I am sitting on board a Westjet Boeing 737 on route to Maui – Hawaii with my dog Skai snoozing at my feet. Tomorrow morning, Skai and I will get up and go for our run on a beautiful and wild beach on the North Shore of the island.
I imagine that you are about to ask the much asked question. How did you get your dog to fly on board with you?
I am sharing the following story with you in hopes that it will inspire you to follow your dreams.
Back in the 70’s
When I was growing up, times were different. As soon as we knew our way to school in the first grade, we walked to school on our own. No baby sitters, no mom’s driving us to school.When we hit our teenage years, our parents registered us in the local government run riding club; convinced that it was the best way to keep us out of trouble. We started our lessons on Shetland ponies. Small but smart little horses, that learned to shed us off quickly by running under the fence of the riding ring. Usually they left us hanging on the railing like a pair of dirty socks, which definitely was not much fun.
As we got older, we transitioned to riding the “real horses”; big and strong yet sensitive, careful and considerate. We all had our favorite horse that each of us looked after and I fell in love with Alfa a gentle chestnut mare with white socks, a wide white blaze and beautiful, sparkly eyes. She also suffered from a chronic tendinitis, a common injury in horses.
I grew tall very fast and it was decided that Alfa should be ridden only by smaller kids. I didn’t care much for that decision but I continued to look after Alfa; washing her, brushing her and taking her for walks in the nearby fields.
I also watched helplessly, when careless trainers made her go on in the riding ring despite her lameness. She was obviously in pain and I grew more angry inside because the trainers ignored my request to allow her to rest. I was just a kid…
It was then, that I decided to become a vet.
With 4 kids in the family, we didn’t have the money to purchase Alfa. One day, I made a wish for her to be sold to someone who could give her a better life. My wish was heard only a few weeks later and soon Alfa was sold to a wonderful family in a nearby village.
I was heartbroken but knew that it was the best thing that could happen to her. My beloved Alfa spent the rest of her life in a pasture with a beautiful pond and a stable with a wooden floor and a thick layer of daily fresh straw bedding. This was my first experience with the power of intention.
I visited her whenever I could and even after I moved to Canada, I found my way back a few times. In the end, I lost touch with Alfa’s family and I am not certain when she passed away. She was born on March 8, 1973 so it is likely that she passed away sometime around the year 2000.
Becoming a vet and a healer
I truly do believe that if it were not for Alfa, I may have become an architect as per my father’s wishes.
He and I often clashed mainly because we were so alike. I also inherited his tendency to nightmares and sleepwalking that he suffered from. However, my father, also veterinarian, gave me the gift of deeper understanding and appreciation of animals. I was lucky twice because my grandfather, a herbalist , taught me about herbs and natural remedies.
My nightmares started when I was about 5 years old. The dreams were vivid and often terrifying. I saw faces standing in my bedroom that looked so real that I often screamed from my sleep, jumping up and trying to escape the imaginary danger.
Sleepwalking and nightmares brought me a lot of challenges as a child and adult. Whenever I went to a summer camp or shared the dorm or a hotel room with anyone, I was mortified about having a nightmare and screaming from my sleep.
When I was 24, I came back home for the summer holidays after going through a series of very challenging exams. Stress always aggravated my condition. I had a nightmare, ran through a glass door of my bedroom and lost more than ½ of my blood supply. A piece of glass cut one of the branches of my femoral artery and the doctors told me I was very lucky to be alive.
I graduated from vet school in 1988 and 3 years later, I moved to Canada with my wife Iveta.
Fast forward to year 2001
Skai came to my life at a challenging time. Going through a divorce, I needed to reset and find a new rhythm in life. Through a friend, I learned about a litter of border collie puppies at a nearby farm and one of them was Skai, then called Nickel.
Skai became not only my best friend, he has also become a medical alert dog and was trained to wake me up in case I sleep-walked.
He especially loves running in the forest and I taught him to run a little obstacle course over logs in a nearby forest. Once I joked that he was like a horse and suddenly the thought crossed my mind. What if Skai was the reincarnated soul of Alfa – my horse?
They were so similar! They had the same color, the same white “ blaze “ and white feet! The same personality and zest for life, the will to please and take challenges quietly with stride.
Then my friend, Iveta, came for a visit and we went for a walk. Skai was so eager to show her his new obstacle course that he ran it with perfection.
Without me mentioning to Iveta what I thought of Skai, she suddenly exclaimed “Oh my God, he is like your horse! He is exactly like your horse! What if he is Alfa who came back to you?”
From that day on, I simply could not prevent myself from thinking about this seeming coincidence. What if Skai is truly Alfa? What if her spirit came back to me through Skai, my beloved dog? This time, I can give him the best care, protect him and I would not allow anyone to make him go on, if injured.
I simply stopped caring if this was true or not. After all, not one single person in this world can truly confirm or deny reincarnation. Just the idea, just the thought that the soul of Alfa came back to me to “relive” our lives together gave me an immense sense of joy and healed my childhood wound.
Today, I don’t see my sleepwalking as an annoyance anymore. Thanks to it, Skai can travel with me on commercial flights and I am very grateful for that.
What seemed like a misfortune became a blessing.
I am sitting here on a Maui bound airplane with Skai under my feet and just looking at him brings tears of joy to my eyes.
Remember, If you have ever gone through a painful loss of a loved one, a friend, family member or a four legged friend, keep your eyes and your senses open. You never know; they may be closer than you think. They may come again to heal you, teach you and fill your heart with unconditional love the same way my dear Skai has.
PS : You don’t need to be sleep walking to make your dream of flying with your dog come true. I hope that as our membership grows bigger, Flying Dog Club will be able to organize chartered flights with you and your best friend on board.
To do this, we need to tell others and get our membership numbers up. I kindly ask you to forward this invitation to all people who may be interested.
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