Pets: Sometimes our Biggest Teachers

Years ago I considered myself a loyal cat person. Salem, my precious black cat was the only animal I wanted. But then one day, after timing and circumstance aligned, I found a boxer puppy in an online ad. Since my husband’s work slowed enough that he’d have more time at home and we’d just fenced our entire acre, we decided to make a call to the breeder and make arrangements the following day to see the adorable little girl I found online.

As a cat lover who rarely even pet dogs I encountered, I didn’t get much sleep that night, wondering why I went from being unable to interact with dogs to wanting to own one.

Had I just lost my mind?

The next morning I was still full of questions (and my husband was full of frustration with me), so – like any dedicated psychic – I pulled out my Tarot cards to seek answers. The card I pulled was the Strength card, illustrated with a woman handling a lion, and sometimes referred to as the “Beauty and the Beast” card. Immediately recognizing the addition of this dog (my beast) would bring strength into my life, we hopped into the car and drove to meet our new addition.

It didn’t take long to bond with this new, adorable little girl, and we were driving home to introduce her to the rest of the family soon after.

Between her little whimpers and sweet, intelligent demeanor, I thought we were ready to introduce her to Salem within a few days of getting her home. Unfortunately for us, Salem was not too pleased with our introduction and – in one swat – slashed the puppy’s eye with her claw, tearing the cornea.

My maternal instinct took over and I swooped up our new addition and headed to the vet’s office. There, we were told to get our girl to the specialist as soon as possible to see if we could save her eye, so we ran back to the car (with our wounded baby bundled up) and drove an hour away to get specialized treatment.  

During the drive I questioned why this would have happened and how had it taught me anything about strength. I cried, feeling helpless and guilty. How was this teaching me anything except showing me my own irresponsibility?

The specialist gave us a strict regimen of prescriptions: eye drops, ointments, and oral antibiotics. Plus, my girl had to suffer through wearing the silly  “cone of shame.”

One month later, her eye turned opaque and the vet and specialist weren’t hopeful.

Again, I allowed my psychic dedication to take over, and my family and I created healing pillows, performed healing rituals and prayed, but every time I looked at her doubt would devastate me. What is the lesson in this experience? This, coupled with the fact that I continued pulling the Strength card every time I went to my deck.

Even though all of the medical costs and vet trips were breaking me financially… e were into the thousands (I emphasis the “s” in thousands). , I started to feel the resiliency of handling this situation the best way I knew how, and that gave me glimpses of the strength I was building.

Then, one day, I decided to try something different and attend a séance at a Spiritualist church.  I’d found out about this event on a flyer being passed around, and I decided I’d drive the town over to attend. In preparation, I prayed that I would finally know if my dog’s eye would be restored. I took my seat at the church without talking to anyone about why I was there and began recording the event on my personal digital recorder. The séance was almost over after two hours, just as I was surrendering to the fact I didn’t receive any specific divine message, the medium shot a look in my direction and stated – as clear as can be – “Your dog, your dog is going to be okay.”

I listened to that blurb repeatedly on my way home and knew the message I received was the answer to my question. That night I slept well, confident that all would work out on its own time.

Imagine my surprise when, the next morning, I woke up to find my dog’s eye was no longer foggy at all. Her bright brown eyes – both of them – stared back at me as if nothing had ever happened!

While her recovery shocked everyone, including me and the vet, our trying first month together bonded me with this girl in ways I hadn’t anticipated. The journey also gave me a new, different understanding of what it means to have strength through challenging situations, and proved how rewarding life can be if you stay the course. Now I greet lots of other dogs and unashamedly keep a stash of treats in my glove box. My girl? She sometimes gets spa days.

There were so many lessons about love, trust and faith inside of this story, and my dog gave me the opportunity to grow because of this injury. Sometimes our pets are not only companions, but also the best teachers.

What has your pet taught you?

Faithfully,

Marin Graves

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