Relax! Close your eyes and take a few moments to imagine a big dog. Allow a few moments for the image of a big dog to come into your mind and then record what presents itself.
Sham was an Alaskan Malamute I bought when I was 12. I bought him with fifty of my own dollars..which I ran home for and busted into my piggy bank apart for after the man who owned Sham and his ' family' lowered the price to after he said Sham was worth $ 300.00. I remember I almost died right there because I couldn't imagine EVER having that much money. And I loved that puppy, I stopped by their house everyday to play with him on my way home from school. Jake was the man's name and his girlfriend at the time took one look at me and jabbed Jake in the back. He lowered the price to $50.00 and I ran straight home to get it, all of which happened to be in change.
I remember when I came back ten minutes later and held the bag of change up I asked Jake if he wanted to count it and he laughed and said, no he'd trust me.
Sham was an adorable pure bred pup with a black cap, two black diamond shaped marks under each of his eyes and a white lightning bolt that went from his for head all the way to the back of his neck.
I see Sham when I need courage, when I'm not doing well, when I'm lost in the mines. I can see him when I need to be strong and sure of myself. Sometimes when I think of him I think of those carvings and pictures I've seen of soldiers on horses with their war dogs beside them.
I can feel him the most when I'm writing, sometimes I still wake up and swear I can feel him sleeping at the foot of my bed, which is funny because he never did that in life.
Sham was there for me, still alive in and in the prime of his life when I suffered through something terrible at the age of 14. I remember I went into the back yard after I came back from the Doctors and those beautiful orange golden eyes seemed to pull me in and they made me strong.
When I see that dog, I feel strength, I feel dignity, I feel courage, I feel grace.
One year we had a huge windstorm that was so powerful it knocked over trees, it was awful. When we lost power it was gone for almost 3 days. I remember hearing that had we not been between two mountain ranges and been near the water it could have easily reached hurricane strength.
I remember looking out my bedroom window when these powerful winds where snapping trees in half, branches were flying all over the place and Sham was sitting in the backyard, staring straight ahead. I opened up the door and called to him. I remember he turned his head to look at me me and then turned away again. He wouldn't come in, he was out there facing that storm alone. So I went out with him and we watched it together. I put my arm over his giant back and he didn't lean into me the way he usually did.I could feel him straighten himself and brace himself...for me.
He was long dead by the time I started work at the funeral home but he was with me all the same.He was there when I went to services, when I went to homes and hospitals at the worst of times for these families. I remember when I needed to be strong and focused for someone else, I swear I was looking at them through Sham's eyes. He taught me to focus, to be unselfish, to suspend my own wants, needs and self so that I could carry horrible burdens for other people.
I learned that from Sham, not my dog, not my puppy...my brother. That's how I think of him I guess. My wise old brother. He was never really puppy-ish. He was always a wise older dog.
He was there when I was 12 and realized for the first time I was a person...not a kid, a person. When I was 21 he died and my soul was pulled from my heart. I'd never felt pain like that before in my life. The deaths in my family that followed were just as devastating, but that awful feeling of having my heart torn in two and separated like that, well, I've never felt that again.
Those are some of the things I see when I think of that big dog.
Anita Marie Moscosso
I see a Rotweiller. *smiles softly with memory* Loki Von James. I see a big black puppy, round, stocky little body with big paws and ears. Big black round eyes. The typical tan markings over his eyes and on his muzzle and chest. I see now a grown dog in his prime, all muscle and sturdily built. He is like, yet unlike his Nordic divine counterpart, Loki, the prankster god of mischief and chaos. Loki is a prankster in his own canine right, a big overgrown puppy at heart. He'll try and sit on your lap if you sit in his favorite armchair. Yet he is gentle, patient and loving when it comes to kids. He won't bite, snarl or growl, but will allow a gentle tug-o-war on his ears or fur and with his toys. He loves rough housing and pets. He is no guard dog, however. But...he is man's best friend.
Having slipped into my hooded blue gown I go straight to the manhole cover. Experience has taught me that this portal leads directly to the world of the collective unconscious. The cover is not hard to locate now that we have cleared away the ivy and thorny Cecil Bunner Rose that had entwined its way around it making entry impossible. Now the pathway is clear and it is my daily practice to slip in through this portal.
Dougie, my Blenhim King Charles Cavalier and constant companion, is at my heels.
Instinctively I use the code, listen for the final click and lift the cover. With out hesitation we step purposefully onto the bluestone steps that lead within, stopping to reflect upon what a different place it is today. The old prison has been gutted and completely refurbished like one of those clever warehouse blocks. The foyer is warm and inviting and I head straight for the library.
I open the door to see that my shadow, dressed in a hooded blue gown has been at work for hours. She sits at a table that has the appearance of an alchemists work bench and word filled beakers bubble and ooze ideas. Words and ideas curl amid the vapours that surround her.
Neither of us speak or acknowledge one another.
Silently I slip out of the robe letting it fall with my earthly shape and my soul drifts to unite with hers, ready for another busy day within the Soul Food Cafe.
Dougie positions himself nearby, appearing to sleep peacefully.
Tara, the big dog
As I closed my eyes to see that big dog I found myself lost and confused. All I saw was a black dog bigger than me looking straight at my eyes in a very serious way. So in an act of desperation I open my eyes. This is not right so I will try it againg.
