I don’t remember the exact year that Maggie came into my life. She was a childhood dog. I think I must have been nine or ten; My first childhood dog Pepper, was reaching up there in age and I suppose my parents thought it was a good idea to bring in another dog so the death transition wasn’t too traumatic for young children who had their mother die.
There is no way I would ever be thinking about this if it wasn’t for the here and now, and the timeless nature of things.
Okay, so, Maggie was a Brittany Spaniel my folks picked up from the local shelter. She was young and energetic… she really liked to jump up on people, which is an “unwanted behavior”. I was at an age where I had to perform chores for an allowance, and one of those chores was picking up dog shit. I would try and have fun with Maggie as I cleaned up the dog yard. One of the things I would do is try and get her to not jump up on me, that is like dog 101.
Maggie didn’t have a super long life. She died in my New Kids On the Block blanket, it was my prized possession about the time she came into our life. It seemed right she passed on in it.
I didn’t realize that I have been working with her too. I never thought of her as “my dog.” I wasn’t allowed to even if I wanted to. She was a “family dog.” Probably so that my brother and I didn’t argue about such nuance. I’ve literally been picking up animal poop in some capacity for the last 28 years. You only do that stuff for true love, and in return, a true Love will try and make that as easy on you as possible if they are aware of how you struggle with it.
Maggie knew that I thought picking up crap was horrible, but I think she also sensed my magic and imagination tied to the desire to try and make a miserable task bearable. True durability of connection.
When I was a kid, I wanted an animal of my own SO BAD! I wanted something that was my own that I loved deeply. When I finally was able to do that- the situation was so weird.
I rescued a meat rabbit from the neighbors. They had hired me to feed their animals while they were out of town and I fell for one of their rabbits. So my dad built a hutch and I was able to have this Hunny Bunny. She was reddish and had a black accent and this little bald mole spot above and to the side of her right eye. It was that spot that made me want her.
Our relationship didn’t work out. She definitely needed more attention, and she had to sleep outside in the hutch all of the time. It isn’t the way I would treat a bunny. But my parents were more about having domestic “outside” animals and rules for things like that. I wanted to cuddle with furballs.
I remember telling my dad that the rabbit was getting vicious and we needed to send it back to nature so we let her go down by a pond near our house… where I didn’t think she would last very long. And that is what we did… we gave her back to nature.
I now see Hunny in Quantum Dream Cat. So this story isn’t going to stop. If animals are here to assist us in being elevated humans, I am full on board. I am listening.
I don’t remember how I felt with Maggie passing on the couch, in my blanket. Once she started seizing, my parents made us leave.
I’ve been well acquainted with death while also dealing with it many times over my lifetime from an early age.
Claddagh was my first real experience with it all suddenly and first hand with extreme emotional attachment. Everything else has been leading up to facing that moment and knowing that “The End” is never REALLY “The END.”
Again I will say, I am so full of love right now. This is quite the experience. It is certainly meant to be shared and understood for the vastness that it is. This Truth swept beneath rugs meant to accumulate sorrows. It is hard to talk about because it is hard to conceptualize that the whole thing is one beautiful conversation with All That Is.
These gifts, despite tragic ends, are proof of that which is hard to speak.
In December, it happened- all of the scrolling through FB pages looking for the “perfect dog” while daily breaking my own heart looking at all those fur balls that need furever homes- I finally saw her.
I knew it from her eyes. No picture of any dog spoke to me like this one did. She had recently been posted for rescue, and I wanted to be first on the list. So late that night, I filled out an application with magnanimous amounts of hope and love brewing within my soul. When I looked at this picture, I knew that I knew this dog even though she was rescued 622 miles away. Then I looked at her number. The last four digits are the same as my SSN. Weird right? Not to me- just a sign of synchronicity to come.
Over the course of the next day, my application was put into the process, but Nina (as they called her) was tagged by a rescue based in the Colorado Springs area with fosters all across the Front Range. Usually, they don’t deal with interested fosters this far North because they don’t have many connections in the area to make transports easier.
Perfect timing was that application was filled out right before Christmas and most people were entrenched in their holiday plans, making transport a bit more complicated. At first, I thought it would only be a few days before she would head my direction, but after further assessment, they realized she is not spayed and had kennel cough. They would be unwilling to do surgery until the cough was cleared up… So, my baby had to sit in quarantine for a few days until she was cleared for surgery. I was told it could be a couple of weeks.
It was fine. I was willing to be patient. Patience comes easy when you are sure it is The One. I wanted to make sure that she was healthy enough to travel and if we had to wait a little longer, then it would be worth it.
Finally last week she was cleared for transport. She would be here Sunday, January 13, 2019.
In the weeks leading up to Nina’s transport, I began a process of talking to her through my psychic centers, just like I use to with Claddagh. I told Nina about my home life, the people in it and my other pet friends. I told her about the expectations I have for a calm house life. I told her about Claddagh and how much she meant to me. I told her, that I would be her last spot. I am her Home.
