January 27, 2024

And Then I Touched Her

She was digging in the back seat of the car. Trying to make a hole in the cushion so she could lay down in it.

"Anieko, honey" I said, hoping she would hear me and quit digging at the seat without me having to look up from my phone. I couldn't figure out how to make a tag work in the post I was writing.

We were in the parking lot at the hardware store waiting for Chris to come back.

Dig-dig-dig-dig-dig. She was still doing it. I talked to her again, this time with a stronger voice, more bossy. "Anieko. Stop it please. Can you please stop doing that?”

No response. Nothing but the continued scratch-scratch-scratch-scratch.

I decided to get more intimidating. To really use the tone of my voice to make a point.

So she would stop and I didn't have to put too much more energy into dealing with her.

But I caught myself. I didn't want to intimidate her. I didn't want to harm our friendship that way.

She digs like this a lot - on the couch, in the carpet, the bedspread. I like to let her go for a while and then quietly slow her to a stop.

That day I was feeling impatient, intolerant, irritable. It was the damn phone.

I turned to look at her. She was cutely perched on her hind end with her paws bopping up and down with the digging.

I instinctively reached out and touched her.

When my skin made contact with her fur, she instantly stopped. She became still. Then she plopped down, and we resumed waiting for Chris to come back with the thermostat he needed.

I was gobsmacked. The way she stopped abruptly when I touched her - why couldn't she have stopped like that when I was talking to her?

Was the touch better than the words? I was wildly curious. I opened to the knowledge I hoped to receive.

The understanding shown to me was that it had to do with connection.

Whether it was the talking or the touching, it only mattered if it was done with presence. It had to be with your whole self, showing up in the moment.

We learn this in shamanic dog training as part of the foundational exercises. Its kind of simple and it can be missed. Especially when we're looking for something that has more flare. We think there is a special trick, some secret key.

But it's so small and we trip right over it sometimes.

Being present with your dog. It says I'm here. I'm with you. I see you.

When we really look, in that moment we are present, all the things we need are revealed to us.

It felt like magic that day. It was the smallest thing, and I noticed it. I was gifted with a deeper understanding.

Maybe you can feel it. Maybe you can't. I share it with you now because I want to tell you about the gift I received that day in the hardware store parking lot.

And because I want you to receive that gift too.

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