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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Soul Dog

If you remember back a few months ago, two Labradors, an old lady and a puppy raced into my driveway and refused to leave. I tried for days to find their owners, but then the puppy (Biscuit) fell sick with Parvo, and eventually died.

The old lady remained. No one claimed her and none of the no-kill shelters would take her. We couldn't just toss her away (like I suspect someone else did) so we kept her and called her Mama.

Mama is gentle, quiet, loyal and obedient. But she will NOT let me out of her sight. At first I thought it was a fluke that she followed me so diligently. Now I see that she makes it her mission.

No amount of pleading will make her stay if I walk out of a room. She'll obey any command but that one. She has to follow me. 

This wouldn't be so terrible, but I move very quickly from room to room, especially when I'm cleaning. I feel bad that she no sooner makes herself comfortable that I whisk off somewhere else.

Greg even tested her. We were out in his shop and he covered her eyes while I hid. The poor old girl went wild with fear and she bolted from the shop to look for me. I had to race to catch her. You should've seen the look of relief wash over her.

I'm a pretty good reader of dog psychology, but I have yet to figure out Mama. From day one, she acted as if she knew me intimately. And she is deliriously happy when she sees me. Not just crazy-dog-happy to see me, but relief-and-hallelujah-happy.

Greg and I had been discussing her bizarre behavior when he mentioned he had read something about soul mates. Supposedly, our life's journey includes many soul mates.

Soul mates are not necessarily lovers, but kindred spirits that travel together from lifetime to lifetime. Friends on the same journey. According to the article, we gravitate to certain people because we subconsciously know them as our soul mates (soul friends).

Greg wondered if Mama was one of these soul mates. Maybe she'd been looking for me all along.

Mama has been with us for more than five months. In all that time, she's never changed. I cannot leave a room without her following me. Even when I go out, when I return, she is right where I left her, dutifully waiting for me at the door.

For a very brief time, I had hoped it was my Chelly come back to me in the guise of a Labrador. But I don't think that's true. I don't see Chelly in Mama. If my girl ever comes back to me, I'd recognize her in an instant.

Obviously, Mama is another soul from my past. But why does she keep such close tabs on me? And why even after all this time hasn't she accepted the fact that I'm not leaving her? Even Tank and Iko think she's goofy.

Any guesses?


B.E. Sanderson said...

The poor girl has already been abandoned once. And then she lost Biscuit. Now that's she's found you to love, she's making darn sure you won't abandon her, too.

Give her big hugs for me.

L.G.Smith said...

Yeah, I think she knows love when she sees it. I still dream about my last dog, a german shepherd mix (he's been gone six years). He could have been called a soul friend. Very loyal, and followed me around like that too.

Mike Keyton said...

Wonderful story, Maria, and a fine mystery. You may be right.

Darke Conteur said...

Animals are so much more intuitive than we are. Only thing I can think of, is maybe this has something to do with a past life experience? I don't think animals can understand the concept (actually, I know some people who can't either), so maybe she's watching over you because of something that happened in a past life? Maybe you passed away while she was still alive? I know, that sounds morbid but it was the first thing that popped into my head.

LD Masterson said...

I think some dogs need a person to be the center of their universe. Without that person they're totally adrift. Mama has made you hers.

E.J. Wesley said...

I think it's simple (and super sweet) Maria: We bond with animals, they bond with us, in unique ways--very similar to people/people relationships. Our dogs have a very different relationship with my wife than they do me.

I'm the caregiver, the player, the coddler. She's the one they got to if there's a thunderstorm. lol When they are happy and content, they come to me, when they're afraid, they go to her for protection. Weird, but I think it's just the relationships they've forged with us.

I agree with the earlier poster who mentioned the abandonment issues as well. Plus, who usually feeds her, you or your husband? That's a very powerful thing for dogs.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

My Lab has never been abandoned, and she's the same way. They are serious velcro pups. When she was younger, she would walk back and forth across the lawn when I mowed.

Just consider yourself blessed to be so loved by such a beautiful and gentle creature.

I know I do.

- Mac

Maria Zannini said...

BE: Will do, BE. I don't think she was given much affection. She didn't even know how to give kisses. But she's watched how the boys give me kisses and she does the same now.

LG: I don't think time ever diminishes love. That's what keeps them alive in our heart.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: What would my life be without a few head-scratcher moments? :)

Darke: I've had clingy dogs before but there's almost a panic in Mama's eyes, like she's afraid for me. But when we're together she runs and jumps like a young dog.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: I always wished some wealthy person made me the center of his universe. Instead I get dogs. LOL. Oh, well. I'm not rich, but I have plenty of furry friends.


EJ: My husband and I still live 300 miles apart, so all their care falls to me. I'm the disciplinarian and the doctor. Greg is the fun guy. :) Typical.

