Trying to Make Sense of Lola’s Transition

Yin – yang dynamics

We talk about yin and yang a lot. The yin – yang dynamic is a description of disease and health, death and life, and how one cannot exist without the other. There is no up without a corresponding down, dry without moist, heat without cold, sweet without bitter, strong without weak. Each defines and completes the other. Each is supposed to somehow balance the other.

What if you find yourself mired in the life and times of overly yin, or overly yang? What if the dog you are PetMassaging is stuck in her imbalance?

Empathy, creativity, and intuition

There are three resource talents that everyone who practices PetMassageTM is continuously working on developing. These are empathy, creativity, and intuition. It’s imperative to be aware of these and access them when working with dogs. We develop these three talents practicing awareness while practicing our skills. Empathy: we need to be able to feel what the dog is experiencing, so that we can support them in their journey. Creativity: we need to stay open to alternative sequences and methods to encourage the dog toward where she needs to go. Intuition: we need to stay in touch – listen and heed — our inner voice, inner guidance’s, inner connections to the Akasha.

Awareness of what we are intuitively experiencing is difficult, especially when you are just beginning to learn. It is much easier to understand how you got somewhere after you’ve arrived and can look back. The journey, while you are on it, can be confusing and murky. I recently had an experience in which I could see that I was processing my triplet of talents only through examining how I had gotten to this point.

For the last week, I’ve been thinking about these three talents: empathy, creativity, and intuition. I’ve been looking at each of them and combinations of them from different perspectives. Like picking up a chunck of quartz crystal, examining it, rolling it around in my fingers, tracing its facets, looking for patterns of internal fractures, and seeking the perfect triangle that might be the psychic portal to somewhere amazing.

Unfinished symphony

The almost complete final edit of a book dedicated to our senior boxer Lola is on my desktop. It is a rewrite of the Kindle book, “How to Massage My Older Dog.” I reread the book and discovered that it could be so much better, so I’m making it better. It’s been there on my desktop, staring at me, beckoning to me. It pulses, “I’m ready when you are. Let’s get finished.” But I have not been able to respond. Something is restraining me. I think about my triplet of talents and feel the joy when they are all aligned and functioning. Like the bubbles of ginger ale freshly poured into a glass full of ice. Delightful.

Dark side of the moon

This happy triplet has a dark side, too. Too much yin overpowers my yang. So, what might the opposites be, to empathy, creativity, and intuition? Empathy: indifference, the inability to feel what someone else is feeling; lack of understanding. Creativity: lack of imagination, lack of vision to develop original ideas; lack of inspiration. Intuition: unable to sense the subtle nuances and inner sourced wisdom.

For the last two weeks I have felt tired; drained of energy and motivation. My get up and go was sleeping and it had a headache. The top of our baby grand was just dusted and oiled last week. In the sunlight filtering through the blinds, I see there’s a haze on the surface. Opacity, where there is supposed to be a shiny reflection. Out of thin air, billions of micro particles of dry gray mold have descended to blanket the wide flat mahogany surface. I don’t see the dust on the carpet. It is not obvious on our other furniture; not even the glass coffee table. The piano is the vehicle for my three talents. It has been untouched for two days. It was the obvious symbolic target that I would recognize. Something was going on. Something that I was not aware of was creating dysfunction in my happy little triplet and stalling out my life and work process.

Lola stops to smell the roses

For the last couple of weeks, when we take our daily walks, Lola has been slowing down. More than slowing, she has been stopping. Stopping at what she considers significant trees, bushes, and twigs; places where she smells other dogs business (cards). She stops and absolutely refuses to be persuaded to move forward until she has sniffed and graced the spot with a splash of her own. So many spots. So much time sniffing and circling, reading and squatting. Then, 20 yards further, repeat. After a while, it was humorous. Her expression was so serious. Her squatting and peeing; so deliberate. This was important stuff. I didn’t recognize the significances.

At night, Lola was enthusiastically scratching at the pillows on the sofa she slept on. She’d circle, and scratch, circle and scratch. It was like she was digging a nest. Digging her nest.

It was a beautiful, warm day, for the end of November.

Last Tuesday morning, after a rough and very noisy night of nest building, she bounded down the stairs as she always does. Her little hips bouncing from side to side with each step. She leaped back and forth like a rocking horse in anticipation of her breakfast; and wolfed it down. We were going for a walk! She raced down the steps to the backyard and, with her sister Camille in tow, met Anastasia and me by the gate to clip on their leads.

It was a beautiful, warm day, for the end of November. We are two houses away, and Lola stops. I stop with her. This is her walk. She leans over, sniffs a leaf, looks back at Anastasia and me, and slowly, gracefully, sank to the cement. I straighten her legs so that she is comfortable. She took four gasping gasps and she was gone. I knew she was gone. I could sense her spirit watching the scene; and I attempted to revive her anyway. Camille strained at her leash to move close to her stricken sister. She touched her nose to Lola’s and backed away, satisfied. She knew.

I picked her up in my arms and carried her back to our back yard. I sat with her. Watching. Hoping for a sign that I was mistaken and that she’d wake up and we could resume our walk. She lay there. So still. So quiet. So loved. Her ear, which had been folded back, slowly, elegantly, righted itself and straightened, from back to front, like smoothing out the crease in a piece of paper. Zip. This was her final message. Read into it what you like. I like my interpretation and will run with it.

Return to normalcy

My empathy had been hijacked. It was so functional that I was immersed in feeling how Lola felt. My intuition and creativity had been numbed. I did not want this to happen. She had been saying goodbye to all the dogs in the neighborhood. My inspiration is now released. Now, I can rediscover beauty. I can revel in the memories that we shared. I can cry when I need to, and know that she has given me the gift of having the means for cleansing emotional baggage that had held me back.

Now I can share this with you here. Now I can dust the old ch”i off piano. I can open the keyboard cover and play again. Now I have the ending that completes the book that is, and always has been, dedicated to Miss Lola. Thank you for allowing me to share this transformative event with you.


  1. Mary Kay on December 2, 2016 at 7:24 PM

    Oh my God, Jonathan. So incredibly beautiful. Poetic. Heartfelt. Poignant. What amazing and awesome gifts they give us. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing!

  2. ILARIA D'ALESSIO on December 2, 2016 at 8:13 PM

    I’m reading, crying and smiling at the same time. I really like your interpretation. The music that comes out of this newsletter is celestial. You are a great person, a talented artist and I’m so very grateful that our paths crossed. Thank you!

  3. Kathy on December 3, 2016 at 1:34 AM

    just gratitude…. For your love for each other . Thanks for sharing & strength to you, Anastasia & Camille

  4. Sandi Lewis Kniep on December 3, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    Poignant, I was moved to tears.

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