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Ministry With Dawgs - Thanks To Tess


Posting on FaceBook, April 5, 2013
It was with sadness that we said good bye to Tess, our 13+yr old pit on April 3. She was the last of the three dogs that contributed to Dog Notes on my website. She taught me so much about the fun, energy, way of playing and devotion of the breed that has made me so much better at interacting with the numerous delightful pit bulls that I meet at the shelter. And we just received a note that our veterinarian has made a donation in Tess's name to help pay medical expenses/contribution an Angel's program. Amazing how our lives are influenced by our pets. So please give your pets some extra love from Tess.

Further Reflection (Some details of Tess’s life referred to here are explained more in the piece, Being Displaced.)
It may be that the connection with Tess was deepened by the energy we expended to try to address her needs. In January I had journaled about frustration with her anxiety attacks and my lack of sleep at night. I made some adjustments in my own perspective, recognized my own needs, and became less anxious. One of the adjustments that I made was to allow myself to take naps during the day, an activity that Tess shared with me. She would try to get me to the futon in the family room as soon as possible after I arrived home, usually in the early afternoon. Several days after she died, I realized that I had had several nights of uninterrupted sleep and was not taking the naps. We adjust with love to meet our needs in the time and space of the world around us, then readjust as that world changes.

With loss comes adjustment -- nothing new there. When Tess went back to her family, Kira, the cockatiel, took over the greeter/watchdog function, letting us know when someone was coming and demanding attention when we came home. Actually, Tess never really regained that function when she returned to us, especially as her hearing deteriorated. She also let go of being the assertively dominant dog. We saw what with Millie over the last year. In fact, it seemed that she actually let Millie become part of the pack with Parsi. (This was about the time I had reconciliation with a colleague, so was subtly aware of the process.)

It is the daily traits that we notice, like her not being in the kitchen to help with the preparation of meals (meaning wanting pieces of apples, peppers or raw potatoes). Each of us, by our very being, has a place in the universe, a pattern to our actions as we interact with the beings around us. May we be aware that we are essential parts of the lives of others, as others are parts of our lives. The absence that comes with death causes us to realize the interrelatedness in different ways, still keeping the connections that have become part of the tapestry of our lives.

Thanks, Tess, for your devotion, for needing us, for teaching me so many lessons in our time together.

April 14, 2013

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