One of the most important things I’ve ever done is become a pet owner. I rescued Dakota when she was six. That was eight years ago.
You know intellectually that dogs get older and will eventually die. In practice it fucking sucks. Dakota has been struggling and while it seems that she’s not going to die tomorrow, I’ve got to start thinking about those hard decisions pet owners must think about.
When is the right time to put her to sleep? Will I be able to tell? What if it’s too soon? Or worse what if I prolong her suffering.
Surprisingly (or not), my yoga practice has been a great comfort and useful. I’ve been more open than I usually am about my feelings of sadness and grief. I’ve talked about how I feel so bad for my dog losing control of her bladder and frustrated at cleaning up what seems to be an endless amount of pee. But by sharing I’ve had an outpouring of support, love and practical suggestions that have helped make both our lives more comfortable.
My asana practice has been a place that I allow myself to both let it all hang out and nurture my spirit (Special shout out to Angela Rauscher and Kaity Shanks for being my rocks the other day).
Daily sits have been challenging and relaxing depending upon how I slept. Mostly though, I’m in the moment. Dakota may not be able to understand how much her companionship means to me but she will be given so much love (endless treats and cheeseburgers) until it’s time for her to transition. It’s the best I can do and in my heart I know it’s enough.
This post is for the pet owners out there.
I made myself a snowball
As perfect as can be.
I thought I’d keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for it’s head.
Then last night it ran away,
But first – It wet the bed.
– Shel Silverstein
I had to walk my dog in a different direction due to construction. Even though I’ve been walking her for years, she gets a little panicked when we wander too far from home or take a different route. Dakota plants herself on the ground, stops walking or sometimes even tries to turn back. I’m not sure if it’s the past trauma she’s suffered or anxiety. Years ago, it was really bad and we couldn’t go very far- but now I have her sit and pause. Then we resume our walk with some encouragement from yours truly. After a few minutes, the anxiety dissipates and her dog smile appears. She transforms- no longer worried about where’s she’s going but enjoying dog stuff.
The next time I have that anxious feeling about starting again- I’m going to remember the furry creature that lives in my space.
We all start where we start.
I was a fan of the snow as a kid. But now, not so much.
Sure when that first coat of snow covers the trees and sidewalks it’s uber pretty and yada yada, but frankly I could take it or leave it. I don’t have to worry about cleaning my car anymore, maybe one of the small blessings that came from losing my car during Superstorm Sandy.
My dog is different.
She loves the snow. Dakota is afraid of most things but she is not afraid of snow. She prances, trots and runs down the sidewalk pleased as punch. And though her feet get cold and she starts to hop she is giddy. I’ve tried to get those awful dog paw covers and they don’t work. She walks awkwardly and stares at her feet. Who can blame her? She’s a dog in a pair of shoes. I also coat her paws with a salve. That helps but they still get cold.
But every time it snows she manages to forget that her paws get frigid. She lives in the moment. It’s as if every snowfall is the first one. It’s a great attitude.
This is yoga. And Dakota loves it.
Namaste y’all. Stay warm in the snow, but have fun.
I’ve never considered myself a conscious eater. Like a lot of people I had a stereotype of what conscious eaters looked like – crunchy, Birkenstocks and preachy.
Oh Patchouli is involved. Always lots of patchouli.
For health reasons (at least that’s what I’ve told myself) I have eaten a lot less meat. I’m a proponent of the Meatless Monday Movement and think that eating less meat is better for you and the planet. But I avoided the whole ‘it’s wrong to kill animals’ line of thinking.
And truthfully, I’m not sure why. I read Fast Food Nation when it came out. What shocked me was the conditions of slaughterhouses, for animals and employees alike. For several months I couldn’t eat meat. I cringed at the grocery store. The meat section looked like a graveyard. Inevitably, came the period when the shock of what I read wore off and I went back to eating meat.
I remember the day clearly.
The smell of a grilled burger attacked me in the lobby of a hotel in Arizona. I paused for a moment, knowing that I was going to make a choice that didn’t sit with me morally. Weakness prevailed and the burger was eaten. It’s been this way the few times that I’ve decided to stop eating meat.
I wrote post about my fears of taking the full vegetarian plunge. Clearly, it must be something that I want to do because it’s on my mind quite a bit. And don’t get me wrong, this is simply my story. I’m not here to preach about not eating animals.
And then I ask myself, why not? I don’t know the answer and it really bothers me. I’m passionate about my politics when it comes to people. Shit, I’m proud of my politics. Why doesn’t that passion for humanity extend to animals? I mean if someone tried to hurt my dog, I’d… Well, let’s just say I’d react badly.
So why am I hedging with this? Because I know I am. This wishy washy stance makes me feel icky. It makes me feel that my politics are self-involved. This in turn makes me feel shitty. It’s important to speak for people who can’t speak for themselves, right?
I watched Vegucated. Here’s the premise this documentary:
- A filmmaker finds three regular New Yorkers of various ages and backgrounds
- For three weeks she challenges them to lead a vegan lifestyle
- After the three weeks they talk about how they feel
- All three people decided to stay vegetarians. One remained vegan, the other two remained mostly vegan
I loved it!!! Vegucated was fun, honest, informative and didn’t hit you over the head with the message that you are evil if you eat meat. But it did pose some hard questions that I can’t shake.
- If I know that it’s bad for the planet to eat meat, why am I?
- If I know that there are affordable ways to live a vegan lifestyle, why haven’t I done the research to give it a shot?
- If I know the conditions of slaughterhouses, why am I continuing to buy industrial farmed meat?
- If I know that the labels ‘organic’ and ‘cage-free’ don’t equal humane, why do I still eat eggs?
So I’m not going to for three weeks. But I’m going to do homework, read and make an effort to add to my diet instead of thinking of it as an exercise in subtraction. Why am I not committing to a vegan lifestyle whole hog? Fear of failure, maybe? Maybe I’m just chicken.
I know that I have to leap over the fence. If I believe that everything is everything, there really isn’t another choice.