution of stone; honey, the continuing evolution of bees.
Perhaps the animals themselves may be the continuing evolution of our own human heart.
Awakening isn't a mind thing, so stop trying to think it into being. It's a heart thing. Open up.
I wish the very best for you.
Healing through the Holidays
Holiday time is fast approaching! The autumn leaves have colored and fallen, the air is crisp and clean, and the daytime skies are that brilliant Carolina blue to which we are accustomed, here in the sunny south.
As the seasons turn, we notice the dimming days, and the growing darkness, without and within. Summer’s bounty has been harvested for safekeeping on pantry and freezer shelves, in mason jars and in the modern zip-lock bag. We are hard at work preserving what was recently so abundant. Now marked so clearly by its absence, it becomes ever so more precious and dear. The steady hum of lawnmowers and noisy insect friends, has given way to a growing sense of quiet stillness.
We are reminded at this time of year, that life is like that, too. This quiet stillness can be restful and inviting, and it can be a place that is difficult for us to be. The holidays are a time for celebration, for togetherness with friends and family, for dining tables piled high, and for joy, sweet joy, to the world! For animal lovers, along with the traditional decor, out come the holiday toys and gifts for our precious furry ones; the sweaters, the antlers, and the Santa Kongs filled with peanut butter and cheese.
For some, the holiday bells may ring differently, this year. Many among us have recently lost, or are anticipating the loss of beloved four-legged, finned, and winged ones at the most difficult time of year for facing such sorrows. Some of us are fortunate to have folks in our lives who appreciate these things: that our losses are great, and that we feel less moved by the usual holiday spirit, going on around us. Others of us, not so much. Some are elderly, or alone, or simply lacking in family or friends who empathize and understand.
Grief for our animal companions is a tough nut to crack, any time of year. Many don’t understand the grief or think us irrational or eccentric, and we remain bereft, as well as bereaved. Add the holiday music and hustle-bustle into the equation, along with the too-empty space by the hearth, and the tally is clear. There are far too few resources out there for support, in spite of the bustling “pet” industry. Sadness is sadness, grief is grief, and unattended they land where they land, like a truckload of bricks. If you are experiencing overwhelming loss and grief, and the idea of transition seems too far away for comfort, welcome a compassionate friendship or a supportive hand to hold. Life does go on. It takes time, understanding, and support to heal that place within; a place that may be raw from an earlier unhealed grief, and tightening down with this fresh loss. If you know someone who is struggling at this time, perhaps you might consider being that hand to hold, and offering compassion in this holiday time of giving and gratitude.
I wish the very best for you.