Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ahnung - my north star

On September 15, 2006 we lost our beloved Shen to cancer of the spleen. On July 2nd, 2007 we lost Shadow (view video) to intestinal cancer. Since that time I have attempted to foster dogs through Pet Haven. Both times we “failed” (meaning we adopted the dog) – we now have Missy and Mister, two gorgeous black dogs, as a part of our family. My home has fondly come to be known by fellow Pet Haven volunteers as the “black dog, black hole.”

A couple weeks ago I brought home Ahnung from Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue. She was to be my foster dog --- I am determined to successfully foster a dog: yes, to love with all my heart, then let go and make room for another homeless dog. Ahnung was diagnosed with heartworm and it no longer became possible for her to come stay with me as Mister (our 16 month old pup) would be way too active for Ahnung who needs to remain extremely calm and quiet as she goes through heartworm treatment. Since Ahnung arrived in the Twin Cities on November 18th, she has been staying at Bloomington Veterinary Hospital – being monitored, pampered and cared for. Since then, I have gone to visit Ahnung every day (with the exception of Sundays and Thanksgiving) – I pick her up and we go on outings to the coffee shop or the studio. For the first week, I had to lift her into my Honda Element – having come from up north and not being familiar with life in the cities and driving around in cars, she wasn’t too sure about getting in and out of cars. Yesterday, we had a breakthrough…. she hopped right into the back and laid down on a bed I have for her behind the passenger seat. Today, we stopped by the studio as walls were being built – the hammering of nails into wood, and power tools slicing through lumber did not even phase this gentle, calm soul. My soul has been touched in a deep way by Ahnung – she is my north star, my bright light.

The day will arrive when she will be given a clean bill of health. The day will also arrive when I will need to let her go. Every day when I pick her up at the clinic my heart feels joyful. I love to watch her come out from the back area of the clinic with her tail wagging. I love the white tip on her black tail --- like her tail was dipped in a can of white paint. Yes she saunters at a leisurely pace but her tail wags, and this morning, she hopped right into my car without hesitation, just a spring in her step and a sense of familiarity, a sense of comfort.

I notice how she loves to lay in the grass when I bring her back to the clinic and get brushed, how she loves to lay in the sunshine no matter where we are, how she lets me know she wants a little love by placing her head between the driver and passenger seats in my car … and how she loves to rest her head on my foot when we hang out at coffee shops for hours while I get some work done. Just as I feel joy in my heart, every day when I pick her up, I feel a heaviness in my heart when I take the 90th street exit off of highway 35W heading south, turn left onto 90th, another left onto Lyndale Avenue, then a quick turn into the parking lot of the clinic. These past two days, I have noticed how Ahnung also notices. She used to sleep through the car ride but these past couple days she’s gotten up from her bed, and placed her head next to my hand. Maybe she senses the sadness in my heart. Maybe she knows our outing is over. Maybe she's trying to reassure me. Whatever it is, I know that I am grateful to know that the staff at the clinic loves her and cares for her. As I leave her and she is brought back to her kennel, I tell myself that Ahnung (which means “star” in Ojibway) will always be my star; she will always be my light.

I hold my Ahnung, my star, in my heart till our next outing. When the time comes for me to let her go, I trust she will shine so brightly that even the darkest night won’t keep me from the joy and the memories I am grateful to feel and experience with her right now. To love, yes... to love with all my heart ... knowing I will have to let her go -- it scares me while at the same time fills my soul up. Is this what it feels like to live like there's no tomorrow and to love with reckless abandon?

Sweet dreams Ahnung... i love you.

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