Mattie flopped her head on me the other day. She actually does this quite a lot. It is one of my favorite things, mostly because there is such an expression of affection and tenderness. My heart melts every time.
This time though, she looked up and held her gaze a little longer. I felt the energy of the words sweetly as “I love being your doggie-daughter.” It made my heart smile and got I choked up.
I think she knew I had been feeling sad about some choices I made which caused us some very unhappy times. And though, that is past us and it has been a while, I have deep regret about the whole thing and still feel we are regaining ourselves.
This summer during an animal communication session I apologized to her for getting us into an unloving and scary living situation. I feel I failed her…and myself and I have been struggling with that.
Her response was so incredibly gracious. She knows that I love her, said it was ok and that life is about being partners and sharing life…all of it, mistakes included. She said it was a short period and wanted me to be gentle with myself.
At that moment I felt the deepest level of connection and support from her.
Mattie embodies what true partnership is. It is love. It is commitment. And it is support. It is being there through thick and thin and sharing life. It has made me more committed than ever to returning the favor and doing my best to give her a happy, healthy and loving life.
Interestingly enough, it has also expanded into other aspects of my life. It has made me look closer at what partnership means and how I can improve this in my role with others, as well as with myself.
People can say what they want about pets. They can say ‘it is just a dog.’ They can choose not to be open to the miraculous love, relationship and gifts our animal companions offer, but not me. To quote ‘Pack of Two’ author Caroline Knapp: “I unapologetically love my dog.”
In fact, all of my pets have been amazing partners and teachers. I truly get the value our pets can have in our life and it is why I do the work I do.
People close to their pets know they have a sense of humor. Pack-of-two Mattie and I were walking around the neighborhood at night recently and I was smiling thinking about her saying she loved being my ‘doggie-daughter’ and how it touched me. Then, strutting down the street, Mattie looked back, ran towards me with the energy of saying “…and you my Human-mama”, (the same way someone would say ‘baby-mama’). I think I laughed out loud.
If Mattie had a page in Ted Andrew’s book, Animal Speak, one of her themes would be ‘Partnership.’ Then there would be a statement something like ‘if Mattie shows up in your life, even if just briefly, here are some questions to ask. Are you being a good partner to yourself? Where can you better support yourself? How are you a partner to others? Do you give too much without taking care of yourself? Do you know how to protect yourself? Do you know how to nurture yourself?’
Wow, I love that dog. Every day, I get to say “I have my very own Mattie.” She has made me a better person.
If we are open, our animal companions can be the most amazing teachers and partners in life. They can not only show us what we need and what can help us, but they also can help us feel how truly connected and loved we are.
How is your pet a partner? How have they helped you?