Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tenderness, Gentleness, Loving With A Heart Wide Open, and Staying The Course...

“When the road gets dark - And you can no longer see -
Just let my love throw a spark - And have a little faith in me.”

~ John Hiatt ~

Tenderly, gently, several times a day I take my wee little Babs in my arms out into the yard. The four other dogs now run in and out the dog door into the yard, but at 15 Babs, deaf and blind, relies on me to be her caretaker, her guide, and I pick her up after putting her on a long leash and carry her outside, kissing her, and nuzzling her, and rubbing her head and telling her that she is the most beautiful girl in the world. She is so attached to me and we are so much on the same wavelength that when I hear her little sounds and hear her moving about -- she is right next to me in her own little space with a gate so that she cannot wander about and hurt herself -- I jump up and take her in my arms and away we go.

I am very gentle with her, and though she cannot see or hear me she knows that I am coming. She twirls all about and wags her tiny, curly little tail so hard she tickles me and makes me laugh, and I scoop her up and kiss all over her face. I call her my little Peapod, or my tiny Princess. And when we get in the yard and I put her down, we have our little routine. I am like the center of a merry-go-round. The leash is long and she goes round and round and round in circles until she finds her spots to do her business, and when she gets outside and I put her down she is so frisky, like a horse let out in a field and leaping and kicking his legs with joy. She loves snuffling in the grass, and sometimes we just go round and round even after she has done her business because she is trotting around, pushing her nose deep into a pile of leaves and just enjoying the outdoors. When she has had enough her whole demeanor changes and I know she is ready to go in, and the amazing thing is that she now knows her way back to the bottom of the porch steps and while still on a leash with me not much more than a foot away from her, ready to catch her if she stumbles, most days she will trot right over, stop, and wait to be picked up. When I pick her up she wiggles and waggles and her curly little tail goes back and forth and back and forth like pugs will, reminding me of a windshield wiper.

When Babs came to me she was 12, considered a senior and already deaf. She went blind gradually, but she's still healthy. I just had all five dogs fully vetted, and they take these little chews everyday that are not cheap but are full of glucosamine and all manner of things for senior dogs and even wee little Babs has a spring in her step now she hadn't had before. I will keep giving it to all five of my seniors because it makes them feel better.

There are many people who won't take a "senior" dog and I almost feel sorry for them, the people that is. I have never known so much love as these tender little creatures give me, they just seem to know that you have given them a home when no one else wanted them. They seem grateful somehow, and they are full of so much love that I will always have them. Every day with my elderly dogs (my youngsters are 10 and 11!), I thank God that I have been blessed enough to have one more day with them. It makes me cherish them all the more.

Loving with a heart wide open, loving deeply, truly, isn't always easy, and it is little understood by a great many people today in this fast food world where such a large percentage of the population wants everything right now, and if they have to wait, or deal with imperfection, or a little dog that is deaf and blind, it seems too much trouble and they just don't want to be bothered. Some of the best people that I have ever met are involved in animal rescue. There are a great number of dogs in the pug rescue I am involved with who are ill, disabled, or on "hospice." They are cherished, loved, and given the best of care by their foster parents, a good many of them in a "permanent foster situation," and more loving, generous, and open-hearted people I have never had the privilege to know.

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend just yesterday who felt concerned about me and thought I should "get on with my life," because the one I love has been gone three years for work, we have been able to have very little contact due to the nature of her job, and this friend felt it untenable to wait for someone, never knowing when I would see her again. She and I had the most extraordinary relationship I have ever had in my life for the five years before she left, and there is not one day that she is not with me. She is the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. She is always in my heart, and even though it's been three years I feel that there is an invisible cord that connects us. I thought about what my friend was saying and this is what I came up with. I think it's true for many others, and I think of the men and women who are waiting for their loved ones gone for such long periods in this terrible war, unable to be in contact, and yet with a love that runs so deeply that there is no question about the tenderness and strength of their love. I hold those dear ones close and pray for them everyday.

I said, "I love this woman, with my whole heart and soul I love this woman. I would wait for her until the end of time because what else is there when you have truly found your lifetime love?" That is not something that I say lightly, but I feel that it is true. In that moment it came to me that what I felt was a sense that this love was like the hot springs, welling up deep from inside the earth, so warm that you can sit with snow around you and the water is always warm. My love runs that deep and it is that warm and it will be that welcoming when once we are reunited, and I know we will be.

