Tag Archives: companion

My Best Friend: Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

I can’t exactly remember when it was that Claddagh started joining me in the dream space, but what I do remember is that in my dreams I was always trying to get her back to me.   The situations of dog-napping, and a dog run loose in reality were folding themselves into the bizarre tapestry of my well established dream world.

My dream world is conglomeration of places I have lived connected by a highway that leads to different lands.  There is a city in the middle made up of places I have visited, all smushed together into one seamless landscape.   One night in my dreams I became aware that Claddagh was now apart of my dream journey.

Here I will share some of the dreams that I have recorded over the years, in which Claddagh was important to the dream story-

April 5, 2017  “I dream about my dog.  I wonder if she dreams about me?”

May 2, 2017 ” Last nights DREAM JOURNEY , where I was on some camping trip with friends. We left my dog to play with a kitten, and we started to climb the face of some rocks.

Intermittently there were these painted rocks. And as I climbed, I started to realize how high off the ground I was. There was no easy way to back down. So I kept climbing to the top, figuring there would be an easier place to descend. On top of the mountain there was an auditorium theatre, and throughout the building there were boarding rooms.

A few of us got together for a strange “cancer test” Where we had to hold some red liquid in our mouths. And the woman giving the results would come around to each person, and suck the liquid out of us with what looked to be a clear syringe with two compartments, but this syringe was larger than a caulking gun.

If you had no cancer, the syringe would suck all the fluid out… if you had cancer, it would only suck out half the fluid. One of the people in my party was told they have cancer. We go to find our rooms, and I can see my dog acting bizarre, through a glass door. She is acting riled up. Her hair standing up along her spine.

Some one says “They are here.” I want to know who. They looked like brothers from different mothers. One was ginger, and the other had jet black hair. They were dressed like punk rock Nazi’s. Someone tells me that they are demons, as old as time, and that I can read about them and see pictures of them in an old set of Biblical Children’s Encyclopedia.

I was told to look under “Deedle-lingen”? I go wandering around to look for a bathroom, and notice a wet walkway that leads to bathrooms and some guest rooms. It is gross down here.

I see the brothers walking toward me, only this time they are dressed in what appears to be ancient buffalo hide. I turn into a room, and it’s filthy. I see a toilet, and it is filled with cigarette butts. This is the brother’s room. I am appalled that whoever runs this joint, allows them to smoke inside the building.

I look out the window and watch a car drive straight into a deep puddle and sink into the rain gutter under the building, and notice the water turning red. The brothers are killing people, with their minds, for fun. I can’t find my group, but I am able to locate my dog. I woke up before we could get off the mountain.”

May 11, 2017 ” Last night’s dream I am back in this cruddy festival land for a weekend camp out. Again I have my dog and we troop around talking to people. Everyone is talking about God, but it seems like they are talking about some other god.

I get an uneasy feeling.

Someone secretly doses me with something, and I am trying to keep my wits about me. My vision and hearing change, I can see them (kind of like the movie They Live).

Some fella talks to me about God, and I tell him that he worships Lucifer, and he says “I know that, We all Know That.” I rebuke it in the name of Christ, which basically turns me into a big beacon of light, and I can no longer blend in, They All See me Now. I’ve got to get out of there, but now that they see me, they prevent me from leaving.

I call my step mom to pick me up, but she keeps getting distracted by the people and the scene. I pack in the back of my old red Camry hatchback ,Shastina (that I sold in 2006) with my dog; from the back seat I put the keys in the ignition and tell my step mom to drive.

We get out into a mountain highway, and cars are ganging up on us. We hear sirens, so she pulls over. The siren sounds are phantom, there are no police cars. Cars are pulling over surrounding us. I jump into the passenger seat, and yell at her to drive again, and she swiftly pulls back into traffic.

I am trying to read the 32 missed messages that suddenly pop onto my phone. I am trying to call my dad to let him know what is going on. Karen is suddenly falling asleep at the wheel, I pull over to get her coffee. I am still “tripping” and the people at the coffee stop see me and know she is with me, so they have some hand in her sleepiness. Everyone is staring and moving in on me, so I wake up.”

