These days I find myself thinking of subjects – good vibey, positive, healing thoughts – instead of ones that make me anxious, worried or make me want to stick a fork in my eye. I’m kidding, really, I would not stick a fork in my eye. Nor would I want anyone, anywhere, at any time to stick a fork in her/his/their eye.
I remember a time when a joke wouldn’t be taken literally, but I find myself having to preface what I write or say before someone points out I’m being rude or insensitive. Personally, to peg me as insensitive is like saying my dog intentionally peed on my patterned jute rug. It’s just not true. I’ve been told my entire life I’m too sensitive. I know now that’s not true either. It’s taken me decades to not only disagree with my being overly-sensitive, but to not give a shit.
And to add to that: “A truly peaceful mind is very sensitive, very aware.” – Dalai Lama XIV
And no, I’m not the Dalai Lama, but I really try to keep my mind and mind’s eye peaceful. I do believe being sensitive aids in that endless endeavor.
In the spirit of keeping to a subject that isn’t combative or hopefully won’t make anyone get all worked up, I chose the subject of pets, for motivation and for you to “muse” about today.
Don’t take the bull by the horns, just stand there
I grew up with pets. Living in a rural area, there was always a dog around. Some were mutts, with names like Tiger or Schroder. We had a purebred Pekingese named Chi-Chi. There were also cows, ducks and a wandering cat or two. Horses, little chicks, rabbits – all there, at some point, just hanging out during my formative years with me.
We had several Collies. We named every single one of them Lassie – male or female – that dog was named Lassie. We had a very large white duck that hung out with Lassie. This was way before, TikToc or YouTube or Instagram where I could show everyone how great our pets and other animals were that were mooing, chewing, neighing, quacking, barking or mewing. They just were. Like me, they wandered about, observed and seemed aware of their surroundings.
One of our Lassies laid on the front porch and our large, white duck, laid right beside him (or was that Lassie a her?). Not sure, but they were an inseparable duo. We lived way down a dirt lane. There was a tire swing that hung from a large tree in our front yard. More than a few steps away, across the front yard, was a big, fenced field where cows and bulls grazed. All of them, mind paintings in my head. I can still smell the dirt in the garden and the cut green of the grass.
One day, my two sisters and my Dad were out in that field. I don’t remember why. My mind painting is dramatic – a bull silhouetted on the hill, against an azure blue sky, with big billowy clouds overhead. He looked across the field at us, snorted and ran, fast, toward us. My two sisters took off, their feet – a staccato thump, thump, thump on the ground. I watched them dispassionately, as they slid under the fence, and ran toward the house to safety. It was one of those times in life where things slowed way down. A kind of out-of-body, watching kind of thing — you know what I’m talking about.
I was stuck. I froze, a whirring sound whooshed around in my head, filled my ears. My dad stepped in front of me, raised his arms up like an umpire calling a “Foul” and yelled a HOO! at the bull. He pushed his forearms downward, as the bull came within about three feet of us. The beast, spooked, turned suddenly and galloped back to his tribe, on that hill. Daddy later told my sisters, “Don’t ever run like that again when a bull comes toward you.” I was a nearsighted, terrified and sensitive, little girl. Daddy said, “Brig, you did the right thing.”
Obviously, there are benefits to being sensitive, or “overly” so.
Pets or animals, whether they be domesticated or otherwise, are wonderous. They too, are sensitive beings, waiting for a signal to alert them that they are home, they belong. A sense of rhythmic order, as nature is. A reason for being. That’s what we all seek.
When I fell in love…
Growing up in the country doesn’t always make one a pet lover. I do believe it instills a sense of respect and a gratitude for animals. Animals are perceptive players in nature’s vibrant kaleidoscope of awesomeness. They exist in effortless step with nature’s rhythm. I think it takes us humans some time to do that, to appreciate it, to fully understand that rhythm.
I didn’t fall in love with my pets growing up, but I loved them. They were part of my growing up landscape. I didn’t find my soul pet until later in life, and it was unexpected.
As I was stumbling through one of life’s tangles, I thought to myself, “If I ever decide to get a dog, I will name him Baxter.” I had this little guy in my mind’s eye: white, small, fluffy and Zen-like. I even wrote a poem about it, that hangs on my wall today. At the time, I was very un-Zen like, so I knew my pet could not be a hyper little being.
Years ago, I was looking for a cheap, vintage rug at a flea market. I walked inside a small structure and locked eyes with a puppy. In the corner of a very clean, tidy cage. His siblings were tumbling, puppy barking and playing. There he sat, Buddha-like, looking up at me. His soul said to mine: “Hi Mommy.” Mine said back to him. “Well, hello Baxter.” His breeder, a very lovely woman, told me she would knock $50 off the price for cash. How could I refuse that?
He was with me for nearly 19 years. Last year, he ran over the rainbow bridge, a month before his 19thbirthday. He was one of my soulmates, and I loved him with that way down deep kind of love. We got Baxter a little sister, Sophie, when he turned 10 and seemed to need a mammal friend to share his life with, and really, who doesn’t?
She too, is my soul mate. She was the yang to his yin. She’s my mini-me.
I often think to myself, how did I get so lucky to find the two most perfect dogs ever created?
According to social media, a lot of other people feel the exact same way about their pets. But, really, I know the truth. I had one and have one — the best ones in the world.
Happy Monday everyone. Is your pet the best in the world? Do tell.
- The majority of pet owners talk to their pets. (If you’re like me, you have conversations with them where they talk to you and you talk back. Yes, I channel my dog and I’m not ashamed.)
- Dogs have 10 vocal sounds, cats can create up to 100. But, dogs can create about 100 different facial expressions.
- Cockatoos can live up to 75 years.
- Wyoming has the most pet owners; 72 percent of households have them.
- Humans hear up to 25,000 Hertz. Dogs, up to 45,000 Hertz, and cats can hear 64,000 Hertz.
- In the last decade, American pet spending has more than doubled.
- The U.S. pet industry reached nearly $109.6 billion in sales by the end of 2021.
Sources: PetPlay.com and Fortunly.com.