Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ahnung -- bright star of the night skies

This morning I found myself reflecting back on when Ahnung first came into my life and I went back and read my blog post from 11/21/2008 (re-posted below). From the first time I laid eyes on her I just knew there was something about her ... I can't pin point what it was exactly. Call it gut instinct, a knowing, a feeling. I guess I'm learning that truth and wisdom speak to us, not in words and even tangible things, but often in symbols and signs and "gut instincts."

Ahnung has been instrumental in my own healing ... while volunteering at The Lab of St. Paul Public Schools again yesterday I realized she doesn't have to DO anything. Her presence alone is healing with the kids. Yesterday, we spent time with a young student, "M", who has been afraid of dogs and does not like to touch or pet dogs (yet somehow he is not afraid of Ahnung). As we were sitting in a circle talking/reflecting Ahnung was resting on the outside of the circle perimeter. She gets up and walks toward us. She stands between the "M" and myself with her face towards me. Out of the corner of my eye I see "M' extend his hand and start stroking Ahnung's back. Compassion. Trust. Love. Opening Up. My heart wells up as I realize at that moment the incredible healing way Ahnung has with kids, by simply being present. At the end of the group "M" asks if he can walk Ahnung out to the front of the school where he needs to catch a yellow cab back to school. I say yes and hand "M" Ahnung's orange leash. The smile on his face and the pride I feel in his heart reinforces, once again for me, that special something I saw in Ahnung back in October, 2008. She's an official therapy dog now through Delta Society. Truth is, she's always been a healer. She has also been my best medicine. Ahnung (which means star in Ojibway) has been lighting up the night skies for me, for the kids at The Lab, and for all who step into her circle of healing.

My volunteering at The Lab began with a mentorship experience with a young man "R". The healing I witnessed with the young man and the bond/trust that developed between "R" and Ahnung helped me in my own healing. Ahnung shares more about this incredible experience on her blog.

Re-post of 11/21/2008 blog entry:

Ahnung when I first met her in mid-October; she was nursing her pups.

Early this week I drove up north to Red Lake Rosie's Rescue. This was my second trip to Red Lake. On my first trip back in mid-October I met Ahnung. She had been dumped along with her litter of 8. Karen Good (founder of Red Lake Rosie's Rescue) had temporarily named her Mama. Recognizing that there was a special bond that was created almost instantaneously, she asked me to give her a name. I was honored. I pondered on what to name this gentle spirit. After considerable thought I decided on Ahnung, which means "star" in Ojibway. I wanted a name that would honor her roots and would represent the bright light in the skies of the work that Karen does on behalf of abandoned, abused and neglected animals of the Red Lake reservation. I promised Karen I would return for Ahnung. I drove back early this week. You can read more about our trip on the Red Lake Rosie's blog.

Ahnung the morning we are getting ready to head back to the cities. She had been spending her time in the igloo -- part of the big dog 'clan'. "Grandpa" is one of many shepherds who would hang out with her..

At this moment, I am compelled to write about Ahnung. There are many, many dogs that need our help, that need our compassion, that need for us to be a voice on their behalf. Many have touched my heart and soul -- Ahnung is one of them. We learned a couple weeks ago that she has heartworm. She is being treated for her heartworm and is being monitored at Bloomington Vet (Pet Haven's partner vet). For the next month she needs to be very calm and have minimal activity -- not really a challenge for this mellow, sauntering gal!! :) Since we arrived back in the cities on Tuesday night, I have visited Ahnung at the vet every day. The staff at Bloomington Vet have fallen in love with her -- it's hard not to! The first two days we hung out in a room where she would rest her head on my foot. Then we'd got outside for some fresh air and sunshine and she would saunter at her slow, definitive Ahnung pace -- no rushing this girl! :)

Ahnung resting under my writing desk at the Loft.

And today... well, today is a special day ... the vet gave me the okay to take Ahnung out for a little outing. I lifted her into my Honda Element (yes, all 65+ pounds of this solid girl!) and laid her on a blankie behind the passenger seat. She rested and kept her eye on me the whole way to our special destination... we are now lounging at the Coffee Gallery at The Loft. There is deep spiritual connection I feel with Ahnung. She reminds me of both Shen and Missy. Something about her makes me feel safe, makes me feel grounded.

Ahnung - outing at The Loft .

Ahnung represents more to me than I think I am yet aware of... for now, I hold her close to my heart and promise to care for her, and she for me, as we walk side by side for the next six weeks as she goes through her heartworm treatment. Spending time with her, getting her accustomed to life in the cities... my time with her, is as much about her healing as it is about my own healing.

Thank you Ahnung... thank you Karen for all you do for the animals of Red Lake.

To view photos from my trip up north, visit my flickr site.

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