November 9, 2017 (the day Quantum DreamCat showed up.)  “So this afternoon a wounded cat came into my yard, and she let me catch her… she’s been in my lap for most of the day, and I have been acclimating her to Claddagh, who is fine with kitteries.

I’m falling in love, but really trying to find her people. Right now the 3 of us are sharing some Nori (seaweed).

This kittery already knows about litter boxes, so that is awesome…. Claddagh is scared to get hissed at or batted in the face, but she really wants to show love to the kit.

Tonight is going to be interesting…

A couple of nights ago I had a dream that was really lucid, and in that dream I got a phone call from a man who sounded Black, (my spirit guide always shows up as a Black dude, if you want to know more about that, ask.)

Anyway, this guy on the phone asks me “Is it okay if I let your cat drink from the dogs water dish?” And I am aware that I don’t currently have a cat, so I misdirect and ask “Where are you calling from?” Trying to discern more info.

We talked around the topic, but the phone call ended with “Congratulations” Mylar balloons appearing in the reproduction of my dream world….

I have wanted to hold and love on a small kitty for over a year…. now I am fostering one… It’s kind of intense, because it is unexpected, and I am unprepared… But I am getting some really unexpected joy at the same time… This kittery has a perfect personality, or maybe she is just a good guest.  I don’t care… I am loving every minute of it.”

These are just the public posts of dreams that I made in the last year.   When I look at them in chronology I can tell I was being informed of a future that I didn’t see.   All the signs were there, I was choosing not to see it.

When I take all of the information I see the non-linear reality that plays in the waking and sleeping worlds.   This gives me some comfort that soul truly does live on, even when it is out of material form in this 3D construct.

I look forward to her returning to my dreams, perhaps accompanied by my brother, or my Dream Guide Rafiki. I bet my brother would have really enjoyed Claddagh’s company, I hope their re-introduction was beautiful for I am sure he had a hand in the synchronicity of perfect timing for our meeting.

My brother Kevin, was my first best friend, and I know that he would care for anyone that could steal my heart in such purity.   If there is a heaven, they are there together building bonfires in the sky.

My Best Friend: Who Am I Without Her

I was a dog owner for just short of eleven years.  I’ve lived a decade immersed in that mentality.  Where I go, my dog goes.  If my dog isn’t welcome, I probably don’t want to be there.   I ditched out on parties early, avoided certain places all together, all for the sake of companionship.

Sometimes Claddagh would hang out in the car if I wanted to make an appearance at some event where she either wasn’t welcome, or I knew would have too many dogs and give her anxiety.  I would pop out every half hour and spend about fifteen minutes with her, eventually, most times cashing out early and going home.  Every once in a while it would be a late night in good company in calm environments with people who adored her and her dog friends around.   Those were the good ole days.

I knew I had to be friends with the people who had dogs that got along well with Claddagh.  Introductions were always the most awkward for her.  Dog protocol is all about the butt sniff.   Claddagh wasn’t having it.  Anytime a new dog got near her posterior she would growl, effectively telling them to “fuck off. ”  If the dog interested in her, could let the desire to sniff go for the amount of time it would take for Claddagh to get comfortable, they could then get close enough to take some sniffs and walk away to give her space before doing another cruise by.

Claddagh always had anal gland issues, though they seemed to be less bothersome in our last two years that were dominated by a diet change.  I wonder if she was insecure because of the glandular build up.  Maybe it was just sore.  In the beginning I thought maybe she had been tapped by another dog and there was trauma there, but that could just be my wild imagination.

It’s strange to think that we surround ourselves with living beings, daily, and yet we don’t really give them much thought once we get comfortable with their presence especially when we just trust in the routine of life.

I can’t focus on thinking about anything but my life with Claddagh, right now.  I go to distract myself with topics I generally find interesting and they have no allure.  An emotional cord has been ripped from my chest and I wonder how I will ever be able to fill the obvious hole in my heart.  I don’t want another dog.  I want my dog.

