Our dog, Dante, is currently in the hospital. And the experience has me reflecting on how grateful I am to be able to provide him with the care he requires. Through my youngest son’s work in the world, we have access to knowledge and services that ease this episode we are walking with our dog. What a relief to be supported and empowered to do the best we are able to do. What a privilege.

It causes me to remember being a lone mother with a sick child and the worst feeling in the world for me was the feeling of being all alone in the middle of the night and not knowing if I was doing all that I needed to be doing for my child. Then I discovered the Nurses Hot Line. And I used it often. But the nurse on the other end of the line rarely told me anything I didn’t already know. What s/he provided me with was the most profound medicine of all — reassurance.

I was reassured of not being alone in the world. There was somebody who cared. And who helped.

Life is so painfully simple that it astounds me that humans still haven’t figured it out.

I mean, really? Help the one who needs help. Extend. Open. Allow. How can these naturally human impulses be so retarded in so many?

Every human being has the power to be loving reassurance for another.

Dogs know how to love. I believe they are here teaching us what they already know.

Our role in Earth School is to make deep bonds of relationship and through these bonds, heal one another. Dogs do this naturally.

More than six years ago, my youngest son was longing for a dog. As his mother, I was feeling sorry for myself. Hadn’t I just raised two children alone? How could I take on yet another being? But his desire was so strong that one night I had a dream. I dreamt of a black dog and I heard a voice in my inner ear tell me that I was to find him and name him Dante.

The next day, my young son asked if we could visit the SPCA just to have a look around. I stepped out of my self-pity long enough to say yes and off we went.

To witness the love of the people working at the SPCA moved me to tears. I’d never seen animals locked up and waiting for homes before. It was overwhelming.

The moment I walked by the kennel where he was resting languidly on the floor, I felt a magnetic draw towards him. I tried to walk past him, there were other dogs vying for our attention, but I was drawn back again and again to his presence. The SPCA person asked if we’d like to take him for a walk. I looked at my son and he shrugged his shoulders and so we did just that … we took this black dog for a walk.

During our walk, we stopped for a bit. As he sat in front of me, I asked this black dog, “Are you Dante?”

He cocked his head and I heard, again in my inner ear, “Lets go home!”

In that moment, I knew we had found our dog.

Now, if you ever doubt the divine orchestration and perfection of life, here’s something to reflect upon. This dog had been found on the streets of Prince George. He was brought to the Maple Ridge SPCA where he stayed for a few nights. And just a couple of hours before our arrival at the Vancouver SPCA, he was brought to the exact kennel where we met him. The timing of it all was perfect.

I had a difficult time leaving him that day but the SPCA adoption program is rigorous and we needed to walk through the process. As we drove away without him, my heart ached. I made the staff promise me to not let that dog out of their sight because we were coming back to get him come hell or high water the next day! (This from the self-pitying mother who was not wanting to care for any more beings.)

And we did return the next day. And we did bring him home.

He jumped into the truck without one moment of hesitation. He walked through our house, found the dog bed we’d bought from Costco sitting in front of the fireplace and plopped himself down as if to say, “What took you guys so long?”

Since that day, this dog has taught us not only about him and his needs, but he’s initiated my son into his work in the world. The love of this dog has drawn from my son the gifts he has with animals. I’ve watched the bond between these two beings deepen and change both of them. I’ve never witnessed such love!

As I write this, Dante is fighting for his life. He is in critical condition and the doctor says he must be one tough dog because he hasn’t given up yet. And he won’t. I can feel his determination to come home. I can also feel the love we have for this dog pulling whatever unresolved pain is in us from past heartbreaks caused in the sometimes rough experience here in Earth School, out of us. This is what hearts do. Dante is expanding our capacity to love more fully and live more faithfully.

When it’s a matter of life or death, clarity descends. It’s easy to see what’s important. It’s easy to slow down and focus. It’s easy to be present for what wants to happen.

It’s a privilege to be alive in Earth School. Every moment is an opportunity to love. And there really is nothing else. When death comes, it’s just another gateway into more life. So nothing is ever lost. But we could all do better while we’re here living. It could be more reassuring, more fun, more loving if we all just remembered the bigger story — that we’re all brothers and sisters in this family. We are each individual points in the Consciousness of the original Creative Spirit. The divine spark in Dante is the divine spark in me is the divine spark in my son. And our default position in relationship to each other is love.

No mother should feel alone in the middle of the night. No child should be left unattended. No dog should suffer for lack of love in the beings charged with his care.

I am grateful for the team at Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty Hospital. To experience the best of medicine in service to our beloved dog is humbling. Dante’s doctor embodies the best of humanity. Truly. To know your own soul’s gift and then educate yourself in service to using that gift for the lives of other beings is the ultimate human endeavour. It is love in action. And that is what we are each and every one of us here to be and to do.

May every being wake up and give what is in them to give. The power in our hearts to draw out of each other the goodness in our souls is the dance of life.
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
~ Carl Sagan

In Love & In Faith,
Magi

Send your questions to: magi@magdalen.ca

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