Every night before falling asleep I would tell the kitteries about our new friend. And, as I drifted to slumber I would send all the healing love energy to this new but suffering companion.
Jump back to 2007, when Claddagh came into my life. I was living with friends in Gilpin, Colorado. Friends who are on a higher wavelength when it comes to spiritual discussions and how spiritual dynamics affect our reality. Friends who, themselves are animal lovers.
During one of the animal discussions, the topic of animal reincarnation was brought up because even at first I was afraid of losing Claddagh. I was already preparing for her death in my psyche. This is when my friend Lindy started talking about animal reincarnation and soul companions in the form of pets.
That we contract with the souls of animals for lessons and companionship in learning those lessons. That once we fell in love with an animal it was imparted with a Soul Personality. Given the duration of life is much shorter for an animal, their Souls are allowed to return in different bodies if the contract is still active.
I always felt like I would be with Claddagh forever and ever, amen. I certainly didn’t feel like our contract was up when I had to say “good-bye.”
In spiritual communities it is talked about that animal reincarnation can take one of three forms. The soul being born into the body; the soul “walking into” a body that is already established in the world, and Soul Braiding.
Soul Braiding is when say a dying animal Soul contracts with another animal soul that is living. They contract to share a body and a personality in order to continue the initial soul contract with the human the first animal Soul was tied to. Essentially the living animal Soul agrees to bind with the dying animal Soul and facilitate a continuation of where things left off.
Far left, right? Totally fucking Woo-woo, right?
I don’t think so.
Due to a scheduling conflict, I was unable to pick up Nina from transport and I had to arrange for someone else to bring her to me. I noticed my dad was working near Fort Collins that day, and I offered a homemade quiche for help in the matter. I asked him because the last time Claddagh disappeared, my dad arrived at the shelter before I did in order to help locate her. He also said to me “Mandie, you need to get another dog.” I figured if he was a strong advocate, then he would be of excellent assistance for uniting me with my newest friend. Plus he really likes dogs, and I think they know that about him.
Finally, around 8:20pm they walk through the door. Nina is apprehensive as all get out. Her tail curled between her back legs, even when sitting down. She was easy under my dad’s control of the thin leash. She wasn’t sure about me. She wasn’t sure of anything except that she was comfortable with my dad. Ha! The man was worried she wouldn’t like him, and now she was thinking that she was supposed to leave with him… Sorry, puppers, you are staying with me.
After my dad left, she wandered around looking for him. Going back to the front door and just standing there giving little whines.
My pupception tells me that Soul Braiding began sometime between November of 2017 when Quantum adopted me, and March 2018 when the kittens were born. I also assume this is when the slow-growing tumor began on Claddagh’s heart. Claddagh being 100% Love, wasn’t going to leave me stranded and alone. And in fact, the cats were the best support in my mourning.
Nina, in my estimation in between 9 months and a 1.5 years old, and seems to me that she is part of the timeline. This is why the process for her to come to me, despite the distance, has perfectly aligned.
The piece of Claddagh’s Soul that is in this Nina, began to wake up on the drive with my dad. She sensed a familiarity that was safe.
After he left, I let her wander around the house and check everything out. Then she snuggled up on the sleeping bag in the garage and I read to her my Letter to my Future Dog. As I did, she stared at me. Giving me direct eye contact, which took Claddagh years to become confident enough to do. And we just stared at each other, me with tears in my eyes catalyzed by the overwhelming love and familiarity that I was feeling.
Shortly after that, she began to unfurl. Her tail still seemingly timid in its expression, was now starting to go outward, instead of under. When before she wasn’t interested in coming to me, now all of a sudden she wanted to be right by my side.
There were some tests. I kept taking her outside, hoping she would go… but it was still overwhelming her. She came back in, and I ran inside to put Gma to bed. When I came back out there was a very fresh and large pile of poop on the concrete floor. Claddagh would never make a mess on the carpet if there was an option, and that wasn’t something that I taught her, just like she would never poop on a trail.
I notice the poop, and Nina notices me notice the poop and she hunches into herself again, acting as if she will get reprehended. Instead, I got excited! It looked like really healthy poop, and I was happy to know that she was able to clear her bowels. I told her good job, cleaned up the mess and put down some enzymes so she knows that isn’t the location for that in the future. She unfurls, even more, it’s confirmed she “Is a Good Girl.” She need not worry about abuse for mistakes or accidents. Her comfort comes out in abounding waves.
We stay up until 4:30 in the morning, playing a sort of “getting to know you.” But do you know what she wants most of all? Just to be cuddled with me. When we finally went to bed, she was right there in the bed with me, like it’s been forever.
Today, she was a completely different animal from when she walked through the door. We went on a car ride, and she is perfect. We went to the feed store and she was perfect. She is observing the other animals and people, and still showing some timidness, but also a sort of excitement… she wants them to like her.
