Soulful Stuff, the respected leader of Story Hour announced that Dreamspirit would be moderating our Story Hour on this night.  Soulful Stuff  had been called awat to attend a gathering and listen to the wisdom of an elder from New Mexico speaking about the responsibilities of elders and learners…and ways we can grow together right now and live as one in peace.

Dreamspirit is known on our thread as “DSC” for Dream Spirit Creations.  She is one of the valued leaders of our team.  She opened Story Hour with this blessing:

O Great Spirit,

We come before you humbly
In gratitude for your many blessings
The blessings we see and especially those we do not notice
For you are always with us
Guiding us….
Comforting us….
Inspiring us….
Blessing us with what we truly need.
Wado for the wounds we have received
You have helped us grow in wisdom
Wado for those who cross our path
For they are your hands…
hands that comfort…
hands that lead…
hands that move our hearts to new and fertile soil.
We are grateful for the joy and the sorrow they bring
For both paths lead to wisdom, and growth.
Wado for the two legged….the four legged….the winged…
Wado for all the plants and trees
Wado for the healing and wisdom they share freely
Wado for the air we breathe,
Wado for the water that heals, rejuvenates and nourishes
Wado for the fire that keeps us warm, refines and transforms
Wado for the earth which cradles our footsteps, and serves without complaint….receiving us graciously…as we ought one another
Wado…..
Tonight as we listen in the stillness of our hearts….
Open our eyes to see more clearly truth
Open our ears to hear more clearly truth,
Open our throat to speak more clearly truth
Open our hearts to be more clearly Your voice in a world that is frightened, angry, and struggling to be free.
Let this campfire burning bright in the darkness
Illuminate our spirit the way your Spirit illuminates our souls
Let us re-member the old ways
Of truth, integrity, respect, honesty, forgiveness
And a love for You, for the land, for the People
A love so strong that our connection cannot be broken
A love so strong our wounds can always be healed
A love so strong that all is possible
Such a love you breathe into our souls
Such a love gives us strength when we are weary
Such a love is the light we see in one another’s eyes
Give us peace to listen
Peace to be still and see
The goodness you so abundantly share
And bless us all in this circle with the knowing
It is all good.

Wado, Unetlvnv….we are grateful…it is all good.

Aho!
For Artists Exposed Custom Animal Telepathic Communication ANIMAL CHARITY DONATION
Here is Animals Magic and one of her beautiful Magic Animals, Sky!

Animalsmagic, a long time active member of our group was our story teller.  She began with this preamble:

This is a story I wrote in 2001, two years after losing a very special family member. I had forgotten about it, until I went through Mom’s stuff and found it there.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of their soul remains unawakened.”
Anatole France

Those Empty Spaces

We lost Jimmy suddenly to cancer. He had been running great at the head of my fastest sled dog team on Sunday, but by the following Friday, he was gone.

Nothing could be done. The tumor was enormous and Jimmy was refusing food and water. So we brought his body home from the vets and sadly buried it deep under the forest floor out back, with the others who had gone before him.

It wasn’t just that he was loving, fun, smart, and my all-time best lead dog. It wasn’t only that I never got to breed him as planned in the Spring and make lots of little Jimmy’s. Or even that he was just 9 when he died. No, what always bothers me the most when we loose a dog are those empty spaces. You know; the empty kennel run, the empty dog dish, the empty bed…. Each empty space is a constant reminder of the dog who was there, and now is not, and never will be again.

Those empty spaces produce a sharp pain in my chest and a lump in my throat for many weeks after. I hate those empty spaces with all my heart and dread facing them repeatedly; day in and day out. Until finally, the pain subsides, and I can look at them without crying.

After we buried Jimmy out back that night, my husband and I got ready to feed our remaining eleven dogs their dinner. Tears blurred my vision and my feet dragged along the kennel floor as I prepared the dishes of food and washed and refilled the water buckets. I worked slowly and mechanically, like a zombie, knowing that when all was ready, it would be time to call the dogs in and face the first empty space.

For every night of his life with us, it had been Jimmy’s custom to stand at the back door of the kennel building, waiting for me to open it and yell “It’s dinnertime!” After which he would leap into the air, spin around in a circle three times, and then make a beeline into his kennel run where he would wait to be let inside. I had loved watching his enthusiastic and joy in anticipating his dinner for years and was going to miss that very much.

