Every morning around 7:00am, my new dog “Chewie” and I walk 2 miles along the spectacular beach near my home. As part of this routine, we have joined a special morning community of other dogs and their owners and various joggers, walkers, bicycle riders, breakfast at the beach folks, early swimmers, and the trash removal crews. Many people admire Chewie and we like to stop to chat and get him petted. This morning I was talking to a kind-hearted man about how I had adopted Chewie from a local shelter last month, and he said to me “How great of you to rescue him!” Without thinking, I responded “No. He rescued me!” I was surprised by my response, but when I thought about it, it was definitely true.
Over the last several months when I considered what I it was I truly wanted in my life, wanting a dog was always at the top of the list. It had been 25 years since I owned a dog. I had been a single mother making ends meet, and then a corporate consultant with long commutes, long hours and frequent business travel. Now that I was doing work that I love from my home and enjoying the life of my dreams, I still hadn’t given myself permission to fulfill my long time desire to have a dog. Finally, I made the decision to get a dog. I started telling people close to me about my decision. I made a list of what I was looking for in a dog. I started looking on “PetFinder.com” at dogs available locally for adoption. I called on a few, but they were taken. I kept saying “the right dog for me will show up.”
In the middle of June, I was driving to an appointment, and was stopped at a traffic light. The road immediately to my right went to the local animal shelter. I had been there once, several years before, when my son was looking to adopt a cat. Now, sitting there waiting for the light to turn, I got a strong intuitive hit “Your dog is there!” I got extremely excited, and on my way home from my appointment, I stopped at the shelter. They were closed but the women who answered the door told me to go on the website. On the website, I found an incredibly beautiful dog that met all of my criteria! I made an appointment to meet Chewie the next day, and I knew immediately that this was my dog.
Having Chewie in my life has fulfilled a deep desire and a long standing dream, and this has provided me with some wonderful, new gifts that only dogs can give to us. The first gift is a constant reminder to stay present and savor the moment. Dogs are so present to the moment and to what is in their environment; noticing smells, people, objects, noises, emotions, and energy. Chewie’s excitement and enthusiasm for the smallest discovery is palpable. Sitting together on a bench by the sea, I am reminded to take a deep breath and let go of thinking about what has happened in the past, and to let go of worrying about what is going to happen in the future, and simply be in the moment with the unconditional love from the dog in my lap and the incredible beauty of the ocean before me.
The second gift is the opening of my heart to the unconditional love that dogs give so well. I have always had cats, and they can be loving, especially around breakfast or snack times, but they definitely don’t love with the complete adoration that dogs do. Chewie is a cuddler and kisser, and even if I’m gone a short time, he is so happy to see me he literally jumps up and down with joy. And that deep sigh of total contentment when he is leaning up against me with his head on my lap just melts my heart.
The last gift is what I mentioned in the beginning about having joined a community of dog lovers and making such positive human connections when we are out walking. In this last month with Chewie, I have met so many wonderful people and have connected on such a compassionate level. Even the grumpiest of person passing by can’t help but smile at this dog that just radiates beauty and joy. I have met and had conversations with all of my neighbors on my street, where previously we had only shared an occasional greeting or a wave from a distance. And I feel like I truly know now what it is like to embrace each day with love in my heart.
So, yes. Chewie has rescued me. Having him in my life, with all the gifts that he has brought to me, was just what I needed to live my life more fully and to experience more joy every day. I am so happy to have him here with me now, and my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for my wonderful new companion.
To the love of dogs,
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