What do you do when your spirit becomes incarnated in the form of a furry creature and then that furry creature passes on? Blog!
My first blog without my Dahlaila (D) here are the lessons.
In the weeks leading up to and since D passed on I have been made aware of a certain doGod/goDog culture out there that is completely based on the unspoken, visceral and ethereal. These humans who understand the deep connectivity between animals and humans have reached out and helped me through this time, and I am speechless and humbled by this newfound culture of pure love.
This culture is particular. One can own a dog, care for a dog and then lose a dog and still not be a part of this culture. These people may really, really like dogs, but they do not resonate with the doGod/goDog people.
I was not always a part of this club. I did not understand or recognize the deep grief that many of my friends faced when losing their beloved animals. As a result, I was dismissive of their sorrow. Never again will I be that person. When my D was passing on and I was caring for her as one would care for an elderly relative, I encountered doGod/goDog people who would begin crying when I would tell them about my D’s condition. It became apparent that this was a unique league of people when I took D to her final veterinary visit in West Los Angeles (I specify “West L.A.” because the clinic serviced the Beverly Hills crowd, and the vet’s reaction contradicted my expectations and prejudices). I carried D into the office of Dr. Buta (pronounced “Buddha”), and explained to her that I knew that D was bad, but I just needed to know that I had exhausted all of my options. Dr. Buta began to cry! The Vet began to cry in her own office, an office that saw thousands of people with the same scenario as mine, and confirmed my suspicion that doGod/goDog people will show themselves to others like them. She told me the story about her beloved Dog, and gave me permission to put my D to rest. Dahlaila passed on peacefully later that evening.
My greatest fear when I first rescued Dahlaila from the brutal streets of Sobrante Park was selfish: I did not know how I could care for her and care for myself too (during Thanksgiving I read my journal from 2005 and was horrified to see that I thought that way). She was a pitbull and those breeds require a lot of attention, a strong personality, and a lot of guidance. As it turns out, so did I. The full circle moment arrived 10 years later, and the first words that I wrote when D passed were, “Caring for D was caring for myself.”
For doGod/goDog people the time after the passing of your creature involve putting one foot in front of the other. It is very hard to take that walk when you have had a constant companion to walk with in life and in your dreamlife, but in that moment when you realize your doGod/goDog nature you also are connected to a community of people. That community transcends all sorts of boundaries, and will terrify you with its initial intensity. That is, how many people there are who can really SEE you when you absolutely need it the most.
There is no mistake that “God” and “Dog” are comprised of the same letters that mirror one another. Dogs are Gods gift to us whenever we feel that we cannot do this walk alone. They connect us with the essentials in life which are, in fact, God’s greatest gifts to us.
My wish for Dahlaila was always that people loved her, because her breed is so maligned. So many people just loved her so much when they did not really like other dogs. People loved to snuggle with her, and she would bring comfort and joy to her environment. When I posted her passing on social media I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and condolences from my community. D was loved SO MUCH, and she died in my arms, so my heart is unburdened by the loss. Our journey together was a success, and by far, the greatest in my life to date.
I imagine D a part of my heart now. As sure as my heart beats, there is D. I try to embody D’s nature which was to be loving even to those who hated her just because she was a pitbull, and to always LOVE the finer things that life has to offer: walks, food, love, sleep, running, sunshine. D loved to face the sun. She would close her eyes and be as zen as she wanted. That’s where I leave this blog.
Face the sun, close your eyes and breathe.