Saturday, October 30, 2010
Sullivan- the great teacher
We are dealing with tragedy in our house. Although it is about one of our pets, I feel it is suitable for this blog as we are truly parents to our pets, and dealing with the lose of a pet challenges any parent of children, especially when it was so intertwined with the entire family.
Our beloved dog, Sullivan has always wandered. We are good parents, but in the eyes of many bad animal ‘owners” as we gave him freedom when he asked for it. After 3 years, people started to complain this year, and finally we started to keep him in.
Well, last Tuesday, he left again, he went up to a neighbour’s house and started to bark at their chickens, he called the dog catcher, who had him put down without telling us, and without the 36 required hours. Our boy was gone.
We didn’t hear what had happened until Friday morning. For 3 days, our children and us wondered where he was, called his name and searched. In the end we were assuming he had been lost to the coyotes.
So many emotions are flying through our house, anger at the injustice of it all, devastation for missing him, guilt for him being out, ponderings on whether we appreciated him enough. I haven’t cried so much in years, and our children barely know what to do for seeing us so distraught. They deal with it differently, one of our daughter’s has numbed herself with computer games and Little House in the Prairie reruns. For once we don’t say no. our other daughter mentions him often, dreams of him and cries a little. She tries to refocus on other things, to distract herself and I’m proud to see her focus on his spirit.
Yes his spirit. Good old Sullivan was a master creator, and a brilliant teacher. He came to teach us the power of love and he still teaches even in spiritual form.
Animals are pure positive energy, who never feel the resistance of fear or plans or attachment. They love, because they love. They run free and enjoy each car ride and each butter wrapper with all their might. They are pure love and feel no fear of death. Like all of us, their spirits are always moving towards the more. They grow and expand, look for that new adventure.
We got Sully as a pup. You have never seen such a lively pup, who just wanted to be part of the family. He never messed in the house, so we never needed to discipline him, he just lived, loved and explored. He savoured everything for 3 years. He never had a moment of real contrast. He went free, walked with the old ladies of the village, was loved by all.
When our youngest son was born last year, we knew Sully felt misplaced. He’d been our boy, but was suddenly being called our number one pet. It didn’t really bother him until this last summer when our son started to walk and be more active. Then the complaints started to come in and we had to limit his freedom.
These last few weeks we’ve noticed Sully wasn’t savouring his life as much as before, he stopped eating his pancakes and his plates of spaghetti. He begged to go out and sneaked off as often as possible. He then came back guilty and disconnected. Life for Sully stopped jiving. He decided it was time to move on.
Sunday we took a trip to the city, Sully in tow. He looked down and depressed. He sat on my lap as usual, but didn’t perk up at all over the course of the day. When we got home we found some chickens had been killed, which sent him crazy upset, looking everywhere for the culprit. I think he felt he had failed.
Monday night he took off for a really long time. We usually let him out at night as he never wandered in the dark. Just sat at his spot on the hill. But that night he was gone for a really long time, and we thought he was gone. When he came back, I sat with him, cuddled him, played with him. I told him we loved him so much and not to go so far.
Sully looked at me with those brown eyes and told me he had to go. He had to be free, to run and play. He kissed my feet that night, from under our blankets. He told me everything was alright. Then the next day he escaped, never to return.
It would be easy to paint Sully as a victim, but he was everything but. His life had been funfilled and full of love. He just needed a place to move on to. Sully could never had grown old, or suffer bad health, he would have hated to be penned in, which was the plan within the next few days, he saw his chance and created an out.
Sully is no longer restricted to his body or the world’s rules for dogs. I know he loves us still, and he stays with us always.
We deal with things differently as people. Our youngest daughter, who I mentioned talks about him and grieves for him often, is connecting to him on a different level. I have told her that I felt sully wanted to be her guardian angel, she can talk freely to him now, even imagine him with her everywhere she goes. He would like that I’ve told her. Our other daughter has said she can’t cry over it. I’ve let her distract herself with other things, but give her extra hugs and reassuring nods, knowing she is aching inside. My husband and I are devastated, talking and crying about it often, but coming to terms with his choice. This bothers our daughter, but I told her its like when you have a cut. You stick a band-aid on it and when you take it off it doesn’t look much better, but when you leave it to the fresh air, it heals quicker. Our discussion is only like fresh air as we work through stuff.
Myself. I still talk to him, softly call him when I walk to the car, as I put our son to bed, I imagine him in his usual space beside me on the bed, I imagine patting him, loving him and I hear him as he gently tells me, everything is alright. He is happy in his freedom but couldn’t ever really leave us. He loves us and one day will return. I tell him he now has to protect us from his new vantage point and then I tell him to get downstairs, to make his father feel better too.
Perhaps this post doesn’t belong here, but here it will stay. It is only to say that our animals are pure spirit, as we all are. Sully was a great teacher. He taught me to live in the now, to live life to the fullest, to love and to ‘be’. He was constantly allowing life to flow forth, without resistance. People think animals have little intelligence, they seem them as insignificant, as un-human. But animals are purer than us humans, they are always themselves without socialization, they always love and live in the moment.
Thank you Sully for all you’ve been to us, and I look forward to being with you in the now, where you will never be in the way, or cause embarrassment or slight frustration. I’m sorry if we cry occasionally for the illusion of you, the physical being we knew you as in the start, for the feel of your fur, the softness of your kiss, or just the sight of you on our sofa, but that will pass. I promise never to lose contact with Who You Really Are.