There is a counter in our garage, just to the left as you walk in. It is cluttered with tools, piles of stuff I haven’t organized (yet), books, boxes, bundles of paper bags, coils of hose, left over cans of spray lubricant and hardware from practically completed projects, and there, among it all, a frayed green dog collar.
The collar is an object that I’m not sure where to store. I don’t have a place for it in the back of the garage with the suitcases and garden tools. There isn’t a storage place for it in our basement. It doesn’t belong in a closet, or in a box on a shelf. Every time I walk into the garage, I see it.
Sometimes I pick it up, and turn it over. I feel its texture and weight. I examine where it is torn from poodle teeth of long ago. I notice how it has faded over time. I hold it in my hands and feel the presence of the one who wore it around his neck. I bring it to my nose, inhale, and feel my heart swell.
He’s been gone for many years yet the scent of our first boxer, Oskar, is still on it. He is still here. With me, in my hands, mind, and spirit.
We’ve raised other dogs: Jacques-a-Poodle-Doo, Lola Ginabrigida, now Camille. I loved them all and Oskar etched his mark on my heart. He was our first PetMassage™ Canine Teaching Assistant.
Energy is never lost, we’ve learned; it just changes form. I wonder what his spirit is up to now. What kinds of lessons is he processing in whatever life-form he’s inhabiting? What if he’s reaching out to me? There must be a reason for me to be thinking about him and feeling his presence. Maybe I can support him. From here, where I am; and now, while I’m thinking about him.
He was … complex. His path exposed a lot of complicated karmic activity. Strong, proud, yet only occasionally did he raise his docked tail from low between his buttocks to horizontal. That was the reason he was dismissed from being a show dog.
Spiritual connections to and from beyond
I hold his frayed green collar in my hands and visualize his body as I remember it. He was a handsome boy. I scan the contours of what I recall of his body with my imagination, open and noticing anything that might be a hint from his spirit body, his eternal aura.
I’d love to be able to share with you that I had a miraculous experience. The truth is, I noticed my own breath, my heartbeat, my shoes on the concrete driveway, and felt only my own grief. And that’s okay. As I continue to honor him, I remember to acknowledge the life-force in my own body. And that’s okay. That’s really very good.
So there he is: Oskar the Gold Medal show boxer. From wherever and whatever he is, he’s still helping me discover myself.
The collar stays on the counter. That’s where it belongs.