I posted recently on the blog about intuition, and I confessed that for a long time I felt it was something some people had that I did not. Like a beautiful singing voice, I've longed for my own throughout my life but came to accept that I wasn't made that way. However, through my exploration of the yogic teachings, and then through their application, I have found that it is possible to tune in to that inner guidance we call intuition.
Intuition comes in many forms, and sometimes it's a spontaneous feeling we have about something or someone - we may be drawn or repelled by someone before we ever speak to them and not understand why - while at other times we are seeking guidance and intentionally look within for the solution which is beyond our intellectual capabilities. The experience I'm sharing here is in the latter category. I had an important decision to make in which I would be pretty blind going in and which would have a lasting impact on the life of my family and me for many years. That decision, as the photo I've included might hint, was what dog to rescue.
We had to euthanize our beloved Lucy in January. She was 12 and had given us so much joy for so long, and it was hard to say goodbye to her. We needed some time to lick our wounds after losing her, and in the spring we started to feel we were ready for a new dog. We knew the relative size (medium) and age (between 1-3 years) we wanted, but we were really open as far as breed mix. We have always rescued because there are so many animals with tough beginnings who need a good home, but of course when you are going with a mutt you need to take an even greater leap of faith in your choice than when you get a standard breed. With a specific breed there are many traits which the vast majority of dogs in that breed share. Most Labradors are good with kids and excel at retrieving; most shelties are eager to please; many German shepherds have a strong protective instinct, and so on. When you get a purebred, you can be pretty sure the dog will fall within a certain boundary of general traits and then will have their little particular personality quirks from there. However, with a mutt you can't be sure even what breeds are mixed in, of those breeds which characteristics will be most dominant, and then on top of that you have the specific personality of the dog itself.
As we started thinking about adopting a dog, I started asking internally to be directed to the right one. In my meditations, I would try to send the thought out at the spiritual eye: please send the right dog for my family. Let me have the eyes to recognize it. I did this many times in my meditations before we started looking, with the thought that the more energy I put behind it the better my chances of receiving the guidance.
We went on vacation the first week of April. The evening before our flight I dreamt about a dog with a black and brown face. I don't remember much about the dream, but the only dog I had dreamt about in the past few months was Lucy (who was all black) so it was notable to me that I had seen a different dog. I mentioned to my family over breakfast about what I'd seen in my dream, and then we busily got on with our day and ultimately our vacation.
As vacation wound down and we prepared to come home, we started talking more actively about looking for a dog. We started looking online at dogs available for adoption, and at first any dog with a black and brown face got my attention. I felt drawn to that coloring because of my dream, so I was trying to pay attention. However, as we looked more and more at the photos and descriptions of the dogs, there was one my daughter and I really liked the look of. It was a blond male called Smokey who had a face like a deer. He looked so sweet. We knew the rescue organization he was with would be at a pet store in a few days, and I emailed them to see if he would be there. I never got a response, but we decided to make that our first stop in our search in the hopes he would be there. The closer the day got to the start of our dog searching, the more focused I got on Smokey and the black and brown dog disappeared from my mind.
The day of the adoption event at the pet store arrived, and when we got there there were people and dogs everywhere. It was really overwhelming - a small space with so many people, and there were five in my group alone (in addition to me, my husband, and 2 kids I had brought my cousin because I feel she has a good sense about animals) who had scattered to different dogs the minute we arrived. Instead of going to any dogs first, I went to the organizer of the event to ask if Smokey was there. She said the family who had been fostering him decided to keep him. I told my family the news and reminded them that we were just there to look and to not feel we had to pick one of the dogs who was there because there are lots of other places we can look. I felt we were back to square one and I didn't want us to feel rushed to decide on any of these dogs we weren't familiar with.
We all looked around somewhat separately. Frequently one of us would say to the others, "Come and look at this one! S/he's so sweet!" And then we'd get some information about the dog which would make it not quite right - either it was older than we had in mind (we weren't looking for a puppy but wanted it to be on the younger side), was known to not be good with other animals (we have a cat), they didn't want to separate it from its sister and were looking for someone to adopt two dogs together, and so on.
We started asking about one dog who looked to be the size we were looking for, and the answers started to line up with what we were looking for. She was a female (our preference, even though we were willing to think about an exception with Smokey), around one year old, good with kids. They got her out of her crate for us to take her for a walk, and she gave the kids a ton of kisses. They had both just finished soccer games so probably tasted very yummy to a dog - regardless of the "cause" of all the kisses, the person showing her to us hadn't seen her react like that to anyone before.
Ultimately, she felt like a good fit for us and we adopted her. A while after we got home we decided to take her for a walk. While we were out, I mentioned to the kids, "It's so funny, I dreamt about Lucy last night and now here we are with our new dog." I dreamt... Suddenly, with those words I remembered the dream about the dog with the black and brown face. I had forgotten all about it in the days leading up to the adoption as I zeroed in on Smokey, and even once I found out he wasn't available with all the chaos of the event I hadn't had time to reflect on it again. Now here I was, walking the dog I had seen in my dream.
Smokey was a blessing as he had pulled the veil back over my eyes. I think if I had remembered the dream and picked our new dog, Josey, based on what I'd seen in the dream I would have had a feeling in the back of my mind that I was self-fulfilling my "prophesy." I would feel I was forcing the dream to be correct, and it would have given me a bit of doubt that we really had found the right dog. But, because I had focused so much on this Smokey in the days leading up to the adoption it shook me from trying to find that dog with the black and brown face. When I remembered the dream after we had already brought Josey home, it really gave me a great sense that we were all exactly where we were supposed to be.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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