I am something different than I was two days ago.  Now I am “dogless.”  It feels wrong. So much of my personal identity was shared with this companion animal.  I am caught at an emotional crossroads that I’ve been to before.    Do I shut myself down and wall myself off as I have in so many human relationships, or do I see this as an opportunity to grow and change and to better understand and appreciate the various wavelengths that love can exist within?

I’d like to to believe I will follow the latter. I suppose I need to explore what this means for my human relationships.  Obviously the depth that I feel about this situation can not be ignored and I think that my willingness to dive those depths can be intimidating to the humans around me.

See, even though I am making this outpouring about a dog, these feelings are universal with any sort of significant loss.  We come from a history of people distracting themselves from their pain, and I find pain unavoidable.  I always have, but I believe in the Spirit of things and that Spirit always reminds me that everything is temporary and that things can always get better but one must have a willingness to believe that Truth in order to take advantage of it’s reality.

Claddagh brought to my life more depth than can ever be articulated.  We didn’t need words because our souls were in constant conversation.  My writing was able to take on even more depth because of Claddagh being there as an influence in my perception of the world, and because it was amazing to try and imagine the world through her eyes specifically when she was at play in nature, or when she would just stare at me for minutes on end.

She was a reflection of my soul. My soul mate.  It seems rare to find anything or anyone in the world that you would want to covet forever.  I am hopeful that I won’t have to wait another twenty-seven years to begin another journey like I had with Claddagh. I am hopeful that the depths of whatever is to be, extends ever further than I could dream or imagine.

I think if you really love and adore someone, you should consider taking on their best attributes.  If I were to take on the best attributes of Claddagh, I would be more excited for everything that life has to offer.  I would make each person I am with, feel like the most important person in the room by giving them my undivided attention.   I would wait to eat more meals with company.  I would go for a ride for no good reason more often especially if someone just wanted the company.

My life over the last six years has become quite isolating, and Claddagh took the brunt of that.  We went from fairly nomadic to completely stagnant.  Over the six years I just slowly stopped doing the things that we enjoyed most together because nature seemed so far away.  We aged and got lazy and uncomfortably comfortable together.  But, we were together, every single day.

What a great partner.  What an amazing friend.

My Best Friend: Adventures In The Beginning

September 13, 2007; shortly after paying a small fee to claim her as my family, we headed back up into the mountains to Nederland, where I was excited to have her meet my dog friend Gullivan.

Being the attentive dog that he was, he heard my car riding up the steep road and ran down to meet me in the driveway for his customary treat and lovin’.  Little did he know I had a passenger that wouldn’t be going anywhere in the near future.

Claddagh was sitting in the back seat when I parked the car and opened the door.  Gullivan happily jumped up on the ledge of the door opening, looking with happy anticipation.  I said “Gullivan, I have a friend I want you to meet, I think you will love her!”  Gullivan looked at me, and then he looked at Claddagh poking her head out from the back of my seat.  He did a triple take, back and forth, and then started barking like “everything is wrong about this.”

I considered Gullivan my surrogate dog, and he knew it.  He was not impressed with my passenger and made it known for about a week with bullying tactics.  Then something shifted.

Gullivan was known to roam.  He would disappear for hours and then return home muddy and disheveled.  This specific day of shift, I had plans and when it was time to leave from my visit Gullivan and Claddagh were nowhere to be found.  Tammi and I called for them, but they were long gone.  I was starting to taste the first bits of fear that a pet owner gets when their animal disappears for the first time.  I didn’t want to panic, I wanted to trust her… but I was pretty shaken on the inside.

I think I had to go to work, so I got ready to leave, and I just trusted she would come back.  In my head, I told her that I was upset. I needed to be somewhere and I didn’t like the feeling of panic.  Low and behold, she and Gullivan walked up the driveway as I approached my car.  I didn’t know if I should be mad or happy.  My priority was to make sure I wasn’t late.

