That you didn't know was lost.
“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure .”
Today I am taking a departure from spiritual how-to’s to share a simple story about a dog. A story that illustrates that how is not really any of our business.
This is my story of a great four-legged creature named Buster, who depending on whom you ask, stormed, wandered, or, my favorite, miraculously popped into our lives on May 4, 2015.
4-Month Old Puppy
Call Laura to be reunited
“Until One Has Loved An Animal, A Part Of One’s Soul Remains Unawakened.”
A Little About Buster
Buster was a shy, loyal and bewildering little guy and, by all outward appearances, he was indeed a dog. He had brown eyes of rich dark coffee, which seemed to peer deep into my soul. His sienna red coat was soft and so short it felt like skin. He had big velvety ears, which pointed in opposite directions, one ear pointing toward the sky like a radar dish, the other flopped toward earth. Buster was nothing I knew I needed and all that I could comprehend needing in a bundle of 10lbs of protector energy.
On A Side Note
Buster was one of those small, feigningly timid dogs that, before his arrival, I did not appreciate all that much. I am not sure where this lack of tolerance for little dogs came from, but it was soon, along with many other ideas and beliefs, to be blown out of the water and my life by this little giant that was so much more than his physical dog self. I am now a strong proponent of the “little” dog craze!!
Buster happened upon our lives one warm May evening as I made my daily pilgrimage to a hot and sweaty yoga practice. I was traveling down a busy four-lane road at the onset of the business district in the town I grew up in. I had driven by this patch of 3-story buildings divided by driveways and fronted with well-manicured landscapes thousands of times in my life, but this is one time I will always remember and cherish.
As I traveled north toward the busy intersection that would allow me access to the freeway, I noticed the burnt-yellow flowers on the end of tall grass-like stems. As I remember the blooms were particularly vibrant on this day, reaching out of a concrete box directly adjacent to a driveway, just a few feet from the busy road.
Luckily (grace) had placed a red light ahead and I slowed enough to witness the little nose that I would soon fall in love with, reaching up to gain a whiff of one particularly vivacious blossom.
What I saw next was a tiny sienna red body attached to that cute crinkly brown nose. This pup I spied on did not seem affiliated with nor cared for by anyone or anything that could keep him out of the path of racing 5:00 traffic.
If you know me, you know I find animals pretty regularly and am not unaccustomed to derailing what I am doing to support a creature’s safe travel home.
So, without hesitation, I pulled into the driveway and stopped my car in a way to block any cars that may harm this little guy. I walked around the rear of my charcoal sedan and approached. At first, he did not seem to notice me, as he was enamored with the flowers, but when he did feel my presence, like most unknown to me dogs I have encountered, he proved himself to be a proficient runner. He bolted away from me and the busy road, thank goodness, and past the front of my parked car like he knew where he was going. He continued toward what must have been his most recent home, an expansive field of overgrown California Ivy that played as a border between the gas station to the north of us and a chain-link fence that guarded the very busy onramp to the freeway.
I sensed he knew that this ivy was a great cover for his tiny frame. What he did not know was that although I could no longer see his body, I could see a little sienna-colored pointy tail bobbing along the chain-link fence. At this point, I quickly stopped pursuit not wanting to be responsible for scaring the little guy into the oncoming traffic that lay just beyond the edge of the fence.
I went back to my car and drove to the next driveway, which was a corner gas station. I parked directly above where I had seen him last. As I peered across the landscape, he was nowhere to be seen. My feet clad in only flip-flops, I proceeded down the slick ivy-covered embankment, hoping not to encounter any rats or snakes. As on cue, my movement initiated his next escape attempt. His strategy precipitated his movement in the opposite direction, at which point I was given a delightful glimpse of that tiny tail bebopping through the large leaves. He was headed back from where we had come … hmm, I thought we could play this game for hours. I stopped the pursuit, and he stopped running.
A tad discouraged, I climbed back up the hill and elicited the help of the lone gas station employee, also I wondered if maybe this elusive being belonged to the service station as a tiny errant mascot of some sort. A bewildered young man promptly set me straight, letting me know they did not have an 8lb red floppy-eared pup as a service station companion.
Although the attendant’s demeanor and attitude told me this was not his problem, he was kind enough to assist me in attempting to corral the little runner. Let’s just say I am not adverse to support from a well-meaning lad that is humoring my need to rescue things (more on that later), and I was very appreciative of the help.
With the presence of Carlos standing at the top of the hill, safely on the asphalt and arms crossed, and me below, the strategy worked and was enough to deter the pups fleeing nature. The little guy stopped, plopped down, and I assume prayed with his mind, body, and soul, that I would 1. Not seeing him, and 2. Not hurt him.
As I approached and reached my hands into the overgrown bushes, I was the one praying now, 1. That my desired object would not bolt again, and 2. That all I knew about little dogs biting would not be true in this case.
Alas, I was able to scoop his little sweaty body up. I placed him on my chest; he intuitively wrapped his long wiry dachshund-like neck around mine and was still. Little did I know that this precious soul would “drop” and wait for me to scoop him up just like this 1000’s of times to come.
I immediately put him in the car and took my find over the freeway to the closest veterinarian's office, which was teeming with activity. As we entered, Buster once again was wrapped around me like a child, afraid of being extracted, clinging to their mother. Upon seeing us, the other clients and staff alike commented on “my cute dog.” I quickly corrected each of them, “oh — um, this is not my dog!!” with that proclamation hanging in the air, they each individually gave me a look that indicated I was somehow the only person in the room not in on some sort of grand secret.
Even amongst the busyness, the vet tech quickly and graciously escorted Buster and me into an empty room (everyone loves a good animal lost and found story). She pulled out the scanner, waved it across his little frame numerous times, announced “no chip,” and then, with a quick visual of his teeth and genitalia, proclaimed “about 4 months old and has been neutered.” I took solace in that last fact; no one would neuter a dog and then dump him; he must have a family, I thought to myself.
Long story longer, after weeks of shenanigans searching for this pup’s family and a bedtime belly rub discovery of a latently dropped testicle. I, too, was let in on the secret of that very first day. Buster was indeed our dog.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”
In the short 5 years he was with us, we would often look at Buster, bewildered with how he came to be in our lives. I love the mystery and its pure intention of it. He was to be in our lives and the “how” was really none of our business. A simple car ride to yoga and voila, Buster appeared. (note if you are seeking your next companion of a four-legged variety, and they do not appear on the street as Buster did for us. He and I encourage you to “adopt, not shop” for your next miracle)
I have many Buster stories and many Busterisms that are all a big part of my spiritual journey and that I will periodically share in my stories and articles. I came to know my “Busamaus” as a great spiritual teacher and an undeniable part of my soul.
So that you know, the escapades with him continue even without his physical form present. He may have already (too soon, in my human opinion) taken his place on the other side of what I know as the here and now of my reality; this is true. But he is always a part of my here and now in a deeper understanding of the unknown and my life within it.
I know that many of you share my belief that our interaction with the animal world supports and deepens our spiritual growth and understanding in a way that is not available to us otherwise, and I hope you enjoyed the Buster tale. I would love to hear your stories about the mystery of “HOW” in your life, so drop me a comment if you feel inclined to share.