Monday, August 20, 2012


When my husband & I got our own place, we wanted a dog.  We decided to adopt.  I had never been to an animal shelter before.  When we left the first one, I cried.  I wanted to take all the dogs home with us.

We went to lots of shelters & met lots of dogs.  Our agreement was that if we met a dog we liked, we'd go home, sleep on it & then go back the next day & adopt him or her.

After trips to a bunch of shelters, we met Ace (that was the name we gave him).  When we met him, they were calling him Highway, because he had been found alongside the highway.

He was a total mutt.  He was big & goofy & beautiful.  He had been adopted a couple times & returned to the shelter a couple times.  We didn't care.  He had deep brown eyes & velvety smooth ears.  It was love at first sight.  As agreed, we left & saying we'd sleep on it & come back the next day.  Except as we were leaving my husband, who had to go to work shortly, said to me "You have to go back & get him today.  No one else can have him.  He's ours".

So I did.  We went home, I got the paperwork we needed & I went back that afternoon to bring Ace home.

When first got him, he would bark at us when we were eating - clearly he was trying to say something, but we didn't know what.  He was big - I guess he could appear scarey, but we were never afraid of him.  We finally figured out he didn't like his dog food & that's why he was barking - our food looked much better! (we got him better food).

We agreed Ace wouldn't sleep in our bed.  But then I went away for business in the first month we had him & when I came home, Ace & my husband were sharing the bed.

Ace talked a lot.  He grumbled.  He was kind of lazy, but when he ran, he ran fast.  He didn't like motorcycles or delivery trucks.  He was a big dog.  His tail would knock things off the coffee table.  But he was gentle.

My husband had wanted a dog since he was a child.  He & Ace were the perfect picture of a boy (albeit a big one) & his dog.  Ace was good with kids & he seemed especially fond of boys when we would meet them.  We speculated that maybe he had been in a home with boy(s) as a puppy.  After our son was born, Ace let our son climb on him, look in his mouth, snuggle with him.  We loved Ace & he loved us.  We adopted another dog after Ace & he tolerated her puppy nonsense.  We were a pack.  We were all very attached to Ace.

The last day of Ace's life here was a good one.  He hadn't been feeling well, but on that last day he did feel good.  He ran fast, he rolled on the grass.  He got alot of love.  

The practice of non-attachent (vairagya) is one of the basic teachings of yoga.  And on your mat, it's relatively simple.  You really, really want to be able to "do" a pose - you're attached to what you think is the end result of your practice - that "perfect" pose.  Or you're injured & your practice isn't what you'd like it to be.  Or you look around the room & want to be able to do what someone else is doing.  What you want & what exists are two different things.  So you practice being more in the moment.  Paying less attention to where you'd like to be & more attention to where you are.  You practice non-attachment & you find contentment in your present state, with what is.

The practice of non-attachment off the mat is another story.  Ok, so it's easier to practice non-attachment with things, but with people & animals that you love...well, it's just hard.  We loved Ace.  We were all very attached to him & it was hard to see him leave us.  Life is still good, but it's not the same.  It's not the way we wish it were.  We still miss Ace.  We wish he were still here with us.

Our 3 year old son sometimes sighs & says "I miss Ace.  He was a good dog." Yes, he was.

I guess that's why it's a practice.

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