A few months ago I was contacted by a client and her senior dog Buster. She wanted me to check in with Buster as to the level and location of his pain, if it was his time to cross over and if he wanted longer walks considering his physical pain.
Buster was eager to communicate and shared that his lower back pain was substantial, that he had spine/disc problems that weren’t getting better. He understood his time to cross over was sooner than later, but not yet. He was interested in more outside time explaining that he couldn’t walk more than their short jaunts, but wanted to be carried to best enjoy the outdoors. He stated clearly, “I want to sniff, sniff, sniff the out of doors.” More than anything at this time, he wanted to be outside with his person. He explained that summer was just around the corner, and it was his favorite season; the warmth, the longer days, the light and the blossoming of Mother Nature.
He shared vivid images of his backyard, specifically a large tree casting dappled light whilst singing a gentle song conducted by the breeze. He shared the smells of blossoming flowers. He showed his person joining him in the backyard, taking in this very experience, sharing with him. Then a blanket of calmness fell over me. This was Buster’s happy place, calm place, place of bliss. He desired his person join him in this space. He wanted to share this experience with her, and he was teaching her how to simply be.
After sharing Buster’s feedback with his person, I checked in a few days later to see how things were going. She replies:
The first time I got your message to take him outside and sit on the grass with him it was amazing. It felt right. I sat there and loved him. He scooted over to me and just let me love and enjoy him. I could see that he was so happy – that it’s exactly where he wanted to be.
Last night was the same. It felt good – very calming and relaxing. It does feel wonderful. We just sat there for about 45 minutes and I let him sniff the air.
Before this session, I’d never sat in the grass with Buster. I just let him walk around and relax in the backyard. I’ve noticed that he liked that particular area in the yard under the tree – he would always end up there and sit or lie down and take his time relaxing or sniffing. He’s always liked to sniff the air but I never thought that he’d want me to be with him relaxing and sniffing the air.
Sitting in the grass sniffing the air, it’s so simple but has brought a lot of joy for me, and I think for him too. I like the connection I have with him when we sit in the grass together. I like this one on one time; it connects us in a way that allows me to say goodbye little by little and to cherish whatever time left we have. He has also communicated that he prefers I carry him, and sometimes when the grass is wet, we just stand outside with Buster in my arms and I let him sniff for as long as I can hold him. I love doing this for him and with him!
Now, I’m more comfortable taking care of him how he wants. I feel I better understand his needs, and I don’t take anything for granted. I probably would’ve encouraged him to walk or move more to build his muscles, not even thinking that he’s still in pain, and assuming that the crate rest worked. Now I need to make sure that he doesn’t move much, and that if I have to carry him everywhere then I will, happily. And, I’m more patient with him about lots of things. To be given another chance with him, on a deeper level, what a blessing.
Amidst the hustle of life, remember the wisdom of Buster, take time to just be.