The dogs were filthy.  Claddagh looked happy, and Gullivan was walking side by side with her with no bullying behavior.   Tammi later admitted that Gullivan would put other dogs through the gauntlet to see if they could keep up.    He was actively trying to lose her in the forest.    Claddagh kept pace; made it home unscathed and earned the respect of what would turn out to be her longest dog friend.

When she came back I mused how awesome it would be if we had camera’s on our dogs to see what the heck they get up to.  This was a bit before GoPro cams were a popular thing.  I still wonder where they went and how many roads they crossed to get there.  What animal did they catch?  I am sure that was part of the initiation.

Gullivan became Claddagh’s die hard fan.  When Tammi would leave town, she would ask me to watch him.  Even after years of being states apart from each other, Claddagh and I would come back in town and things were like the good old days.   They would run and chase and try to escape the fence.   At night, we would all cuddle together in bed, even as new additions came into Gullivan’s family.

Gullivan really helped Claddagh know how to be a “family dog with an independent personality.”  He played with her and nurtured her curiosity as a wisdom keeper.  Claddagh would take the adventurous spirit that he had fostered in her into an occasional break for freedom.  Claddagh wasn’t an escape artist.  She didn’t run away often, but when she did, it seemed like she had a reason.

In 2008, Claddagh and I drove down to Denver so that I could try and find a team for the 48 hour Film Festival.  I didn’t know anyone, and I wasn’t certain anyone would want me on their team.  It was just something I felt like I needed to do and was taking one of my signature risks in so doing.  I sat at a table with a beer and it was like speed dating.  People spend about five minutes talking to you, asking questions and getting contact info.. and if they like you, you get a call or an email.

Two teams were interested in me, but I chose to work with the one closest to me in Boulder.  Often I would go to Boulder for shopping at thrift stores, and Claddagh was always in tow, so we would hit up the dog park for an hour or so during the trip.

A week or so before 48HFF, Claddagh and I were at the dog park and this guy without a dog started talking to us.  It ended up that he lived in the apartments across the street.   I told this guy about 48HFF, and he offered to watch my dog while we were filming.  I thought it was a nice gesture, and thought it would be pretty cool to have her about two miles away, versus leaving her up the mountain.  I got his contact info and we met up one more time.  He seemed nice enough. Normal enough.

The day arrived for writing,filming and producing and I dropped my dog off with this guy. We spent the greater part of the day writing.  We started filming that night and ended early morning only to get up and do it again.  Our day ended sometime after 2pm and I was ready to get my dog back.  I was invited to get her and to stay over night at the host families home, as all that was left was to edit and score the film.

I called the guy to let him know I would be on my way over to pick up Claddagh.  He asked me to stay at his place.  I told him “No. I just want my dog.”  He told me I couldn’t have my dog unless I stayed over, and I couldn’t get her right now because he wasn’t home.

I wasn’t about to let some strange dude hold my dog captive in trade for a sleep over.  I told my host family what was up, and that he wasn’t home right now, so I was going to go break my dog out of his apartment.  They asked if I wanted someone to accompany me.  I said “no.”  I didn’t want to make anyone accomplice to what I may have to do.

Barefoot, I drove the few miles to this guys apartment and as I walked along the top floor I called for Claddagh.  She immediately met me at a window to the guys bed room.  It was summer and the window was open so there was only a screen keeping us apart.  I pried the screen off the frame, walked into the room, opened the bedroom door and unlocked and walked out the front door.  I put the screen back into the frame and hoped to God that no one was calling the police on a breaking and entering.  We ran across the hot asphalt and hopped into the car.  As I drove my legs were shaking uncontrollably.

I realized these were the lengths I would go to for Claddagh.  I would break into a strangers home to save her.  I would risk going to jail (again) for my partner.  I kicked myself for trusting some random stranger at a dog park, who did not have a dog.

My host family loved Claddagh.  We drank wine that night as I recalled the affair.  It was wonderful to have a nice safe home to return to.  Even they were kind enough to let her sleep with me in the guest bed.

My Best Friend: Loneliness Within and Without

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?”

“Have Faith!”

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.

My Best Friend: The Good-bye, Goodgirl.

