As I let the old golden retriever out this evening, I thought about how my life with her had changed. She had a stroke last June and was completely paralyzed. I was contemplating the daunting task of writing a book about the experience. Something I would never have thought about doing before this class. But as I watched her go out and roll in the snow and do what she needed to do. I did not rush her to hurry. Instead I watched her beauty. I watched the sheer joy she feels as she rolled. Something she could not do for over a month. I revel in the wag of her tail, the smile on her face and the joy I feel when I see her walking towards me. I think about how my life has changed through meditation. How my yelling at the dogs has become nonexistent. Yes, I am not perfect, they are my children. They have expressions of needs, desires, and impatience with each other. The older dogs are my soul-mates. I read them well. The younger ones are embryos ever evolving until they reach a certain maturity. Then, they are easier to read and understand. Instead of losing my patience now, I simply read them and do whatever is necessary to deal with their needs. Argh, the simple fact that they are childlike always is a challenge. One of them likes to eat things he is not supposed to eat and has had the stomach surgeries to prove it. He is the master of escape. So, I have become more patient. I breathe through the frustration. When the young ones test as they often will do, I breathe and then firmly give the commands necessary to get the situation in check. Its a challenge to have my own service dog too. She is young and in training. A skittish yet skillful, gentle soul who was not cut out to be a leader dog. She loves to work and constantly tries me. Like a teenager testing the waters of adulthood. Anyone who says animals don’t have souls and don’t think is wrong. I spend more time watching them and their eyes are windows. I see their souls. They watch me too as I watch them. The need to contemplate them and the people and things around me has become almost a type of obsession. The need to understand things is stronger now. As I type this, one of the young ones waits patiently, breaths on my knee, my side, and stares at me, waiting for me to get her ball, or throw a glove to teach her to pick things off the floor. Perhaps dogs meditate too and a goldens patience is something I guess we can all learn from.
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