Dances with Dogs

Tis been many a moon since my last post on this blog.  Although I have posted often in my head, somehow the transition to keyboard and actually expressing my wild and wooly thoughts never quite happens.  The last few years have been tumultuous, tempestuous and tantalizing; full of grace and grappling.

After allowing myself an interlude of unemployment to recalibrate following the conclusion of my professional stint with a wild and wacky personal growth endeavor, I found myself needing to earn some income.  I proceeded to complete the necessary steps that would launch me back into the world of commuting and cubicles, at least temporarily, as an office temp professional.  I had the conversations, revamped my resume, collected references, and set up my interviews for testing and placement.  Still, the thought of re-entering the occupational marketplace and reshaping myself to fit in a cubicle instigated a potent reaction of “no” in my body and heart.  It was more than simply the resistance any of us might feel facing something we would rather not do.  I couldn’t ignore or brush past this communication, this reverberating message that my search had not yet taken me to my destination.

The weekend preceding my interview I continued perusing the internet and job listings, following a scent, a hint of something I couldn’t quite name or describe.  Until I read the ad for a job opening walking dogs and pet sitting in my own locale.  Why not?  I have always loved and had an affinity for canines.  I would be outside and active.  I would not have to commute far from my home.  I would be doing something REAL and practical.  I applied in a rush of creative frenzy, baring my soul to the then anonymous recipient of the job applications.  I KNEW this was what I was supposed to be doing now.

Many of you know the rest of the story.  Two years later, I have spent 85% or more of my waking hours in the company of canines.  Dancing with Dogs.  Walking, playing, training, sleeping and communing with dogs.  What I thought initially might be a dalliance with dogs has swiftly become my destiny.  I excavated and renovated a part of my being and a dream of working with animals that had been dormant since girlhood.  This awakening has been accompanied by a host of powerful, personal insights and evolutions as I immersed myself in study and daily practice into the world of canines; becoming a student of their world, cultivating sweet and satisfying relationships with them, learning how to understand their communication and communicate effectively with them.

Becoming a dog professional has radically altered every aspect of my lifestyle, as well as the lifestyle of my loving and infinitely supportive intimate partner.  I dress in fleece and rain hats and multiple layers, then come home dog-tired and decidedly doggy smelling. (A young boy told me recently that I “smell like MudBay” – a local pet supply store). I skip putting on make up most days and  nearly always wear my hair up.  My car is adorned with dog hair, treat crumbs and  organic detritus tracked in from my escapades. I am rarely without a poop bag or a leash or a funny dog story.  Where once I designed, organized, hosted and participated in all manner of gatherings and events designed to nourish the feminine soul, Sisterhood, and the Lover within us all, now I can barely carve out time and space on my living room floor for an hour long devotional movement practice.  This lifestyle transformation took a dramatic turn last December when I decided it was time to raise a little dog of our own.

Enter Macy, little Mistress of Mayhem & Miracles, and the (mostly) benevolent Queen of our hearts.

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“Living with a dog is the long process of becoming mutually familiar. . . . the more time we spent together, the more she became who she was, and the more we were intertwined” (Alexandra Horowitz, Inside of a Dog, pp. 63, 65). Likewise, the more time we spend together, Macy and I, the more I become the human I believe I am meant to be.  Maybe this is one of the reasons why when we rescue a dog we discover we are being rescued right  back.

And so, dear sisters and brothers, fellow travelers and rescued hearts, I offer this post to both explain my absence from our community activities and conversations these last few months and to initiate a new wave of extending myself once again.  Like a new parent, my priority has been creating a successful integration of this dog-being into our life and a resilient foundation for the months and years of living together, humans and canine. This puppy priority has eclipsed so many things I used to casually spend time on: art projects, writing, phone conversations, and real-time interludes with friends and family.

In resonance with Spring, I have been feeling my yearning to dance with other humans as well as the dogs, and to share the insights and musings that bubble to the surface, usually when I am in the company of my canine companions, who, while good listeners, would really rather I just give them a treat and tell them how good they are.  Thus, I am relaunching “Radiant Musings” with this inaugural post.

Since my life has quite literally “gone to the dogs,” Radiant Musings will include categories for my thoughts and experiences about raising and living with dogs.  I hope you will enjoy these tidbits as well as the more traditional fare about life and love.

With a Happy Tail,

Deborah

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