That evening, I opened the back door in slow motion, croaking out apathetically, “It’s dinnertime,” when to my surprise, instead of the dreaded empty space, I saw Shiashi standing in Jimmy’s spot. She was wagging her tail and grinning as if to say, “See, I’m here! He’s gone, but you can count on me now!” And standing in back of her was Jimmy’s sister, Cassy, who managed two rather clumsy, but complete spins before making a beeline into her kennel run.

It may seem a small thing, but words can’t describe how touched I was that these two dogs, who had never before participated in the dinnertime ritual, would do this. Whose idea was it? Did Shiashi and Cassy discuss it ahead of time then make up a plan? Did Shiashi say, “I can’t spin so you do that part, and I’ll take the door?” I was especially amazed because after the death of a pack member, it usually takes weeks before the remaining dogs ease into their new individual roles and positions. Never mind two dogs working together to fill a role of the alpha male who had died only hours before.
I was grinning for the first time in five days and feeling very grateful for the happy surprise Shiashi and Cassy had given me. So distracting were their actions that the following empty kennel run and empty dog dish hurdles during feeding time were met with less tears and nose blowing than usual.

The next morning, after giving the dogs their breakfast, I proceeded to vacuum the kennel building floors, anticipating another empty space. When I got to the back door with the vacuum, it was usual for Jimmy to be waiting there on the stoop outside and for me to step out and pat him. During the patting, I always left the door open and the vacuum cleaner running which the other dogs didn’t care for at all. But Jimmy never seemed to mind. Not my faithful Jimmy-boy who loved me so much he’d even face the despised vacuum cleaner in order to get a few pats from my hand

When I got to the back door, I looked out the window, remembering my absent friend, but abruptly checked the impending waterworks and put the piece of Kleenex back into my pocket upon catching sight of a white head.

I threw open the door, thinking irrationally, “he’s back!” only to discover Shiashi again, wagging her tail and looking up at me with her warm brown eyes. Her expression said, “Yes, it’s me again. Don’t just stand there with your mouth open; you’re supposed to pat me now, remember?”

So I patted Shiashi, who had once again filled the empty space at the back door in spite of the racket from the vacuum cleaner behind me. I patted and praised that dog, thanking her over and over again until she finally tired of my gratitude and trotted off to a sunny spot by the gate to lie down, fixing me with a knowing, self-satisfied look. I finished cleaning the kennel, smiling, and shaking my head in wonder at the kindness and compassion of my dogs in their efforts to comfort me.

Every night after that, Shiashi and Cassy waited at the back door when I opened it and yelled “it’s dinnertime! At first I worried they’d forget their new roles, and a few times they did. But that was ok, authentic even, because occasionally, in his haste to get his supper, Jimmy would forget too. Shiashi would stand by the back door and Cassy positioned herself further back and did the spins. Cassy could only do two spins, not three. But that was all right; I was happy with two. A couple of years later, Jasmine also joined in as a backup, standing between Cassy and Shiashi. Her presence let me know that someday, when Cassy and Shiashi were gone, Jasmine would be there to take over.

And when I vacuumed the kennel floors each morning, and arrived at the back door, there was my faithful Shiashi-girl, who loved me so much she ignored the roar of the despised vacuum cleaner in order to get a few pats from my hand.

Some empty spaces left when a loved one dies just can’t be filled. But others can; sometimes in the most unexpected ways, reminding one that although it is normal and even necessary to mourn what you have loved and lost, it is also important to appreciate and enjoy what you still have. And as with all things, when something is gone, the empty space that is left behind provides an opportunity for something new and possibly just as wonderful to grow.

The End

Animals Magic says my shop is ALL about animals.  Here is one of her stores offerings:
Vintage Scotty Dog Pin Scottish Terrier Brooch ANIMAL CHARITY DONATION

She says, “10% of her sales, will be donated to Patriot Siberian Husky Rescue, and another 10% will be donated to the Etsy For Animals Charity of the Month. Please see my shop profile for more details.  Don’t forget, even if you can’t afford to buy anything, there are many other ways to help animals. Love costs nothing – you can always give love!  Thank you for whatever you can do!

Please visit www.animalsmagic.etsy.com to see more of her vintage and handmade pieces. 

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