Today started like every other day. The cats woke me up and I poured food in their bowls, and Claddagh and I got up and I let her outside. I got myself a glass of water, not really feeling coffee, and did as I usually do; sift through emails, check the updates on social media.

My uncle came out with the trash, as he usually does, and perched himself down by the bins to give Claddagh her morning treat.  That fake bacon stuff she loves.

My uncle made note that she wasn’t acting herself, and looked like she had thrown up.  I figured it was just some stomach upset that she was looking to relieve by eating grass and then throwing it up.   Concerned, I checked her out and over all she seemed normal.

As the day went on I noticed she wasn’t acting as normal.  Our friend Devon stopped by, and usually Claddagh is up and very talkative when he shows up.  She is always excited to tell him something.  Today, she stayed very calm, and didn’t say a word.   I didn’t pay much notice to that but shortly after he left, Brody dog came out and as usual ran at the fence to bark at the neighboring dog.

Usually Claddagh is the ring leader in the barking nonsense.  She waits anxiously for Brody to follow her out and raise a little mayhem.   She didn’t move.  She stayed glued to the ground, watching Brody raise a ruckus.   This was odd enough to give her further inspection.  Her stomach seemed bloated but she wasn’t whining or crying.  She didn’t wince in pain, regardless I found the swelling to be disconcerting.

This of course led me to Google to ask about swelling belly in a dog, which lead me to bloat, which they say is an emergency situation.  Of course it has to be on a Saturday, right?  Claddagh is still getting up and moving around, but she seems so lethargic.  I sit with her in the yard and she pukes up the treats my uncle gave her, and a bunch of bile.

I call the vet, and wait for the emergency on-call to call me back.  He does, and I give him a run down of her symptoms.   He doesn’t think it is bloat but tells me that I can call back.  I tell him I will keep an eye on her.  I do and by the hour her stomach is getting bigger and bigger.  She is finding it harder and harder to walk very far without needing to lay down.  I call the vet two more times.  He still doesn’t sense bloat.   Finally around 9:40pm I decide she has to go in.

I want to hope for the best but I feel sick.

Claddagh uses all her effort to get into the car.  We arrive ahead of the Vet, and sit out side.  Claddagh doesn’t want to sit down because she knows she is going to have to get back up and it’s getting increasingly difficult for her.

I run down the list with the Vet and he takes her for x-rays and blood work.  He says he will call in about an hour.  I drive the two blocks home to wait for the call.

At 10:53 he calls with bad news.  Claddagh has a large heart based tumor.  He gives me three options;  I can go to Ft. Collins tonight for an ultra-sound, he can give me medicine to get her through the night (maybe) and take her for an ultra-sound in the morning, or I could put her down.

The condition she had, and the way the swelling was affecting her; her heart was so big that it was cutting off circulation to the other organs in her chest.

That is so like her, you know?  To have a big heart, so big even that it would work against her longevity.   As much as I wanted her to come home with me, I knew that potentially waking up to her, gone, would be too much for me.   And even though she wasn’t really having a painful condition, her breathing was so labored and her deterioration was happening so quickly, letting her go seemed like the most humane thing to do.

I told her how much I loved her.  How special she was to me in my life.  I gave her all the kisses and told her how hiking would never be the same.

The medicine worked quickly.  Her eyes became quite dilated and then she was gone.

I had to make so many decisions in just hours today, and no matter what, there was not going to be any saving her.

I had walked back to the vet, to put her down.  It was a harsh reality to walk out of there with a leash and a collar and a bill for five hundred dollars.  I wish I was walking home with my best friend, or at least empty handed.

This morning there was no inkling in my mind that today would end up this way.

I have to re-learn how to be “Mandie without Claddagh.”  She was the longest relationship I have ever had in my life.  We spent almost every day together starting on September 13, 2007.  She was my birthday gift to myself, and she did not disappoint.

My heart is broken right now.   I am in a bit of a shock and I can’t imagine what tomorrow looks like without my Dita.  For those of you who knew her, she loved you.  She loved everyone, and always thought you were here to see her.

I couldn’t have asked for a greater love in my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.