My Dog Shares His Tale – Next time!
by Shannon McArthur
Jake is my “prophesiedog”. He came years after I stopped expecting him, and when I most needed him but didn’t know it. His existence is clear evidence to me there is Something going on that I don’t know. I find that very comforting, in this confusing world. Next time, he wants to share his story but first I’d like you to know why he is so important to me.
When I was about 10, my brother and I became latch-key kids. We moved from our grandparents’ family home to join Mom in Calgary. She worked a day job and a night job and provided room and board for university students and was a loving mother all at the same time. While she was amazing, she could not make everything right for everyone. My brother had health issues – asthma was killing him. Mom came home from work one day and sat me down, told me the doctor had suggested getting a dog for him. She told me she didn’t have the money to buy the kind of dog we’d have to get, a non-allergenic dog, and so she had come to ask me to help. Would I open my new piggy bank to help buy a dog for my brother? It sounds like an easy decision to make, now, but I had never had money of my own and I had been kissing the nose of the big opalescent china pig with blossoms sprinkled over its’ back for months and, while I didn’t know what it was that I was going to buy, it was wonderful, I was sure. So I had to think about it, and asked for time.
At the time I was reading a book by a Tibetan monk, Lobsang Rampa, living in an Englishman so he could write and share his experiences and knowledge with the world. He wrote about how he became a monk and what he did and saw during the war. Some of it was pretty gruesome but I skimmed over that so I could read about the meditation practices that would open my third eye, let me fly out of my body and talk to my spirit guides. I learned a lot but wasn’t sure I was actually successful. I think I was more successful than I realized!
Around that time, also, I spent a whole summer holiday at my paternal grandmother’s farmhouse, upstairs in the attic bedrooms where the walls were lined in bookshelves that held a bazillion paperback westerns. I lived virtually in a world of spiritual indians who prayed to the Great Creator, who lived in harmony with Nature and welcomed strangers with open hearts. Often they were betrayed by bad guys but I skimmed over those parts too, just so I could be in their world for awhile.
So there I was with a decision to make. I took the whole night to make my decision and somehow during the process I was given a message: someday I would get a dog of my very own and there was nothing that I could do to make him come any sooner, he would find me. With that promise in mind it was easy next morning to say yes. The piggy bank was breached, we bought a dachshund for my brother and she loved us all for many years.
I told my best friend at school all about it, of course, and when we moved away he gave me a present – a bed-topper in the shape of a shih-tzu, long strands of white yarn flowing from the center of its back and pulled up in a top-knot above shoe-button black eyes. Because of his gift and his friendship, I remembered the promise, the dream, the prophesy.
I was 50-ish when the daughter of the lady next door bought a shih-tzu to find out if she and her boyfriend would make good parents(!) The lady, a friend of ours, brought him over to share his wonderful puppy-ness with us and when she asked if we’d babysit occasionally, we immediately agreed. His name was Jake, and he was the image of the bed topper I had been given many years before. But, it was pointed out to me after they left, he was not ours – he was not the dog of my dreams.
Jake wasn’t a healthy dog so we got to have him over a lot. I tried not to get attached, to do as I was told, but it was hard and then came the day he actually did come and find me. Somehow he escaped the apartment next door, slipped through the fire doors and came scratching at our door. I wasn’t home yet so when I arrived, there he was looking so proud of himself, greeting me at the door “Here you are! Here I am!” Soon came a knock at the door; the lady next door, asking “Have you seen Jake?” It became clear to everyone where he wanted to be and it wasn’t long before he never left.
He did come find me and there wasn’t anything I could have done to make him come any sooner; it all had to play out just as it did. How it is that I made all the strange choices I did over the years without messing it up, I don’t know – but I don’t worry so much anymore that I could make a “wrong” choice. I do the best I can and know, deep in my heart, it’s all part of the tapestry woven by the One Who Sees more than me.