Quantum isn’t impressed with me currently and I think it’s because I relocated her and Capricious downstairs while we figure out introductions and dynamics. I think in a week everything will go into a normal routine and the kitteries can come back up to my room and we can live like the weird little family that we are.
Current things that have happened in the last less than 24 hours that give me confidence in Soul Braiding;
1. When I ask her for a hug, she puts her paws on my knees. When I say full hug, she brings her paws to my shoulders, and we give a full hug.
2. She wants to hold hands while driving.
3. Her favorite spot is right next to me, regardless.
Those three things were a daily component of living with Claddagh for almost eleven years. How is it this timid dog just walked right into that alignment without me asking her to?
The answer is The Soul Knows.
I’d like to introduce my new best friend; Journey.
It’s kind of strange to write this one sided history of a relationship with an animal who can’t speak for themselves… but I have to do it. The loneliness is amplified right now. No one can do anything for me… I have to just sit with this broken heart and try and make something beautiful out of it. Honestly, I don’t know how to handle this any other way. I’d love to go to the mountains right now, and to write on pen and paper there… but the timing isn’t quite right on that move.
Claddagh and I explored Colorado; Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. We drove thousands of miles, paw in hand down highways and sideways. We hiked, climbed, snow shoed, snow boarded, boated and played in water together. She saw beaches, mountains, forests and cities. We were quite nomadic in the first half of our relationship.
Claddagh was lucky enough to know what mountain living, farm living and comfort were all about.
I know it’s cliche to think you have the perfect dog… but I really did. And if a dog can get even more perfect, she did. Even when I thought there was no way that I was good enough for her, she stuck by with love.
When I got her, I quickly realized she had separation anxiety. I couldn’t leave her at my friends house because she took to eating shoes. So I brought her to work with me everyday through the winter, I padded the back seat with blankets and her toy and on my breaks I would take her out for a walk and a pee. Generally my shifts were 6am to noon, and Claddagh was fine in the car. The car became her sanctuary. The safe space when I wasn’t around.
When the weather was warmer Claddagh would stay corralled in the cafe patio area with shade, water and friendly patrons who slipped her bacon. I would come out for a smoke and take her for a jaunt and go back to work. She was always around.
Right now I feel lost, and honestly I felt lost before Claddagh came into my life, but she gave my life some extra purpose in care and attention. The feeling was mutual. I feel extra lost today. And if I am honest with myself, this feels like a small rock falling that is about to initiate an avalanche.
Claddagh and I always had a strong psychic bond. I could know what she was thinking and vise versa. I’ve paid attention to the script in life, and whenever you lose a pet, it signifies the end of a chapter, which means anything can happen on the next page. Claddagh came to me on just little past a New Moon, and she left on a Full Moon, twelve years and one month to the day of my brother’s passing. These things are personally significant and probably tell more about the specific script I was born into. In my opinion, nothing is happenstance, that isn’t how I live.
My friend brought me a burger. It almost makes me sick to eat it, because I know I can’t share it with my buddy. This observation increases the feeling of pressure on my own chest. I look to see her, and she isn’t there.
There is a hole in my room where her bed use to be, there is a hole in my heart amplified by time and focus. I’m writing words to try and fill the void, while avoiding the question. ” What next?”
I do. Everything does work out. I didn’t have to watch her suffer. I didn’t have to drown in debt for hopeful solutions to a problem that only (maybe) could be prolonged a little while. Granted, none of this was ideal… but the way I see it, the way it went down is kind of a gift.
When Claddagh and I first met, I laid down some guidelines.
1.) Don’t run away or try to cross streets by yourself. Dogs are notorious for not looking both ways, and it’s your own damn fault if you get hit by a car. So stay with me.
2.) I am your home. I am going to work at keeping you safe… so like I said, don’t run away and try to cross streets.
3.) Don’t eat my food unless I give it to you and stay out of garbage… being sick sucks for both of us.
4.) I love you, and I hear you, please listen to me, I want to keep you safe, we are a team.
Honestly, like any animal large or small, she tested those guidelines, and she became a better dog for it. She found herself in some unexpected circumstances, and I had to have faith she would end up back home. And she did end up home, every single time. Never seriously injured, maybe a little traumatized. By last month, she was acting like an old timer going on a joy ride when she ended up at the Shelter for a whopping twenty four minutes. I am guessing whoever kept her for the night made her stay, worthwhile.
Claddagh was an empathic dog. Probably all dogs are empathic, but for Claddagh it was a lifestyle. I tend to be the same way, and so we were support systems of both ends. I didn’t get jealous when she would share her love, and she never got mad at me for sloppily trying to work my own personal shit out. It was a “I know who I go home with every night” kind of situation. I’d put a human friend in the back seat of my car, if Claddagh wanted to ride shot gun. It was kind of “ride or die for love” mentality. I don’t regret it one bit… even the shitty parts.
Life together required adaptation, and Claddagh took all of it in stride, and in so doing, she was able to have some interesting experiences by my side. She even went on a few adventures of her own… but that is for another chapter.