Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last day in Ely - Namaste

Today is my last day in Ely. What an incredibly healing, transformative and insightful week it has been. I said my goodbyes early this morning to the wolves at the Wolf Center as I attended the “Behind the Scenes” tour for members only – a chance to get close to the wolf pups Denali and Aiden. Denali was pretty sleepy this morning and all he wanted to do was nap un the branches. Aiden, on the other hand, was perky and hungry. As we listened to the curator explain how the pups were being socialized, Aiden contentedly chewed and licked a beaver tail (yummy!). They apparently had lots of venison last night!

Grizzer (gray wolf) and Shadow (artic wolf) spoke the most to me this week. I spent many hours this week seated on the ledge, with only a thin glass pane separating us. Many of us have experienced loss – loss of a loved one, of a dream, of a best friend, of a loyal companion. Shen (pictured on our bed) and Shadow (pictured on his last morning – July 2, 2007) were all of those to me. Shen died from cancer of spleen – it took her quickly and quietly. It was less than 10 months later when Shadow was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. I sometimes wonder if the pain of losing Shen was too much for him. She was all he ever knew. I rescued Shadow from the country roads of Owasso, Oklahoma in the summer of 1998 – a victim and survivor of a gun shot that took a small piece of his ear and left lead fragments in his skull. When we brought a shaking fearful Shadow home, that hot summer day - ribs protruding, infested with ticks and fleas, a bloody scab over his ear – Shen was a part of the welcoming committee. She helped him heal and it wasn’t long before they were best friends. Shen even taught Shadow how to catch a snake which wasn’t of much interest to him. Shen was the “wild” one – tossed snakes in the air, caught critters and howled like a wolf. She was definitely the alpha dog.

So this week has given me a chance to be with the spirits of Shen and Shadow again. Momentary as it has been, I am grateful to Grizzer and Shadow the wolf for giving me the chance to feel their presence in my heart again. Yes, my heart still aches for them. I doubt it will ever go away. But tomorrow, I will be welcomed by the slobbery kisses of Missy and Mister, the piercing meow of our cat Henry wanting food, the open arms of my partner – and for that, I am grateful.

and so, from Ely, namaste ("the spirit in me sees the spirit in you") my friends. May you also be blessed with a visit from a loved one, whatever shape or form it takes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Trust in the unknown ... seeing through eyes of the wolves

Day 5 up north in Ely for me. I was drawn back to the wolf center again yesterday and spent many hours there, simply sitting, observing, photographing. Words can't describe what it was like to sit quietly next to them, with a thin pane of glass separating us. As the crowd left from the "Wolf Pup 101" talk ...

... I remained there ... mesmerized by the eyes of these wolves. Hours later as I got up to leave (a coughing spell hit me), Grizzer (one of the gray wolves) who had been sleeping on the rock got up and followed me -- walking along the perimeter, a thin pane of glass separating us. I stopped as I turned the corner. Is he really following me? He looked right at me, and as I sat down on the ledge against the glass, he laid back down on the grass. Spending hours with Grizzer has been a gift.. as if God threw down a ladder, and gave me the chance to climb up to heaven and spend a few precious hours with my sweet girl Shen. Shen means "spirit". I rescued Shen when she was 9 mths old - an awkward looking girl whom noone wanted. As she got older, she would howl like a wolf. I always wondered who she was calling out to. Losing her to cancer in September '06 was like losing a part of my soul. Through the pain, I found my way to Pet Haven, and to Missy (our beloved lab/pit/rottie mix). Shen has been my guide for many years, appearing in my dreams when i most needed it. She continues to bless me with her presence, every day through Missy... and now in Ely, through the wolves.

I've needed this time to be away. How easy it is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.

Something is shifting in my world... letters are landing on a blank page of a new chapter in my life. With the help of my animal guides, these letters will morph into words, words in sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs will emerge into pages. The pages will flip .. some intentional as i turn the page, others will turn in response to nature .. to the wind and its ever-shifting direction. A sense of direction? maybe, maybe not. Trust. Faith.