I relax my body and did an excersise I always do when I want to concentrate for a meditation. Closed my eyes once more and my expirience was different. I saw Tara in front of me. She was a pitbull of brown color with a white spot on her chest and long ears and tail that moved very fast as she greeted me.
We bought her in the street when she was only two month old. She was a playfull puppy. Strong, very strong! She did not now her own strength. Tara reminds me so much of myself 'cause I am as playfull as she was.
Tara is lost, she was stolen from our backyard and we could not find her anywhere. Sometimes I wonder what has happened to her. Many times I have asked myself is she a mother? If she's still playfull? Tara was a wonderfull dog always happy to greet you, full of life and curiosity.
Tara is the simbol of my hapiness. When I feel lost I think of her, I have let myself to be stolen, many times, by not taking care of me better. But as she always did, look for a way to make you smile, I will do the exact same thing when I feel lost. Look for a way to smile and give it to others in rememberence of Tara, my big dog.
I was only four years old when I saw my first really big dog up close and personal. My mother had sent me, my sister and baby brother out into the back yard to play. Our favorite red swing set was a source of many hours of fun. We usually enjoyed swinging as high as we could get our tiny legs to push the swings. If we tired of the swings, or something else simply caught our imagination, we'd play chase or build sandcastles in our sand box.
One such day, we were playing as usual and I felt a strange sensation; the hairs on the back of my neck tingling! I was too young to understand this of course, but looking back on it, I guess
this was my very first time I was fearful. I looked around and saw two huge dogs standing in the alleyway, very close to where we sat playing. All three of us just froze, staring at the dogs. They
stared back, tongues hanging out, bodies only moving to pant, saliva dripping to the ground. All at once I felt a strong urgency to RUN! We all did. The dogs started barking ferociously and we just knew we were in danger.
We all made a mad dash to the tiny back porch. I turned the door knob. It wouldn't budge.
"Mommy! Mommy!" we all screamed hysterically.
There was no answer. We all screamed again as the dogs tried to climb over the falling down fence just yards away.
No answer. I started knocking and knocking with my tiny fists as my baby brother and sister bawled their eyes out.
My mother had locked us out of the house! She wouldn't come to the door. The dogs were trying their best to get over the fence and snatch us up. We were all three very frightened little children and
our mother wouldn't come to the rescue.
We cried and cried and called for our mother while we struggled to squeeze in between the screen and door, hoping to hide from the dogs. They weren't fooled. Their paws scratched and pawed the fence.
Suddenly the door opened! My mother lunged at us, pushing us back out onto the porch, promptly locking the screen. We tried to tell her about the dogs. She wouldn't listen! She screamed at the top of her lungs for us to "get out there and play!!"
Our crying finally got the best of her and she stomped out onto the porch, waving a kitchen towel and screamed at the dogs to go away. They did, but we were traumatized. I just knew the big mean dogs
would be back. We still didn't get to come into the house, until much later. We had to sit on the porch, fearful for our lives while our mother finished watching her soap operas with the kids out of the way.
Sharon aka Redlady
I close my eyes to do this exercise and I think of Beethoven, then Lassie, then Toto, and even Old Yeller. I think of my childhood German Shepard Princess, and Sadie and Sondae two other dogs I have
had since leaaving home, but they evoke no special thoughts or emotions. I open my eyes take a deep breath and close them again **starting over** this time I think of Fred, a small frisky Dachshund with a smooth shiny black coat and stumpy legs. I can see our neighbors, Fred's owners in my mind, but at first I can't remember their names. I breathe. I think of his white hanes shirts, and round face and belly. His expression always jovial. Then I remember, his name was Mr. D, or that was what my brother and I called him. To us he was like Santa Claus. When we saw him out in the front yard with Fred my brother and I would come running even in pajamas because we knew where Mr. D and Fred were there were free popsicles. I groan and open my eyes again. This was supposed to
be about the dog...
I close my eyes and think of nothing but blank space. I am listening to the sound of my breathing and the traffic still moving twenty-three stories below. Just when I am certain I have fallen
asleep the blank space gives way to a classroom with a buzzing flourescent light and a sombrero on the wall. I have been transported to 10th grade. I am sitting at a squeaky desk staring intently at college-ruled notebook paper, pencil in hand. The word "Wolf" takes up two lines on my page. I turn around quickly and behind me I see my best guy friend Alex, and to his left is Autumn, the gothic chick with the GI Jane purse that looks more like an ammunition storage facility for the army. Alex and I know that all it really holds is an endless supply of skittles. We talk about her all the time. We joke but we are not rude. Truthfully Autumn fascinates us, and deep inside we are rather fond of her. I turn back to my paper and quickly jot down loyal, leader of the pack, and protective of territory, just as Ms. Franco calls "pencils down." I can hear Alex mutter something about the silly assignment behind me, and I laugh but I too am wondering what this has to do with Spanish.
Mrs. Franco then says the first adjective is how you see yourself, the second adjective is how you want others to see you, and the third is how you really are. I sigh and shrug my shoulders unsatisfied with this, had I known the objective I would have picked much different adjectives, that's for sure. I nudge Alex to see what he put, "A dog" he says. "Loyal, Affectionate, and smart," he beams. I smile at him then roll my eyes to keep the color from flooding into my cheeks. As I turn back around in my desk I am wondering if dogs and wolves could mate. They're close enough in species, right?