Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Dream


Sweet is the dream, divinely sweet, when absent souls in fancy meet.

-Sir Thomas Moore




I had a dream last night. Most likely sparked by a friend who spoke of a dream he had of his dog who had died last year. I felt a twinge of envy at his dreaming fortune. I used to have a rich dream life; now my dreams are sparse, vague, and melt into fog sooner than my head leaves its pillow.

But this morning I woke with a dream enveloping me, wrapping me in baby blanket clouds of comfort. I was holding Gracious, my first whippet, who died in 2004 at age thirteen.

In life Gracious was a strong spirit. She communicated with my dogdumb disadvantaged self with a shattering eloquence. I knew when Gracious was pleased with me, disappointed in me, when her life was good. She was not called Her Royal Highness for naught.

Not that she couldn't be silly. She could do "woozles" with the best of them. Butt high in the air, head poking, retreating, snaking at a squeak toy, then she would grab the toy, spin in dizzying, repetitive circles and then take off in butt tucked zoomies only to throw the toy, pounce on it, and start the game again. And then she would look at me, eyes afire with fun, and wag her joy my way. And in its purity, in its honesty, that joy was infectious. A person who could resist the spell of Gracious's joy was, well, this will sound judgemental, but a human who was not affected by Gracious's generosity of spirit was, quite simply, unworthy. Undeserving. Pitiable in their selfishness.

Gracious had the best memory of any dog - or human for that matter - I've ever encountered. I nearly lost her at a dog event when she saw a person she had lived with for a few weeks back when she was eleven weeks old. She was a yearling at the time, and she saw her old friend and bolted to greet her. She hadn't seen her for nine months, and had lived with her as a three month old puppy for a couple of weeks, but she was a Special Person to Gracious for her entire life. And I learned to hold on to Gracious's lead extra tight whenever we were somewhere that Lesley might be.

I got Gracious when she was six months old. I was her fifth home. After she had been with me for three months, I went to see a faraway friend for a week. When I returned, Gracious was nearly bald. Her hair had fallen out. I promised her I wouldn't leave her again. And I didn't.

And then there was Linda. All of my dogs adore Linda. Well, so do I! Gracious bestowed the highest honor to Linda: she gave my dearest friend her one and only puppy, Willow. And there was absolutely no question of her gift, or of her pleasure and satisfaction at Linda's acceptance.
And there came reunions of the highest order! Throughout Willow's life, at least once a week Linda would drive the hour to our farm to visit and walk, and Gracious and Willow would revel in the fantasticness of their reunification. Gracious would greet her daughter, and thank Linda and share her glee and light would shine in our small kitchen and we would every one benefit. It was a delicious contagion; a warm smile erupts as I remember.


But my dream this morning was of the quiet times with Her Highness. In life, when Gracious curled next to me, that is, when it was her idea and I was deemed deserving, she shared her deepest heart. Those of us who have completely loved an animal know this sharing. If you haven't experienced this, if your dog is tied to a tree out back, I could write a million words, yet you would not understand, and I am sorry for you. And it was this, exactly this, in my dream.

I held her in my sleep as I had held her for thirteen years. There is nothing quite so soft as a whippet's ear. Dreaming, I absently nuzzled her ear with my fingers. I felt the warmth of her body in my arms. I felt her breathing. It was so very real. I shared her heartbeat again. I embraced her spirit, and I loved her. Finally. Again.


I woke with a feeling of that contagious joy. I had tears, but they were tears of great good fortune. It was a good dream.

Gracious at age twelve, candid photo by Steve Surfman




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31 comments:

  1. Oh, the tears you have caused today.

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  2. *sniff* You do it again, Pee.. I actually got more than half way thinking "Oh, I might get through this one without tears".. Hah.. ;) Not that I mind! I always love reading about Her Highness.

    Hugs, Ane

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  3. Beautiful. Never thought I would say that in a dog blog. If you feel like laughing after this, read my blog today.

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  4. That may be the best dream I have ever heard of. And I know dreams, I'm one of those people who have 8 dreams a night and recall every one in vivid detail.

    She's waiting for you, Patience, but I rather suspect she's all around you... in the breeze, in the happy woos of the waggle, in each breath, in the warmth of the sun. You are blessed to have found such a dog and held her for so long. :)

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  5. I'm living for the night I dream of Prince and feel him so close again. You're very lucky - not only for the thirteen years you shared together, but also for the time you spent together in your dream.

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  6. What an awesome dream to have had! Lucky you!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

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  7. Wonderful story, it made me think about Q and how much he meant to all of us . . .

    Gail

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  8. That was very touching. I'm sitting on the couch stroking the neck and ears of my precious one. She'll be 13 the first day of Spring.

