Why my dog may have been a horse
Yesterday, when I was planning this blog, I wrote down a few ideas. I planned to write it on the plane to Maui, where I retreat to every year for a few months, to live simpler, be less busy, be more creative and spend more time with Skai. My trips to Maui are always the start of a new chapter, new learning, ends and beginnings, and this trip, has already shown it will be no different.
It didn’t take long after take off to realize that I accidentally stored my writing notes on a cloud which I can’t access on the plane. First, I tried to remember, what was in the notes but then, I decided to watch a movie that I downloaded yesterday. I downloaded it because I thought it was a movie that our community member, Jill Kanowitz had recommended to me on our Facebook page. It turns out she recommended a movie with a similar name called Origins and I downloaded i-Origins. Now I know that It was no coincidence. I was definitely supposed to see this movie.
The whole movie is on the topic of after life and connections. Most vets write on liver disease, cancer or diabetes. After life and connections may not be a topic that you would expect from a vet but why not?
No matter if you believe in afterlife or do not, no one can claim with absolute certainty, if afterlife exists or not.
Most people would agree that living with dogs has only one flaw and that is that their lives are too short and it is so hard to get over losing them. At the beginning, it seems like we have plenty of time. We can’t get enough of the puppy smell, the clumsy moves, the naughtiness… and then life starts going faster and faster and in a blink of an eye, there is an old dog sleeping on the couch… How can it be that it goes so fast?
As a vet of twenty six years I have been lucky to witness many beautiful dog - human bonds and heartbreaks. Neither I am certain of the existence or absence of after life. However, I hope that the following story makes living with your animal friend more joyful and the imminent loss less frightening.
When I was a teenager, my parents signed up in the government-run riding club. Shortly after, I fell in love with a horse. Her name was Alfa and she was a beautiful red chestnut mare with a white blaze and feet, just like Skai. I spent pretty much every day at the stable, and worried about Alfa when I was not there. The main problem was that she was owned by the club and several trainers did not seem to care about her progressive tendonitis and lameness. Many times, I would watch her being ridden by other riders even though she was limping. I often felt helpless and shed a few tears when no one was watching.
Some of you may have heard this story before… I made a wish for Alfa to be sold, hoping that she would get a better life. There is an old saying that if you love someone, you must be willing to let them go and despite being a kid, I intuitively knew that it was the only solution. Alfa was sold, together with another mare, Ali, and it broke my heart.
Ali ended up with a gypsy family, who, I heard, broke her back. It was really sad. Alfa, on the other hand, was lucky. She was bought by a farmer family, had a beautiful stable with a pasture and a pond and she even had a few foals. I visited her several times even after moving to Canada, but I never stopped feeling sad that we could not spend more time together.
In 2001 and ten years after arriving to Canada, I finally decided to get a dog. First, I decided on Pence (now Peggy) but just about a week before I was supposed to adopt her, she started running away from me. She obviously had a different plan.
The farmer who raised the puppies warned me about Nickel (now Skai), suggesting that I should not take him because he growled at the other puppies. But who are we to mess with the plan of the canine souls, right? When I came for the final visit, Skai dropped a bone that he was chewing on and ran straight to me… and that was it. Despite the farmers prognosis, he has become a lovely and well adjusted dog.
I have heard many stories about how dogs and cats choose their humans. They obviously have a plan…
The plan Pence (Peggy) and Nickel (Skai) had was to bring us together with our new friends, the people who adopted Pence (Peggy). Thirteen years later, we are like family…
As Skai was growing up, I started feeling more and more that I had known him before. The colouring, the white “blaze” and feet, the sweet, happy and playful demeanour, his expressive eyes and his bright soul that is capable to make instant friends and makes people smile and feel good.
Skai also acted very much like a horse! He loved running in circles, jumping over logs and obstacles and over time, he even learned running little courses with the same enthusiasm and precision as Alfa.
As if it was out of my control, the longer we were together, the more I felt that Skai had Alfa’s soul. Now I was a vet, I could protect him and keep him healthy, happy and away from mistreatment and hardship. I also had a friend visiting me in Canada who knew Alfa and without me saying anything at all, her first sentence was: “Oh my gosh, your dog looks and acts just like your horse!”
Most of you know that Skai and I have been inseparable for the past thirteen plus years. He has helped me when I worked at the clinic and kept me sane during the start up stage of Dr. Dobias Natural Healing. Most of all, we have had so much fun, it is hard to describe. I have many gigabytes of pictures and videos and memories etched in my mind forever. It has been also very healing to spend the time together, that we missed out on the first time around.
I know that the time that you have spent with your best friend is just as precious and that it is impossible to explain this to those who have not been given the chance to care for a dog.
The truth is that the question do past lives exist or not will remain unanswered. However, just accepting that it is possible makes the losses easier to bare and every day with those we love more special.
I believe that life is a mystery that is never supposed to be solved but it should be seen as a miracle and be lived to the fullest. If you have a minute, check out the movie I Origins. In my opinion, it is deep and beautiful. Thank you, Jill for inadvertently igniting this stream of thoughts and now I will be sure to watch the movie you recommended too!
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM