I never really wanted a dog.
I am more of a cat person – the coming, the going, the ignoring you, the keeping-their-distance thing was way more my style.
I value independence.
But, raising a single child as a single mother in the city that has more single people than families, that has lots of hard edges, elbows, and knees– I thought the choice of a dog for my daughter, rather than a sibling, was economical in every way.
The idea was that the dog would be hers. Not mine.
So, when she turned 4, I opened the conversation with the GPS*.
I have a strict policy that pussy* has to bring forth change in my life.
How do I accomplish that?
I lay the desire out, and then take steps towards the desire, and see what comes back my way.
There must be a series of miracles that demonstrates the rightness of the decision.
No muscling or forcing.
It’s a dance of call and response.
How does that work?
Well, I spoke to other dog owners, looked at the posts online for rescue dogs, researched good breeds for kids on the web, but nothing felt right. So, I let it lie. But, one day we heard about a stray that had been left with a doorman, in a building on 86th St, as its family had to leave the country suddenly.
We went to see the dog, who had been living in the basement for the past 6 weeks, with 2 other dogs. She was skinny, dirty, and shaved. She had a strange snarl and she barked hysterically when we approached. Neither of us liked her very much. Maggie preferred the little Pomeranian that belonged to the doorman. She was calm. And cute. But, we took this stray dog named Princess for a walk, took her to the vet, and took her home for a trial night .
As I was tucking in Maggie, Princess buried herself under Maggie’s covers.
So, she got to stay.
She turned out to be an actual breed–a cockapoo–and when her hair grew in, she became glamorous. Turns out she was meticulously trained, except for the fact that she bit delivery men in an effort to protect us. And, in the way of dogs who have been abandoned, chose to never let me out of her sight.
I immediately wondered what I had been thinking.
Running a company, writing books, teaching classes, raising a child, and walking a dog three times a day, even when it snowed??
I had only had cats.
I was not in the least prepared.
But, this dog perhaps sensed her tenuous place in my heart, and began the difficult job of loving me fiercely. She did not have to work so hard for Maggie’s love; Maggie was in from day one.
Princess followed me everywhere, dawn to dusk.
Learned to walk leashless and heel at corners.
Sat outside waiting when I went to the deli for coffee.
Drew admirers wherever we went.
Went insane with joy, on my return, if I left the house for any reason.
Fell in love with my best friends and made sure they knew it.
She saw us through divorce, moving, heartbreaks, exhaustion, failures, mistakes, and triumphs.
She watched Maggie grow from a preschooler to a senior in high school.
She watched me grow from a woman with a dream, to a woman running a wildly successful company.
She saw us through.
Her love was steadier than mine.
Which I found exasperating.
Had she no discernment?
Not everything I did was wonderful.
But she found even my impatience and irritation, enchanting.
And her joy at the sight of me was unwavering.
Even when she was the last thing I wanted to see or deal with.
In her 16th year, she began to decline.
In the way of older dogs, she lost her sight, her hearing, and had difficulty walking.
I learned patience.
She lost her taste for dog food so we made her steak.
Walking got harder, so we carried her.
The slippery floor became unmanageable, so runners went down.
Last Tuesday, she passed.
I thought I would be relieved.
That is not what happened.
I am not relieved.
Not one drop.
Rather, I am overwhelmed with grief.
Broken open with the loss of her.
Turns out, that I loved being her everything.
Turns out, I counted on her love the way I count on the sun to just always be there for me, for us.
Turns out, all those people who are obsessed with dogs and think they are their fur children are not crazy, like I thought.
They are people who have deliberately chosen to let unconditional love into their lives. They are people who want to be reminded daily that they are the most important thing in the world, and worthy of deep relentless adoration and affection.
And in a world that has lots of hard edges, elbows and knees – that is not a bad idea.
In fact, it could just be another one of the millions of glorious ways that the GPS has created to remind us of our extreme irrefutable value.
Which all of us need, now and then.
Or maybe more than now and then.
Princess was the dog of the world.
And she broke me open with her love.
For which I am forever grateful.
In the comments below, what are the ways in which you get reminded, daily, of the love of the GPS? How have you been transformed by the animals in your life? How have you been broken open to love?
In love and pleasure,
*Yes, I lured you in with a dog story, and then, tossed you a pussy curve. Let me explain. Pussy is a term that is normally perceived as slanderous and scandalous in our larger culture, but in our world, it’s actually a compliment. Pussy, of course, refers to the physical source of feminine power and creativity, home of the 8,000 nerve endings dedicated to pleasure. But, additionally, pussy is a way of connecting to your deepest most powerful intuition and truth, and your innate ability to attract, or conjure, your most deeply held desires.
In this post, I am speaking into a woman’s innate ability to collaborate with the GPS, or the “Great Pussy in the Sky”, which is how I refer to divine feminine power. The Great Pussy in the Sky is the ancient indigenous goddess, hot wet source of all creation, our higher power. The most glorious adventure for any human being is when we get to collaborate with that which is greater than us, even in small sacred mundane ways.