Category Archives: Book Excerpts
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.
“Perhaps Codi’s most humorous exploit was something we ultimately came to call “going Border Collie Crazy,” or “BCC” for short. It all started when she was about five months old, coinciding with the time when we began to leave her alone in the house for longer periods of time. One day, upon returning from a shopping trip that kept us away for longer than we had ever been before, the BC greeted us enthusiastically at the back door and then immediately launched into a high-speed romp through the house.
This wasn’t just a quick gallop from one end of the abode to the other and back again. No, this was a sustained burst of pent-up energy that included jumping on and off the couch, crawling on her belly under the cocktail table, rising up again and sprinting down the hall to the bedroom, leaping on and off the bed, circling a padded chair, then repeating the same process at least twice more until she finally got it out of her system. It essentially happened so fast that all we could do was stand back and laugh hysterically as this wild-eyed Border Collie treated our entire house like it was the setting for an agility competition!”
“As we left the house, we immediately noticed a small fenced in area with a lone black and white, roly-poly puppy inside it – the moment of truth had finally arrived. I was filled with a feeling of excitement and anticipation, and yet at the same time I found myself feeling sad the poor little thing was all alone. That feeling faded quickly, however, as we approached and saw her balancing herself on her rear legs while clinging to the top of the fence and vigorously wagging her tail. She was simply beautiful in every respect. Although her coat was primarily black, she had distinctive white markings on her chest, her forehead, and on all four of her legs. She also had piercing eyes and an adorable little pink belly with small black spots. As Andrea and I bent down to greet her, the strength of the connection was obvious to all three of us.”
“While giving Frisbee performances, Codi’s concentration also showed itself in what some spectators felt was a negative manner. It wasn’t that she growled at people or threatened them in any way; she just ignored any attempt on their part to pet her. Usually it was a little kid who would approach her during one of her brief rest periods. The child would first look to us for approval to pet her, and afterward reach down to stroke her head. In the exact moment the child’s hand would move down to touch her, Codi would deliberately lower her head even further to ensure the attempt would fail.
This was actually a very comical behavior to witness, as her body language effectively said, “Leave me alone, I’ve got work to do.” The person was typically taken aback by her response to their advance, and sometimes would ask if she was an unfriendly dog. Our response was always to politely explain that she was a working dog who just didn’t want to be bothered while on the job. We also let them know she always did the same thing to us in such situations. It wasn’t personal at all to Codi, it was just business.
The fact was her intensity made her appear aloof, or perhaps in some sense a bit arrogant. We just learned not to take it to heart. We knew she loved us. It just wasn’t her nature to express it the way dogs usually do. That love, however, was very evident whenever we’d return home from being out for a spell, as each time we were greeted by an aggressively wagging tail. And, sometimes, if we were very lucky, we even got a small lick on our chins!”
“Is it possible that dogs (and other animals) have a soul, a higher consciousness if you will? Do they take a so-called simpler life form for some specific reason? Are they, perhaps like human beings, pieces of God consciousness in the process of evolving to higher levels of awareness?
For domesticated dogs and cats as well, is part of their life plan to be in service in a deep way to their “humans?” Do we choose them or do they choose us? For several minutes that evening these questions and others like them raced through my mind.”