I'm humbled by the story I'm about to tell. It started with an email sent among rescuers who had come together throughout the Midwest to save a litter of puppies. Weeks later came an email about the mother.
"I know some of you won't recognize the name 'GG'," it began. "It stands for Golden Girl, the name given to the mother of the puppies who've been on such a strange and dangerous odyssey. She's at my house as of last night, and today gave me an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life."
Susan, a rescuer who had cared for the pups on their way to Kansas City, explained that as she walked GG to her pen, GG suddenly pulled Susan INTO the pen with her.
The light bulb went on inside my head about the time she came flying back out and squeezed past me through the gate, Susan said. GG, this most wonderful and devoted canine Mom, had recognized the scent of her puppies. Two weeks worth of bleaching and disinfecting couldn't fool her and she was on a mission.
Susan cried and watched as GG methodically followed every trail that her babies had made. When she finally realized all of the trails were dead ends, GG ran back to Susan and sat in front of her.
"By this time, I was crying so hard I had to wipe my face on my shirt in order to get a good look at her. She had the most wistful and questioning look on her face I've ever seen. All I could do was kneel down and cry into her fur, assuring her her babies were going into good, loving homes."
"I've had some emotional roller coasters in my life," said Susan, "but the saga of this Mom and pups tops them all so far. I think these babies must be destined to do great things in their lives to have faced so many odds and still survived. Their Mom is equally special and deserves a happy ending. Please pass the word and let's see if we can get her the kind of home she deserves."
I knew their story, we all did, and Susan was right. Two babies died shortly after birth. Parvo had taken the lives of two others. Three survived deadly Copperhead snake bites days after arriving at yet another rescue, thanks to the rescuer's swift response. Still, few of us knew anything about the mom.
I had a developed a friendship with an animal communicator in Minnesota over the previous year. I wasn't sure what reaction a suggestion to 'talk' to GG might bring, but I took a chance and emailed Susan, who eagerly agreed. Over the course of the amazing conversations that followed, three themes emerged.
"See US, not our stories. Look in our eyes, there's somebody in here." Susan had looked into GG's eyes, and in that moment, they connected spirit to spirit. "She didn't see my story. She saw ME," GG told Marilyn.
Instantly I thought of an intuitive healer, Sonia Choquette, who had been in town that same weekend with a nearly identical message. "Forget your stories, get over yourself!" Sonia says enthusiastically in her workshop and book Trust Your Vibes. "Look each other in the eye, see who's in there." The same message GG, herself connected to Spirit, was bringing us.
Animals have feelings, too.
GG still felt physical and emotional pain from being spayed, and an emptiness where she once identified with herself as a mother. She knew her purpose was to only bring forth one litter, but an awareness of purpose doesn't mean our emotions are immune, even as animals.
"Dog's feelings tend to parallel human feelings in the situations they find themselves in," a friend of mine said after reading GG's conversation. "We assume we know best, and treating them as a pet becomes somewhat like treating them like a child. Yet, they're very capable of a rich range of emotions with real feelings that aren't limited to what you think a dog can do. Not as a pet or an animal, but a creature with a breadth and depth of feelings that rival our own. We should respect that. You have to wonder," he said, "is the language barrier theirs or ours?"
We're here to open up people's hearts.
I asked if there was a purpose for us coming together, something meant to be told. Marilyn laughed, and said GG was putting it in 'dog terms.'
"It's like this," she told Marilyn. "Take a tennis ball and that symbolizes the earth, and if you hold it in front of a lamp, you see the light of the lamp behind the tennis ball. That light is the animals loving the people of the earth, and helping to bring balance it encompasses the whole earth."
"We're helping to open up people's hearts."
I'm making the two-hour drive to go meet GG myself this Sunday. Mother's Day. I'm hoping to discover if our paths crossed for the purpose of this story, or if she's in fact the second dog I've felt ready to enter my life.
GG suggested I bring a rope so we can play tug-of-war. She said it will help me feel my strength. I can only hope it will equal her own.
Written by Gail Leis, writer and creative director in Kansas City, MO. Originally published in the Kansas City, June 2004 edition of The Edge.