I think my dear little dogs know that too. Even though the four of them that can and do use the doggie door all day to go out into the wide wide world that is our huge back yard, at the beginning of the day they won't go without me. My sweet little Sampson, my velcro pug, sleeps with me, and he is snuggled against me. We are back to back. I throw a big quilt over my comforter that he sleeps on top of, but once I settle in on my side, he come up, circles around as dogs will to find just the perfect spot, and snuggles up to me, his back to mine, and often his tiny head in the crook of my neck. He immediately starts snoring, and wee little Harvey, my other male pug, sleeps right next to me in his bed on the floor. Moe comes in and lies down in his spot and eventually Coco, my chubby little cupcake comes in and snuggles with Harvey. In the morning they are quiet as little mice, but if I so much as flutter an eyelid they are all up like a shot, practically doing back flips because it's time to go out. I have four pairs of eyes staring at me, and as we go down the hall the parrots starts screeching, "Good Morning, good morning, GOOD MORRRRRNNNNINGGG! This little crew just tickles me to death, and we start our morning routine, and I feel full of love, blessed, and full of gratitude that I can share my life with these whom I love so deeply.

With love, you stay the course. In love, your heart beats in unison with the one you love, even if you are not thinking consciously of the rhythm that beats inside you both, that rhythm carries you through the day. When my four get me up in the morning the first thing I think about is little Babs, in her safe space, and I go scoop up her wiggling, wriggling, tail wagging tiny little self, click on her leash, and out we all go. It takes an hour or more when I get up to get all of the dogs out and in, in and out, give everyone treats, get all of the parrots fresh food and water, talk to each of them, and every single parrot kisses me good morning, and goodnight, and those that can sing and talk to me do. I turn public radio on for them, and they listen to it all day long. They are very cultured parrots!

By the time I make my coffee and sit down the dogs have eaten and gone back to sleep. Just as I am fully awake I hear a chorus of puggy snores, Big Dog Moe sleeps silently in his bed to the right of me, and Harvey in his bed to my left, his little paws straight out and right together over the edge of his bed looking very like he is praying as he goes to sleep. Coco is in her bed snoring loudly, her face all smooshed up so that you can hardly see where her face stops and the bed starts. Babs is just six feet away in her little area and she too is snoring. She sleeps most of the day now, but I always listen for her, and when she needs me I am there, just as I will be when the one I love comes home.

I love tenderly, gently, with an open heart, and I stay the course. I always will. What else is there? For me, there is no other way.

I wish you all the tender love that wraps you in it's warm embrace. I pray that you each know the gentleness that is possible for all of us if we live with a heart wide open, I pray for us all, always, every day. I pray, I love, I will never stop.

Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself. That is where it all begins. It is the most important love of all. We cannot give from an empty well. May your cup runneth over...


Waterrose said...

Thanks for sharing the warmth and love that you did in this post. We have two dogs now, having lost our 15 year old rottie in January. Watching him grow old and taking care of his special needs during the last year was important, I think, to our own emotional growth. My brussels sleeps with his back against me as well...while our brittany sleeps in her bed on the floor close by. Amazing the relationships we have in our life times.

Emily said...

Thanks for sharing this post.

Mishieru said...

i love that song Maitri!

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

I don't understand why folks won't adopt senior dogs, either. They have so much love to give, and so much joy to share! Our beloved Pudgy came to us at the age of 12.

Intrepid said...

It struck me when reading this post, the way you talk about you dogs and loving with your heart wide open, when you love a person with your heart wide open they usually either run a mile thinking you want more than to just love them for who they are or they take it as a sign of weakness and rip your heart out. Dogs on the other hand who are supposed to be less intelligent accept the love the way its intended your little dog being a good example. Anyway good luck, I know that sometimes it can be a long lonesome road but you have to keep trying otherwise we would live in a world without love. I will pop back again sometime if thats ok.

William K Wallace said...

My dog is a huge part of my family and as important as any human member. I can clearly see how much you love yours...

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