Once I got the hang of meditating and Gigi developed a routine, the first thing she noticed was how much calmer I was on leash. You see, while I almost always was good with other dogs when I was off-leash, I often was “unpredictably” reactive while on-leash. It wasn’t until well over two years after we started meditating together that I could walk on-leash without being reactive – well, except for when men approached Gigi from behind in the dark while we were walking.
Throughout my life with Gigi, especially after we started meditating together, people who met me would often say, “Scrappy is quite an interesting dog,” or “Scrappy is quite a character.” Some didn’t really get me but knew I was different than many dogs they’d met. Others knew even before Gigi that this meditation thing had reawakened knowledge in me and helped me to improve my ability to communicate with humans, and would eventually help her to open her abilities to communicate with other animals. The first person to acknowledge “hearing” me was Gigi’s friend, Robin, who met me when she came for dinner in September 2012 (I know, auspicious year…no coincidences, right?). I lost count of the number of times that evening that Robin told Gigi, “he’s quite an interesting dog.” It was several weeks or maybe even months, before Robin would tell Gigi the details of her experience that night. Robin told Gigi that just as she said it was time for her to go home she’d heard me say, “You can’t go home until you figure out how to help Gigi heal.” Robin, a naturopath and energy healer, ended up treating Gigi for nearly two years and they often spoke about that evening.
It took Gigi and I a little longer to successfully communicate in a number of ways, but I'll leave the details of that story for another time. Let's get back to talking about my experiences with meditation.
As I alluded to earlier, this meditative practice – this joint meditation thing – was helpful to both of us in two difficult times in our last 18 months together. In December 2015, after having moved across the county unexpectedly to California and struggling to find a way to support us, Gigi was forced to make the hard decision to take me to a new family. She followed her guidance and trusted that this new family would love me. At first, I missed the connection with Spirit that I had gotten used to living with her and I missed my human soul companion. I tried to runaway but got taken back to the new family who let me live inside at first, but their family was falling apart and eventually I was forced to live mostly outside with little human contact. The bond Gigi and I strengthened through meditation allowed us to communicate during this period of separation. During this difficult 8 months, I spent a lot of time alone and I learned how to travel at night to be with her. We spent time together in dream time and she could feel me present, lying next to her at times when she was awake but I was sleeping. Then about two months before I came back to her, she awoke one morning having heard the message I gave her, and said, “Scrappy, I’m going to get you back. A couple of weeks later, I used our connection to inspire her to draw me while doing her spirit art portrait practice. This led her to reach out to my “new” family to see how I was and to find out that they had listed me for adoption. Miraculously, just days later, her cousin invited her to come to San Jose to share a home and look for a job there. This home had a big yard. Joyce’s dogs were moving north with her husband, so she welcomed the idea of another dog being present. Gigi would come to me through meditation and tell me to hang on, we’d be together soon.
In August 2015, one night I came to the back door of the house because the woman who fed me had arrived home from work. I was surprised to find Gigi there. I was cautious but went with her to the front seat of the van in which I’d once ridden so many miles. I didn’t look back at the people who had housed me for those months, and I didn’t really respond much at all until we crossed the mountains. That night I was physically able to join Gigi in bed as she meditated and we slept. A few days later, we moved to what we thought would be our new home – her cousin’s house. There things were hectic including two dogs that I wanted to play with but couldn’t because they were too aggressive. It was here that Gigi and I restarted daily meditation practice. Gigi would get me to sit by her to meditate. Sometimes, she’d remind me to take deep relaxing breaths that she called yoga breaths. Then I’d settle in against her as the two of us withdrew to our inner peace spaces. More than a couple of times she actually came out of meditative state quicker than I and would watch me amazed that I had completely tuned out my barking “cousins.”
It was a difficult night for both of us. Just before sunrise, barely able to stand or walk any longer, I woke Gigi and told her I needed to go out. I managed to actually walk across the front yard and lie down in the grass. I looked up at the sky to show her that sunrise was starting – the rain had stopped. She picked me up and took me to the backyard. She held me in her arms, alternating between thanking me for sharing her life and reminding me the lessons we learned about the infinite connection of our spirits, as we watched sunrise. She had to take me inside after sunrise, where she put me on the couch while she showered and prepared for the day. After her friend/mentor called in support and to say a prayer for both of us, I managed to send the message to her that it was time to go outside and lie in the grass.
She brought herself to that place of “being present” like we’d learned through meditation. She heard and honored my request to lie directly in the grass, not on the blanket she’d brought out, and about an hour or so later, she understood my request to be picked up into her arms. She picked me up in our favorite position – me wrapped over her heart chakra, my head resting on her shoulder. My body spasmed in pain and then I heard her words, “We’re going to do yoga breaths now. Remember buddy? In … two … three … four. Hold and Out.” And then she said, “Good, my valiant warrior. One last time now, and this time all the way out.” We breathed in together and with her long, deep exhale, I left my physical body and crossed into the peace of the Spirit World. She wasn’t fully aware, but I nudged her awareness and helped her to notice that I was gone.
I’m not saying that all humans and their animal companions can share the special connection that Gigi and I shared. But I am saying that to believe that it is not possible to meditate with your animal companion present limits the possibilities for deepening the human – animal companion connection. It puts limits on the infinite possibilities for spiritual growth – both yours and your animal companion’s. So I encourage all of you to try it.
Try the quiet sitting kind of meditation that Gigi and I practiced, and be patient because there are two souls learning to sit in the quiet mind state. If that doesn’t work, don’t forget that not all humans can successfully meditate in that manner. Some need physical activity like yoga or tai chi or even focused walks in nature. If you’re one of those people, bring your animal companion with you and invite them to join in that energy. Be open to the possibilities. In finding your center and ability to communicate with your soul, you may also find that your animal friend becomes more centered and that the two of you learn new ways to communicate as well.
May each of you and your animal friends rediscover the inner peace and vast love connection that binds our souls as one. Namaste.