” When my dog places her (his) quivering muzzle on my lap telling me it’s time to go for a walk, I release my selfish grip on the day. So many walks around the block, and each time I come home to a very different place, all because of what dogs do. They save your life by making you leave it behind. “
-Karen Maezen Miller, Hand Wash Cold
It hasn’t been my best day.
These days, when I get sick, the healing is slow. My energy drains, my body aches deeper and sometimes, despite all I wish I could do, I have to rest. Autoimmune disease is like that. Suppressing the immune system with drugs is like taping a boxer’s gloved hands to the face for protection.
But a boxer can’t box that way.
A boxer needs to fight back.
Everyone knows that.
But here I am. On the couch trying to give my body the one thing it needs, and I’m getting the look. Yoda does not give a tinker’s damn about sickness or pills, weather or my energy level. He only knows that that the big hand and the little hand on the clock have slipped past the 12 and it is time. I know he can’t REALLY tell time that way, but his body is pretty accurate when it comes to these things. He knows. And he makes sure that I know.
So I grab a couple poop bags (if I don’t carry two, I know for a fact it will be a two-poop day) steady myself, and slip out onto the porch and out into the neighborhood. The whole time I am remembering what Maezen had written about her dog, Molly. The whole time I smile.
She was right.
Of course she was.
Yoda walks mostly with my sister during the weekdays. She’s been taking him to a park down the street and today it is where Yoda is taking me. I let him lead without my resistance. He did the walking, I did the following.
The clouds were beautiful. They filled up the blue sky with pillows of white.
We walked past a Dogwood in full, glorious bloom.
We entered the park near the service road and past the towering trees.
We saw some things I would have missed today. He saved me. He always saves me.
Then I remembered the rest of the passage Maezen had written:
“Life is all about love. I can’t imagine what more there could be to it. We’ve all come here for love: to get it and to give it, there being no separation between the two sides of the transaction. Love is the reason we do everything, and love is the reward. Love is the spirit, and love is the form. As sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, dog walkers and cat fanciers, we are all caregivers, and love is the care we give. Actually, that expresses love in a stingy way, as though it is rationed from one to another. Love is far more than that. Love is what we are, when we drop all the things that stand in the way.”
It’s really always about love.