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: Ref: velcro pup

I love that word! That is so Mama. She's like velcro. Come to think of it, Iko is that way too.

This is our first Lab so I didn't know if she was clingy because of her breed or her environment/experience. Either way she has a home with us for as long as she lives. She'll never be abandoned again.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Yep, she's decided you're the one for her. I've quite a few pets that followed me everywhere. At one time, I had three that followed me everywhere. My husband used to call it my pet parade, as we'd all wind through the house or yard together. Me, dog, dog, cat.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Our last pet was that way too. He was abused, though, and I was the first one to "love" him and take him home. He was a black spaniel mix we called Barney, but after a couple of weeks, I thought I should have called him Shadow. He acted like mine!

Cathy in AK said...

I have felt that "soul connection" with people, folks you meet for the first time and just know them.

Not sure I've had it with critters, but we've had Pup for over year now and it has felt like she'd been part of th family from the moment we saw her at the shelter : )

Glad Mama found you : )

Angela Brown said...

It sounds like Mama is also just that as well, a mama. You are her world. You are her universe. Not that other things don't matter, but you matter most. Like a human mother, there's always a bit of concern or worry in her when it comes to you. Add in abandonment issues and the loss of Biscuit and you've got a perfect situation for a Mama ever in need of protecting her love aka YOU :-)

Of course, let me get all soul-istic and venture to say that there could have been a past life where you literally where her charge, her duty and now she's got another chance to protect you properly.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Kind of like a mama duck and her chicks. I have to admit, at least I never have to worry that she wandered away. She's always next to me.

Stacy: I don't sense any abuse in Mama, but definitely a lack of affection. I couldn't believe she didn't know how to give kisses. Maybe she was someone's hunting dog and stayed outside all the time.

Maria Zannini said...

Cathy: It's a very surreal experience to know a relative stranger so intimately. But once you get to know each other, it's the most comfortable feeling in the world.


Angela: I think you might be on to something. My mother acts the same way--but she's still alive so I know it's not her. :)

Ellie Garratt said...

I think Mama has been through a lot in her life and her instinct tells her you are the one who will never stop loving her. But I also believe that like humans making friends, animals are drawn to certain people as well. Perhaps you two are soul mates. Who is to say otherwise?

Jenny Schwartz said...

Mama looks like a beautiful girl. I'm so glad she found you.

Maria Zannini said...

Ellie: I think it was the home-cooking that cinched the deal for her. :)

Jenny: She's a good girl. I find it hard to believe anyone could abandon her.

But then I find it hard to believe that anyone could give away their "beloved" pet on Craigslist. I would go hungry before I'd give up any of my dogs.

Shelley Munro said...

She probably sees the kindness in you, Maria, and knows you'll look after her. I like the soul friend theory too.

Julie said...

Aww, what a beautiful post. I love the photo of Mama, she's a precious girl. I think Shelley is right that she sees the kindness in you. Love the soul friend idea.

Give her a hug and a pet from me!

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I just hope eventually she'll relax and realize she's found a forever home.


Julie: Will do, Julie. She melts with joy any time someone pets her.

Angelina Rain said...

I've heard that thing about soul mates. Actually, now that you mention it, I should probably share with you my own soul mate story, but that's something a little too personal to share with the whole world, but I'll email it to you.

As for Mamma, it seems like she made herself into a part of your family.

Give the boys and Mama a hug for me.

Harvee Lau said...

She obviously is in love with your for rescuing and keeping her :)

Giacomo Giammatteo said...

Great story, Maria, and thanks for sharing. We had a dog like that many years ago. She bonded with Mikki and went nuts if Mikki left the room. We had five rescue dogs at the time and she was the only one who reacted that way. Sounds similar to Mama. Nice to be needed.

Maria Zannini said...

Angelina: I'd love to hear it. I will definitely give them a hug from you. :)

Harvee: That's what my hubby thinks too.

Jim: Now if I could only teach Mama to do the laundry, I'd be set.

Tami Brothers said...

Loved this. Thank you. :)


Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Tami.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I definitely think we have those dogs that are our soul mates. I thought it would only happen once in my life, but so far i've had two dogs I considered my soul mates (Yvie, natch. And my first dog, a sheepie named winnie)(of course George holds a super place in my heart, but he's "rough around the edges")
Did you think maybe of reaching out to a pet psychic?
And your Chelly was beautiful

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: Thank you. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of Chelly coming from under my desk, or feel her brush against my leg. Part of me is glad she's still with me, but another part hopes she's not sacrificing on my account. I want her to be happy and at peace wherever she is.

James Garcia Jr. said...

Hi, Maria. I have no guess here whatsoever as to the reason behind her behavior. However, that has to be one of the sweetest things I've heard in a long time.


Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: I honestly don't know that I deserve such a sweet and loyal dog. I didn't do anything special. I just gave her and the puppy a place to rest and eat.