My Very Own Dog
by Shannon McArthur
Jake came years after I stopped expecting him, and when I needed him most but didn’t know it. His existence is clear evidence to me there is Something Going On that we don’t know. I find that very comforting, in this confusing world. Next post, he will share his story but first I’d like you to know why he is so important to me.
Long, long ago, I learned to read from simple little books. The words and sentences were basic, introducing only a few new words each short chapter. I remember enjoying the experience. I also remember the jolt I felt when a gardener was introduced as Jake. My very young self objected “No, that’s not Jake – Jake’s not a gardener!” Why I felt that way was a mystery and I almost forgot but I finally discovered that, really; to me, it’s true: Jake is not a gardener – Jake is a dog!
One day, when my girlfriend and I were living in an apartment in Surrey, BC, the lady next door brought over a little ball of blond fluff; her daughter’s new puppy. She and her boyfriend had bought the little shih-tzu to find out if they would make good parents! When they asked if we’d ‘babysit’ occasionally, we immediately agreed. His name was Jake, and he looked exactly like a bed-topper I had been given many years before and he reminded me of that time…
Back when I was 9 and my brother 11, we became latch-key kids – we moved from our grandparents’ family home to join our mom in Calgary. ‘Latch-key kids’ means that we came home from school to an empty house. Our single mom worked a 9-5 office job, sold jewelry at evening parties, provided room and board (with some help from us) for students, had a bit of a social life and was a loving mother, all at the same time. She was amazing, but she couldn’t make everything right for everyone. My brother had health issues – allergies, depression and asthma were killing him.
Mom came home from work one day and sat me down; told me the doctor had suggested she buy a dog to encourage his interest in living. She told me she didn’t have the money to get the right kind of dog, a non-allergenic dog, and so she had come to ask for my help. Would I open my new piggy bank to help buy a dog for my brother? Perhaps it sounds to you like an easy decision to make, but I had never had money of my own and I had been kissing the nose of the beautiful big pig with blossoms sprinkled over its back for months and, while I had no idea what I was going to buy with it, whatever it was was surely wonderful. I had to consider the idea carefully, and I asked for time; that night I made the decision.
I don’t remember what I did, but I’d been reading about a Tibetan monk whose life story revealed much about their practices, including meditation and out of body projection. The next morning I told my mom “Someday I’m going to have my very own dog but there’s nothing I can do to make him come any sooner; later in life he will come and find me.” Comforted by that, I said yes. The piggy bank was breached and we bought a dachshund, Schufti, and she loved us all for many years.
My pig is still around. Here she is with “Fleabag”, who received her name in my time-before-memory (memory found: story and tarot ride). Her complexion was my alternative to her having one black foot, thanks to my brother – I loved her no less, though. How synchronistic is it that the one image I have of the pig is with her? She is a good example of why my decision was so hard.
My best friend at school, Michael, was the second to hear the story and, as a going-away gift when we moved again, he gave me a decoration for my bed in the shape of the dog I had described for him – long white strands of yarn flowing to each side from the centre of his back and pulled up in a top-knot above shoe-button black eyes. Because of Michael’s friendship, his gift, and the years of handwritten letters we snail-mailed back and forth, the prophecy was not lost in the mists of my memory. Mind you, at the time I didn’t think of it as a prophecy; it was just a wisp of wonder – not until it came true!
There I was, more than 40 years later, confronted with the extreme cuteness of a shih-tzu puppy, and I recalled that promise I received so long ago. I shared the story with my girlfriend but I was told: Don’t get attached. He was not ours and he was not the dog I was promised. I tried to comply. I let go of the dream but lost my heart; babies of all kinds are designed that way, but shih-tzus most of all!
Jake wasn’t a healthy dog and he visited a lot. He moved to Calgary for awhile and lived in a house without landscaping. They would hose him down because they didn’t know he could easily shake the dirt out of his hair. There he’d be, first water-cannoned and then waiting, cold and wet, until his thick coat would dry. He had sensitive skin, delicate eyes and allergies. Their vet suggested different diets. Nothing worked for long; he was really high maintenance, and he responded well to our care.
The day he came to find me we weren’t expecting him… Somehow he slipped out the neighbour’s door and then through the fire doors between us. He came scratching at our door and was let in, and the neighbour was expected at any moment. I wasn’t home yet but when I did arrive, there he was looking so proud of himself, greeting me at the door “There you are! Here I am! I came to find you!”
Not long after there was a knock at the door, our neighbour, asking “Have you seen Jake?” His preference was clear, and he never left again.
He was with us when I received my other prophecy, the Promise from Mother Earth… His story is a picture book, awaiting publishing… full of pictures like the one in my banner above. I’ve also recorded a video of The Story of the Stones.
Thinking back to that jolt I felt when I was first learning to read, I believe that somehow, all those years ago, I actually did somehow know that Jake was not a gardener at all; not to me. He was very special – he was my very own dog… and he came and found me.
Time is not as straight-forward as we’ve been led to believe! One of my favourite subjects…