What a wonderful feeling to know that I can write the book of my life. I can shape it, and I can create it... the beautiful thing is, nothing is permanent. I have come to embrace the Buddhist thinking of impermanence. Now ... to fully embrace letting go. And now, to pick up the pen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hiking up north

Yesterday I had a chance to hike to a magnificent waterfall just north of my cabin in Ely. Along the way, a chipmunk stopped momentarily -- a brief connection. There were only a few others hiking along the trail. Maybe because it was a week day. Unbeknownst to me I had offered up my blood to the mosquitoes of Ely. I hope they enjoyed their afternoon snack!

At the end of the day I stopped at the North American Bear Center and captured the lone bear napping -- an attempt to stay cool on a hot and humid day.

It's been quiet at my cabin and i've been able to catch up on sleep. This morning I awoke to heavy rainfall -- the beautiful, peaceful, rhythmic sound of rain on the roof. I imagine wildlife basking in the rain, grateful for the water and the chance to cool off.

My body is certainly telling me this long needed rest is way overdue. In many ways, I think my spirit has been telling me that too. I am listening. There's a new chapter emerging in my life .. i can feel it. I'm just not sure yet how it will read.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dare to be you

I spent hours observing wolves residing as a pack at the Wolf Center in Ely. In those hours, I watched and observed them nap, play, snarl, eat and run. I looked into the eyes of the wolves as I came as close to one as I will ever come. There is something mesmerizing about the wolf - their spirit - their soul.

I hear them speaking to me. It's time to "be brave". It's time to start a new chapter of my life. It's time to step forward and into the unknown.

I feel something shifting. Is it me? Or is it the universe and life around me?

I have a created a video of photos I took of the wolves... you can watch it at

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Spirit of the Wolf

Today I had the chance to visit the International Wolf Center in Ely. I met Shadow (the white wolf and alpha of the pack). I also met two of the pups (stay tuned to the blog for more photos to follow). Shadow howled like our dog Shen (a collie/shepherd mix who passed away in 2006). I believe Shen had some wolf in her. As Shadow howled it sent chills through my body as I felt Shen's spirit flow through my body. Ironic, that the name of the wolf is Shadow (our other dog who passed away in July '07 and was Shen's companion). Messages ... lately I feel like the universe has been sending me messages. This week, while i'm up north, in the quiet and solitude of my cabin with no access to civilization, I will take time to reflect and listen.

What a incredible experience to be so close to these wolves... I am returning tonight to watch the feeding.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


There is something magical, something mysterious, something magnificent in the eyes of animals. Missy and Mister remind me every day when they gaze at me, when i gaze at them. They are two of the lucky ones. Some may say i rescued them. I say, they rescued me.

Just this week, we (Pet Haven, took in Ode who was rescued by Karen Good up in Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. A 12 week old puppy whose ears had been burned. I met Ode (pronouned 'Oday' and means heart) yesterday. I held her as she gave me kisses, and gazed into my eyes... i gazed back. We gaze into each others eyes as way to connect, as a way to share our souls. The question is, can we slow down long enough, open our heart long enough, set aside judgment long enough, to receive the message of love of hope. To me, Ode represents love and hope.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Slow down

I've been sick the past 2 weeks -- a bad case of the coughs, eye infections and ear infections. My body and spirit's way of telling me it's time to slow down -- slow down enough to notice the moon at sunset, and our neighbor's gorgeous flowers.

Time to slow down.

Time to heal.

Time to notice.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mary joins me at a Pet Haven adoption event!

I was so happy that Mary joined me at one of our Pet Haven dog adoption events... she was a great photographer assistant as i took lots of photos of adoptable dogs, and I got a few of her with several of our adoptable dogs (Gypsy - the yorkie pup; Hazel the pocket pit; Jake the springer mix; Smokey, the black lab/shepherd mix puppy!). She did so well!! :) Can you see the pattern?? She likes to pick up the pups!! ;-)

For regular updates on our dogs check out our blog at