I have always been a devout fan of the “cute” animal stories that continuously surface across the web. They manage to find their way into my in-box; safely nestled between offers of Nigerian riches from a long-lost distant relative and suggestions to improve my sex life by ingesting the latest Eastern European pharmaceuticals! The animal stories that always strike a chord in my heart have to do with those poor lost dogs that, against all odds, manage to find their owners anew.
There was a recent news article that referenced a canine owner who moved out-of-state to accept a new job. He had to settle for an apartment that did not accept pets; so he left his dog with family members some thousand miles away. The canine prisoner managed to dig his way out of his caretaker’s back yard, spent some three months in the wild as a stray, and showed up at his master’s new porch step! Forget that the dog did not have the benefit of a forwarding address; instead sit back in amazement as you ponder how this animal located his master! There was no lingering scent to follow, there was no indication of even which direction to head off in; all that the four-legged adventurer had going for him was faith and loyalty!
Even more recently, I read an incredible doggie article through tear-stained eyes. A dog’s master passed away unexpectedly. Family members took the newly orphaned mongrel into their home. The dog managed to run away and locate his master’s grave in the nearby cemetery. For the past six years, the devoted canine has been keeping vigil over his owner’s final resting place. How does a reasonable person even begin to make sense of this phenomenon? What else short of loyalty, faith, and devotion could ever begin to explain this seeming miracle?
These two particular pet sagas have been churning through my mind for the past week or so. I have tried in vain to make sense of what transpired in each of the inspirational stories. How could these animals have known where their respective owner’s had ended up? What drove their four paws in the correct direction? Was there some kind of epiphany that let them know they had arrived at the destination successfully? No matter how intently I wrestled with the question, there was no reasonable answer to be found!
Then it struck me! Reason would never yield the answers I was seeking so futilely. Once you abandon the logical aspects of your thinking; you are left with the beauty of a newfound world call spirituality. Events and situations no longer need to make sense. To the contrary, they simply need to be accepted and appreciated. The “why” behind something loses all significance when you are satisfied in the fact that it simply happened. Some would call it ignorance, but I prefer to label it “bliss.”
These two particular dogs did not pause to ask themselves if what they were doing was possible or if it even made sense. I am not even certain that they have the mental capacity to ponder such a question. These enlightened canines simply followed their instincts and set aside the realm of possibility. Whether the call came from deep within themselves or from some form of divine direction; they simply trusted their feelings and moved forward with their improbable mission.
How often are we, as advanced forms of life, called onto the instinctual carpet? Do we hear that little voice whispering from deep within our very being? Do we listen for that subtle cue that is gifted to us from the world of the divine? Are we so busy existing within our comfortable world of reason to be bothered by that which can only be described as “other worldly?” Do we cease to truly live; instead enjoying the numbing effect imposed upon us by the real world?
I admire the two canine heroes that I have come to know through online news snippets. I am convinced that their stories are but two out of hundreds that have gone unreported by the media. Without a doubt, there are countless other instances where animal faith and loyalty have dumbfounded human observers. Amazingly enough, even the most advanced science has failed to explain how these miracles came about.
As I sit on the couch typing these words; my faithful canine companion Xena is fast asleep at my feet. Gazing at her massive sleeping form; I cannot help but feel a certain comfort. If we were to suddenly be separated, I have little doubt that she would find me. I only wish that I could say the same about the converse situation. Would I be able to set aside my logical mind in order to trust my instincts enough to guide me back to her? It is a disturbing question, and I ask myself who has been blessed more deeply; the human with the ability to write this story or the canine who is peacefully slumbering away?
The rest of today will be spent in introspection. Which one of us is truly the master; Xena or me?