“You don’t need a dog. It just doesn’t make sense to get a dog right now.”
This is a serious conversation from the dinner table at my house this weekend
“If you get a dog, I am not going to take care of it for you. You have to walk it. You have to feed it and you have to clean up after it.”
“And when you go out of town, we are not going to take care of it for you.”
Feeling like a child I ignored my parental children with their logical minds, and went to the computer to look at dogs available for adoption.
The only one on my side was my oldest daughter, Lolo’s, boyfriend. “I think you should get a dog.”
“Will you take care of it for me when I am out of town, Patrick?” I asked in my sweetest voice.
“Of course, Cat, I’ll take care of your dog for you.”
“Don’t encourage her. She’ll do it. She gets an idea in her head and she just goes ahead and does it. You don’t know her like I do…” Lolo warned her boyfriend.
Patrick and I looked at each other and smiled. He’s a good guy. I like this one.
So I proceeded to look for my next dog. There was a force driving me to do it. I had an image in my mind. I could see my dog, a Siberian Husky, lying by my side.
For the first time in 22 years I am pet-less. Lolo’s cat, Bonnie, passed a few weeks ago.
The last few years my guides and Bonnie have been coaching me to keep my heart open. I have been trying, but sometimes it is hard to do.
Throughout the day I look for ways to give love, rather than trying to get love. As I focus on giving love, rather than trying to be loved, I find myself ‘in love’ most of the time. It’s an amazing thing to me, to get out of my own head and into my heart. Feels great, so why don’t we stay there all the time?
Well I guess I’m not perfect, and no one is. Sometimes I get afraid. Sometimes I feel hurt and I close my heart up real fast. When my heart is closed, love disappears. I look around and start blaming others. I think I am not feeling love because of someone else.
But it’s all inside me, and it’s up to me to keep my heart open. When the heart is open we can feel the love that is all around and available all the time.
Just before Bonnie passed she told me one more time, “Don’t give up…keep your heart open…”
Bonnie died from a tumor that grew around her heart.
And so I will always remember her message: Keep your heart open. Don’t allow your fears to create something dark and tragic to grow around your own heart. Don’t give up on…love.
And so this weekend I decided our pet-less home was just not right. I felt that somewhere in the Kansas City area a Husky was crying out to me. Somewhere at a local pound a beautiful dog needed my love.
“I found him!” I read the description of a beautiful Siberian Husky out loud.
“I love Huskies!” Patrick said with a lit up smile.
Lolo groaned. “She’s going to do this and you’re going to have to walk it when she’s away.”
Patrick and I ignored her.
So today Amber, Grace and I drove the 45 minutes to the shelter with the Husky. The lady at the front desk told me the one on the internet, named Brutus, was already adopted. Then the lady quickly added that his brother was still available. The one still available was named Dakota.
The name was right. Dakota. I knew this was my dog.
A man named Kenny took us to the cement enclosure, and let Dakota out of his pen. Dakota came to me and licked my face. He rolled over on his back with his tummy exposed.
He was sweet, kind, affectionate and gorgeous.
Love flowed…and then thoughts of wanting him to be truly happy followed.
“Maybe he wouldn’t be happy in a small apartment. He needs to run, and I won’t be able to get him out to places to run very often…” My thoughts were coming from love, and maybe a bit of logic was seeping in, too.
I loved him and I wanted him to be happy. I realized I didn’t need to take him home with me, but I also knew I couldn’t leave him at the pound.
Kenny was a kind, compassionate animal lover who was trying to convince me that Dakota would be happy in my apartment. Kenny made it clear Dakota needed a home, and he saw the love I had for him, so understandably he didn’t want me to leave without the dog.
I believed something even better was possible. As I knelt beside Dakota, accepting licks on my face I prayed. “Help me find this dog the best home possible.” I whispered my longing to Spirit and into Dakota’s ear.
I watched Amber and Grace with Dakota. He was responding to their touches, enjoying their attention and giving so much in return. Dakota visited the cat cages and also seemed to get along with all the cats in the room. He was kind and gentle with everyone.
Kenny went to the back and brought Brutus out for me to see how Dakota responded to other dogs. Kenny was still doing his best to sell Dakota to me.
I wanted to take this beautiful, loving dog home with us, but something was making me pause.
When the two brothers came together, it was absolutely beautiful. They moved together as if in a wild dance. They tousled and playfully nipped at each other. Dakota’s brother was clearly in charge, and Dakota followed him and responded to all his moves. They belonged together, both of them, in a place they could run and play.
Kenny told me the man who adopted Brutus had ten acres and loved Huskies. I asked Kenny why the man didn’t adopt both dogs. Kenny said he didn’t know, and that he had tried to get him to take both.
And in that moment I knew why Spirit moved me to find the Husky. I knew why I had to come see him. And I knew what I wanted to happen for everyone.
When I told Kenny what I was thinking, he rushed me to the office and we called the man who adopted Brutus. Yes, he would love to take both dogs, he just couldn’t afford the adoption fees for two. And yes, he was thrilled with what I offered to do.
So I paid the adoption fee for Dakota. And he will be going home to the ten acres with his brother. The two brothers will be together, romping and playing, enjoying healthy, happy lives, together.
And my daughter’s won’t have to take care of a dog when I’m gone this winter.
Then again, Patrick and I may be out looking at the other pounds…you never know.
Because I am remembering Bonnie I am not giving up on love. I am going to keep my heart open.
Love is amazing. I feel good because I loved a Husky today. Not just one Husky, but actually two brothers, two beautiful, amazing Siberian Huskies. And I am so happy they will be enjoying long, healthy lives together.
Keep your heart open. Even when it hurts. Keep loving and doing the right thing. Don’t think about what you are or aren’t getting. Think about what you can give.
It’s an amazing feeling, being in love. I am willing to love, I am willing to give love, and I am willing to receive love.
Stay open. The power of Love can do amazing things.
Kenny gave me a great big bear hug after I paid the adoption fee for Dakota. With tears in his eyes he thanked me. I put my hand to my heart, and with no words to say, the girls and I got in our car and headed home.