Book Excerpt: Introduction to “Codi’s Journey”

If you’ve picked this book I can safely assume that at some point in your life you have had the pleasure of sharing your home and life with a dog (or dogs). Perhaps you’ve been close to dogs your whole life, or maybe it’s only more recently you’ve discovered the joy of having canines around. Either way, it’s likely we share a deep and abiding affection for them.

In my case, the earliest recollection I have of interacting with dogs dates back to the spring of 1968, when my best friend’s dog had a litter of puppies. Even though I was 11-years old at the time, this was actually the first opportunity I ever had to see and play with such little pups. In the few weeks that followed that initial visit I would come to spend many hours there having fun with them, and just reveling in their love and attention. Eventually, I became fascinated with a particular black and white female who always paid me more mind than any of the others. She wound up joining our family in June of that year after my mother finally gave in to my constant pleading.  

Since that time over four decades ago, I’ve had one or more dogs sharing a home with me for nearly 35 of those years. While each of these dogs genuinely touched my heart, it was Codi, a certain feisty little Border Collie, who affected me most deeply. Not only was she my best friend in every sense of the term, she also turned out to be an amazing spiritual teacher. While some might scoff at the idea that a dog could actually teach anything to an intellectually superior human being, the truth is intelligence is just one aspect of any creature’s abilities. The dog’s unwavering loyalty, its unique ability to live totally in the present, and its unmatched capacity to give unconditional love even under the most challenging of circumstances truly makes it an ideal spiritual role model.

From early on in my relationship with Codi, I always felt that beneath the fur there was a very sentient being. And, in the last year of our time together some very mystical events ultimately transpired to completely confirm the accuracy of that feeling. Within this book, I explain each of these events within the context of a detailed narrative describing the very challenging journey Codi faced during the final 12 months of her life. To provide even deeper insight into her story, I also recount how she came to be a part of our family and likewise share many engaging anecdotes about her personality and some of her more memorable deeds over the years.

In telling this story my foremost intention is to share two key messages. First, that our pets (dogs in this instance), actually are “sages with fur” who have a far greater understanding of life (and us) than commonly thought. Second, that it’s perfectly normal to feel intense and long-lasting grief at the loss of a pet, and particularly so when that animal served as an adult’s primary companion for many years. In this regard, I sincerely want any reader who also has experienced such a loss to know that someone truly does understand the sadness and emptiness they felt when their beloved pet passed on. Finally, it’s my hope that such readers come to understand how important it is to fully process their feelings of grief by really feeling them, and then letting them go rather than holding them inside.