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  9. I don't have the ability to properly describe how deeply your story touched my heart. Thank you.

    Dina

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  10. Thank you for this tender post. Like so many others, I too am reminded of a lost love, Rudy. I'm always telling how wonderful he was so my husband refers to him as St. Rudy. I have wonderful dreams of him and often feel him near. You are such a special person.

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  11. What a great dream you had! I cant believe that Gracious could remember someone she lived with for such a short time and at such a young age!!!

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  12. Some dreams are a gift...those are the vivid, more than dreams that make you feel the presence of a loved one...human or animal in some special way. I wonder what my dogs dream off when their paws cycle and they whine and some imagined prey...

    The love for an animal is pure indeed!
    Marilyn

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  13. I was one of those people you would have pitied until Prince came into my life. Dogs just didn't exist for me they were alien beings. He came to stay for a week and nobody thought I could last 7 days - I was doing it for my son. I fell deeply in love with him. We bonded and now I am so much a better person for having known that little dog. My heart is breaking just to hold him once again. What a gift your dream was!

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  14. As always you capture the heart of these incredible dogs. Off to hug my Chelsea Bear.

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  15. oh wow -- to touch the soul when you write - what a gift!
    thank you -- I can feel my dear Petey hovering over my shoulder as I type
    Gayle

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  16. oh what a wonderful dream Patience! I have lots and lots of dreams, I actually look forward to going to sleep because they are so pleasurable.

    When they are like the one you had about a wonderful dog you so obviously loved, the dreams are amazing and stay with you a very long time.

    I lost my father two and half years ago, and my Mama, long before that, but I dream of them regularly, my father more than my Mama, and always feel comforted when I meet them in my dreams.

    Dog Bless your Good Dream.

    love and much light Jeannie from Scotland xxxxxxx

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  17. How wondewful to be visited by Gracious again..what a wondewful dweam..sometimes they awe so wel you can fell and smell and taste..it's amazing..my Mommi shawes youw teaws of joy that you could expewience this..how vewy wondewful!
    thank you fow youw miwaculous whippet healing, Mommi is feeling bettew!!
    Have a bootiful thanksgiving..we have so vewy much to be gwateful fow
    smoochie kisses
    Asta

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  18. Your dream of Gracious reminded me of my dream of my sweet Haze. He always gave the best whippet hugs and in my dream he was hugging me so tightly I could feel the warmth of his body and smell the sweet scent of him, then he ran off to play. It happened about a year after he died and it gave me a sense that he was at peace.

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful gift of writing with us, Patience.

    Barb Barclay
    Fireworks Whippets
    Abbotsford, B.C.

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  19. It's such a gift when we can experience the feelings we once had for our lost loved ones as if they are still here.

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  20. What a lovely dream P. Thanks for letting us live it with you.

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  21. Patience, I'm so glad that you got to re-live some time with Gracious (even if only in a dream). Here in the real world 'Basher' is not fairing too well at 14 1/2. One of the youngsters brought home a virus from a dog show and it hit the old dog pretty hard. Maybe tonight you can dream about when you loaded him in the starting box and send good karma back East.
    Basher's Dad

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  22. As I read your story about your dream, my nose got all red and my eyes got puffy from all the tears that I shed! Such a Beautiful, comforting dream and a Beautiful story about your beloved Gracious!
    I'd like to think that she "came to you" in your dream to "tell" you that she's fine.
    As Love Never Really Dies

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  23. What a nice wonderful dream -- Mom said she dreams sometimes of doing fun things with her first horse Fred, she had a lot of fun for a long time with him. I wonder when she'll have a dream about old cousin Nathan or my grandpa Joey, or the first Joey she had?

    Love,
    Rudy

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  24. What a wonderful dream !!! Someday to have a pack of dogs from our past !!!

    Gus & Louie

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  25. Thanks for sharing your dream with us! Sure it was beautiful.
    Kisses and hugs
    Lorenza

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  26. Oh, Patience, how deeply I identify with you. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely dream.

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  27. Jeff Hartzell - jahzed1November 23, 2007 at 1:33 PM

    Patience,

    Absolutely beautiful...it really touched my heart. I'm so glad that through my misty eyes, I can smile and absolutely relate to what you have written. Thanks for your words...they've made my day!

    Jeff

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  28. So sweet and wonderful...what a blessing you are to others...

    Have a very blessed day!

    smiles, kari and kijsa

    PS..yes, there are some bunny platters for sale...come by the gallery!

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  29. Your stories of Gracious always remind me of Holly - remember we were convinced they were related because they were so much alike. As much as I love the current crowd, between them they don't have the personality that little white whippet had. She's been gone nearly three years and I still miss her dreadfully.

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