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    Twin Souls in Fur Coats
© Susan A. Dallmann R.N., R.M.T., C.H.

    This has all the earmarks of a shaggy dog story, and so it is. It speaks of love, trust & learning; of two souls who came to earth with a mission slightly ahead of its time, long before "new age consciousness" became the buzz word.
      When my son was a little boy, much like many other little boys, he longed for a dog; so much so that he even drew his ideal companion whose picture graced the refrigerator for many weeks garnering the admiration of all who viewed the masterpiece. He had a talent for drawing, even at a very young age. This nameless dog was the gentlest of creatures: big sad eyes, floppy ears, all the attributes that evoke an "aaaawwww" from even the most hardened of hearts.
     Unfortunately, we were unable to get a dog at that time; he was too young to take care of one, apartment living being too confining etc. My son patiently accepted all my reasons and clung to my promise "as soon as we move into a larger place..." The issue was now dormant.
     Dormancy is a limited concept, thus after a few years, our economic situation improved; we moved into a much larger place, and I was held to my promise. We acquired the dog of his dreams; an exuberant mutt puppy with the same long floppy ears and sad eyes that belonged to the one in the picture that had been lovingly placed in a special place for safe keeping (even unto this day 21 years later).
       "Spanky" entered our hearts with lightening speed, assuring his place literally forever, giving unconditional love to all with whom he came in contact. Even those visitors who professed not to like dogs came under his gentle spell, leaving our home with a very different point of view about dogs.
      The first time we took him out for a walk off leash, he scurried behind a wire fence; it resembled the kind in a dog kennel. He felt safe and secure, I'd imagine. It was familiar. My son called to him, urging him to come. Cautiously, slowly, tentatively he ventured forth then giving a joyful leap, deposited himself in my son's open arms, bathing his face in slobbery puppy kisses. We all learned about trust...and...puppy love.
       When our beloved friend contracted parvo virus at approximately 4 1/2 months of age, things were looking rather grim." There's only about a 50% survival rate", the vet said as gently as he could to a 9 year old. "Your pup is pretty sick". He took me aside  and explained that he didn't think Spanky would make it; he was bleeding internally, dehydrated. I was numb; "do everything you can, please", I said. 
       Completely disheartened, we returned home and absentmindedly, I began  to prepare dinner; Jason had another agenda. He was entirely too quiet; a sign every mother knows can be highly dangerous! I called out, but no answer. Oh God, I thought, what else could possibly happen, and then I found him lighting candles and asking the gods to save his adored friend. 
     Spanky recovered without any residual and I collected him form the animal hospital two days later, slightly wobbly but still spirited and overjoyed to see the kids when I took him to school to pick up my children. Every one of my son’s friends ran up to him to let him know that they were just as happy to see him.  I learned about the power of prayer in a whole new way.
 Through the years there were many happy moments with Spanky; because of Spanky. 
Children grow up and leave home, Spanky and I reaffirmed our  inseparable friendship after my son enrolled in military service. Weekends after boot camp  graduation found a few young military men camped on the living room floor since I lived so close to the base. Spanky acquired another set of friends to run and play with; he slobbered them with an endless supply of puppy kisses as well, perhaps reminding them of a beloved dog friend back home. Perhaps giving them the puppy love they had always wished for as a child, but never received. 
      Even boot camp comes to an end & my son was stationed in another state.
       My life changed as well, and I began to date a man with a Chocolate lab, Hershey. We arrived at the date that Spanky and Hershey would meet with some trepidation, since male dogs have been known to get into some horrible fights, and we feared the worse since each was accustomed to being "top dog" in our respective lives. 
      They bonded instantaneously! Spanky & Hershey did everything together: ate from the same dish, drank from the same bowl together; even begged for treats together, tails wagging in perfect sync. Twin Souls. They taught us the meaning of true friendship.
      Years passed and Spanky, much older now, became severely ill and one day developed extreme trouble breathing. My friend paged me emergently and I met them at the veterinary clinic. When I walked into the treatment room, Spanky was attached to a heart monitor and oxygen, clinging desperately to what remained of his life. 
     When he heard my voice, his tail began to wag happily and he lifted his head and looked at me with those big sad puppy-dog eyes, always sparkling, and always full of love. Metastatic cancer in his lungs; I held him in my arms as he was chemically assisted into his transition. I learned how in only a moment, a heart can feel so empty. .
      When I arrived home, there was a second pair of puppy dog eyes to confront. Silently, Hershey knew his friend was gone and he mourned deeply. For days, he ate barely  enough  to sustain himself and resisted any type of distraction. Even a ride in the car gave him no pleasure; he did it only to please me. It was obvious. We shared our pain; we consoled and supported each other. I learned about the difference between human and animal love. There is none!
      Hershey needed a friend, someone like himself. A four month old Dalmatian pup entered our lives. Rascal has a story of his own, but for now, suffice it to say, his presence gave Hershey the impetus to move on with his life, and mine too.
      Hershey’s health began to fail in his middle years, but his spirit was enormous and I am more than convinced that he was determined to complete his mission here on this earth as he saw it, unimpeded by the imperfections of the flesh . His will and determination  inspired me to seek alternative therapies when other methods served him not. 
      Reiki entered our lives, as well as other healing arts, and he became attuned to levels I & II before I did. He was my always-beloved teacher.  Subsequently, I climbed the Reiki ladder to the topmost rung, and attuned him to level III. He was my first "attunee"; an honor.  I shared Reiki with him often, and he repaid me with his loving presence and his healing. Reiki opened many doors for both of us to heal on multiple levels, and to learn. 
     One day Hershey had a life threatening emergency: vocal cord paralysis. He was on a ventilator; emergency surgery was performed. I called upon all my students and Reiki friends asking them to send healing energy to him. Hershey recovered in record time. I learned once again about the power of distance healing.
      Eventually we learned that healing does not always mean a cure. Hershey was quite old now, as large dogs go, and his health again failed; this time less and less responsive to energy work (or anything else). We had long "talks" he & I, about holding on to life for oneself or for others; about being okay with needing  help to make the transition, about the deep love we had shared throughout the years, and letting go. Sometimes that hurts; mostly that hurts
      The final days were few, and one night Spanky entered my dreams, preparing me for the inevitable. Two days later, Hershey spent the night restless, laboring to breathe. Reiki comforted him, but only briefly, and again we talked, soul to soul, and the decision was finalized. He was ready. 
Metastatic cancer in the lungs, just like Spanky.
      I held him in my arms for the last time and the injection was given; the vet said "he’s gone", and left the room. We were alone. 
     He wasn’t gone. His body was tight, heavy, bogged down; I felt the confusion that the soul sometimes experiences at the last moment, even when that last moment was anticipated, prepared for.
 "Go to the light, Hershey" I whispered softly into his big floppy ear, "go to the light."
     A brilliantly lighted path opened, and Spanky appeared, eyes bright and sparkling, tail wagging, ready to play. He gave a playful bow. Hershey’s spirit darted forward and together they entered the light, twin souls, their bond transcending time and dimensions. 
     His body felt lighter; he was gone.

      I bless them, my beloved friends, and the time we had together, loving, learning, healing and teaching ...each other. 

This article is dedicated with love and gratitude to all those wonderful people who directly helped my two special  friends, and to all those who honor the animals in their healing work.


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