A conversation with my dog #5
Today, I’d like to talk to you about water, dogs and water adventures with you, my friend. I know you didn't care much about water, except when it was combined with fun.
I love water! First, I’m an Aquarius and even as a kid I spent most of the summer at a lake. My parents also put me in a swim club, which was kind of a boot camp for kids. If we didn't swim fast enough, the coach dunked us as a punishment, but despite that I still love water.
I’m aware you border collies don’t like to swim ‘just ‘because,’ but when there was something to rescue, you were right there. I’ve often wondered if you were just trying to rescue the ball I threw in the water wondering what was wrong with me throwing it back in after your successful rescue mission.
The first time we were at a lake you and I came with a bunch of friends. They tried to coax you in the water, but you wouldn’t go. After a while of unsuccessful convincing, I jumped in the lake and you didn't wait a second. You dove in the water, trying to herd me back to the shore. You were worried about my safety.
Before that day, I wondered if you really liked me because you were always so keen to hop into someone else's car with the hopes of another adventure. But when you jumped in the water with me after not wanting to go with anyone else, you showed me you cared about me and I was your number 1.
When you were younger, you loved running through water. This photo below is my favorite. It shows how much we enjoyed hanging out together.
Throughout our 16 years together, we visited many alpine lakes. People who’ve not seen them in real life may think the pictures are photoshopped, but they truly are the crazy turquoise/blue color that one sees on postcards.
You loved hiking, usually doing five times the distance than we did because you ran back and forth. It was as if you were trying to tell us we were going too slow and to hurry up.
Snow patches were your favorite play stops in the alpines and you also loved when complete strangers threw snowballs for you to catch. You were so enthusiastic and never wanted to stop, 20 times, 100 times, you would go on forever. In fact, your cute obsession made me realize too much ball throwing was harmful because if your lumbar muscles got sprained and tight, you’d get diarrhea. Thanks to you, I was able to solve the mystery of treating diarrhea for dogs who were not responding to other treatment. You showed me the connection between diarrhea and lumbar spine injuries. You’ve always been the best teacher, my friend!
Another water story that took us to Maui started at a meditation class in early 2008. Our teacher told us to let our imagination flow to get a clear message from our subconscious mind or the Universe, whatever we wished to believe.
I closed my eyes and found myself locked in a black box. The walls were tight, the air hot and there was little oxygen to breathe. I was trying to escape, pushing really hard, but the walls didn't let go. I rested for a bit to gather my strength and tried again, pushing with my hands on both sides of the box. Suddenly, the walls let go, crashing down and I found myself standing on the top of a very high waterfall, terrified of falling. I stood there for a very long time, maybe hours or perhaps days, months or years. I was tempted to jump, but my fear held me back. Suddenly, I felt my body tipping over, falling deep into the abyss of the unknown. My hands sliced through a crystal clear pool of cool water. It was beautiful, with a little cave lined with bright green moss on one side, trees and a lookout to the ocean.
I started swimming, relieved and happy that I was ok, but suddenly a huge hand grabbed me with force, trying to pull me up back in the box. I started to flail, but the hand was not letting go. I tried again, hanging in the air like a fish caught by an eagle. Finally, the hand let me go. It was the hand of my fear of the unknown wanting to pull me back into the box.
"And you are slowly coming out of the meditation, you are baaaack in the roooom," my meditation teacher was saying.
I was puzzled and confused. I had no idea what the message was about. A black box, fear of falling into the unknown and then the pool! What did the pool signify?
A few months passed and we decided to take you, Mr. Skai, to Maui for our second trip. We had a good time, driving and hiking around the island. On the flight back to Vancouver, I was browsing through pictures on the computer and there it was. You were standing in your Doggles in a pool of water below a waterfall, grinning and I was standing behind you happy that I 'landed safely'.
Aha! The black box was my busy veterinary clinic and the burnout I was experiencing. I was afraid to jump and make a change. That’s when I decided to sell my clinic and start my house call practice and organize an online community of holistically-minded dog lovers with one goal in mind – helping people have a healthier, happier and longer life with their dogs.
You, Mr. Skai, knew what took me a little while to figure out. Adjust your course as needed and not to be afraid of jumping into the unknown is one of the most important attributes of a happy life.
Did I get your message right, Skai?
To read more conversations with my dog click below:
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM