Saturday, October 5, 2013

"the first time ever I saw your face....."

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever.”
― Alfred Tennyson

     The first time I watched the movie Hachi: A Dog's Tale, I was in my sisters living room with her family and my dog, Maddie ( pictured above) who was eight years old at the time. Have you ever cried so hard you gave yourself a severe headache?  Have you watched a movie or read a story that turned you into a quivering mass of tears and snot and unbearable sadness? Remember the final scenes of Marley and Me? All Dogs Go to HeavenOld Yeller? My nephews still make fun of me for crying over the animated canine tale, Bolt. While watching Hachi I imagined what it would be like when Maddie and I would have to say good-bye.  You know a story moves you when you cry so hard your eyes become swollen and start to resemble a boxer who just went ten rounds with Manny Pacquiao. When a film touches your heart so deeply it is generally a variation on one theme. And that theme is LOVE. Many of us have loved animals; cats, birds, horses but few of us who have ever owned and loved a dog will ever forget such a rare unconditional bond. Like Maddie and Hachi, they become a part of us. They become a part of our history.

      Unlike Hachi, Maddie wasn't found wandering a train station as a puppy. Maddie wasn't rescued from a shelter or bought from a breeder. She was a purebred one year old cocker spaniel who needed a forever home after her family decided to have more children. They believed they wouldn't be able to give her the love and attention she deserved. My brother was getting a five hundred dollar dog who might have ended up in a shelter for free. The day I went with him to pick her up it was love at first sight. The gorgeous gentleness of her expression and the loving gaze of those beautiful brown eyes melted my heart. We connected immediately and she was mine. Homeless? Not any more! Alone, never! Loved? 150%  ..forever. The reason I share my stories about Maddie is to focus awareness on how much dogs enrich our lives. They are members of the family. In some countries such as Nepal, dogs are honored just like siblings or an aunt or uncle. Dogs teach us responsibility, compassion, protect us, make us laugh, get us moving and shift our minds away from ourselves. Up until her death last year, my merry, affable, affectionate, full of kisses, meditation instructor, Master Maddie Mooshie Diamond Lotus Buddha always reminded me to be in the moment.

       Roger Caras , American wildlife photographer, writer, wildlife preservationist, television personality and former president of the ASPCA who dedicated his life to educating us about animals once profoundly stated, "“If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.” 
It's cruel and really difficult to comprehend but by the time you finish reading this blog over 1,000 perfectly healthy dogs and cats have been euthanized in shelters due to ruthless over breeding in puppy mills or irresponsible human neglect. If you are unable to adopt a dog this month consider promoting your favorite shelter on Facebook, Google or Twitter. There are numerous pure breed rescue operations if you are looking to adopt a specific breed such as an English bull dog or Golden Retriever. Another way you can help shelters is to donate money, supplies or volunteer your time.  Visit  Petfinder.com
 to find a shelter dog in your area.  Human beings need to be reminded what  love really is and..... all dogs are love.

For information about the importance of adopting shelter dogs and controlling the US pet population, please click here: