Love can appear in unexpected forms – including sick and handicapped animals that other people have thrown away. These special animals show us that the inability to love is the only real handicap – and these marvelous creatures are fully equipped for abundant life.
Thomas is a spectacular dog, a big golden teddy bear filled with love and hopeful exuberance. A blind, four-year-old yellow Lab mix, he was a stray before spending seven months in a special-needs shelter recuperating from heartworm infestation, diabetes insipidus, malnutrition, intestinal parasites, and emotional trauma. As Reiki healers for sick and injured animals, my friend Suzette and I met this skinny, scared, mangy dog shortly after he arrived at the safe haven of Animal Lifeline of Iowa.
For Suzette and Thomas, it was love at first sight. They saw each other through the eyes of the heart and soul – on which Thomas depends since being blinded by cataracts and degenerative retinal and optic nerve disease. When Suzette decided to adopt this sweet boy, and spent months sponsoring his medical care and preparing his homecoming, there were naysayers wondering why she wasn’t opting for the “perfect dog.”
What these people couldn’t see was that, for her, Thomas was the perfect dog. He came into this life fully equipped to love with all his heart and soul and make a positive difference in the lives of others. He has learned to live beyond limitations and embrace life in the fullness of his abilities, and he inspires us to do the same.
When we see animals as the wise, sensitive creatures they are, we discover great vistas of knowledge in the natural world that are often missed. During his first weeks in his forever home with his beloved “Mama,” Thomas offered up to me his truths about living for the moment, choosing happiness, and the nature of love. It’s been my privilege to work with Thomas and his family as an animal communicator and Reiki practitioner, and with their permission, I am able to share with you some of his wonderful insights.
A word about animal communication: Animal communication is like any other form of telepathic, intuitive conversation. The thoughts and feelings of people and animals carry energetic signatures, communicated through very primal, nonverbal channels. Every person and animal has individual filters of species, culture, and understanding through which the information comes, and it may be perceived in pictures, words, feelings, physical sensations, or knowing. The word messages developed during sessions with Thomas obviously are not actual sentences spoken by the dog, but they are the way his unique spiritual voice was expressed.
Love: Thomas says, “Dogs don’t put a stopper on the bottle of love. Dogs don’t measure love – we feel and lie down in it and are it.” When a dog loves you, he loves fully, without reserve or hesitation. Never worry that a dog won’t love you enough, and don’t be jealous when an animal companion shows affection for others. Thomas meets everyone with an open heart, ready to exchange friendship and camaraderie. Everyone has a chance to be included in his circle of love.
Dogs don’t make judgments about physical appearance or abilities, and they don’t care how big your house is or what you do for a living. They care about the quality of your character and your capacity to love. When an animal loves you, it’s a response to your lasting inner beauty.
Courage: Thomas shared the terror of a blind stray, crossing a street while cringing in fear at car horns and squealing brakes and shouted words. Unable to find food or enough water to support his metabolic disease, he persevered. He went from place to place, scary unseen mysteries with strangers, but he kept trying.
He was grateful for the cool safety of Animal Lifeline after the hot, chaotic streets. His kennel and the barking of the other dogs scared him, but he made friends with everyone who worked there. He wasn’t sure what the shelter was, but he took courage from the kind voices and gentle hands, and he kept dreaming of a person and a place of his very own.
Thomas had little or no experience of houses. He didn’t know what to expect at his forever home, even though we discussed it a lot. The reality of coming home, trying to learn everything, and transitioning to his new life was scarier than he thought it would be. He underscored the value of patient comfort and reassurance from his humans. He wanted them to know, “I’m trying hard, and I’m doing my best,” and their love gave him the courage to keep at it.
Forgiveness: For his previous humans, he was “too much bother.” They were disappointed with a hunting dog whose eyesight failed barely out of puppyhood. When he climbed over the fence, no one went looking for him. He went from a home, to a makeshift rescue, the streets, the pound, and a special-needs shelter before finally making it to his forever home. Despite the failings of so many people in his life, Thomas doesn’t hold a grudge. He’s love in action, happily meeting potential new friends.
Living in the Moment: Thomas doesn’t talk or worry about the past because he has so much going on the present. After four years of uncertainty before finding his forever home, he doesn’t want to think too much about the future, either. “Now, I finally get to be here, I just want to do this. It’s where I’ve wanted to be for a long time, and I like living in the present. My real life is happening now.”
Acceptance and Priorities: Shortly before going home, Thomas went to a veterinary ophthalmologist for an opinion about his eyes. When I broke the news to him that his eyesight could never be restored, his first concern was, “Is Mama all right?” He was disappointed, and initially worried that Mama would be sad – and maybe wouldn’t want him anymore.
For weeks before the doctor’s appointment, his emphasis had been shifting from the hope of seeing again to the promise of his forever home. Even more than his sight, he wanted the loving bond he shared with Suzette – and if she could love him so much when he was blind, then being blind didn’t seem so bad after all.
Gratitude: Thomas understands that Angels and loving spirits guided him from a police impound cage to Animal Lifeline of Iowa and into the loving arms of his person. He’s humbled that Angels would even care about him, and he said, “I want to help them, too!” Even the spirit world benefits from the pure love of a dog. As for Animal Lifeline, Thomas says, “They’re my friends. I’m glad they cared. Let’s help more dogs!”
Thomas gave thanks to the Creator Spirit: “Dear God, I am so grateful and happy to be in my real home with Mama. This is all I ever wanted. I don’t really understand why or how she came and got me. I know there were helpers, and I don’t know why they picked me. Thank you everybody for coming to get me. Mama, you want me, and I want you. I have a real place where I belong with Mama. Thanks.”
Ability versus Dis-Ability: After a month in his new home, Thomas stretched out in my arms for a Reiki session and told me, “I’m so happy. I have everything I ever wanted.” Thomas focuses always on what he can do, not what he can’t.
Dogs are visual communicators, largely dependent on body language, posture, and expression. Thomas learned the language of humans without the reinforcement of hand signals, eye contact, or a goal he can see. Thomas mastered a range of vocal cues to alert him to steps, curbs, doors, and other structures. He learned a spoken language for daily life, and his heightened sensitivity to energy fields compensates for his inability to see tears, smiles, or frowns.
Thomas has honed very acute hearing, smell, and proprioception and is developing extrasensory perception to access different images of his world. Aromatherapy oils allow him to use his nose to navigate walls and furniture. He loves exploring and new adventures, and he extends a welcome to all humans who care to go with him.
Home alone, Thomas was a Houdini at escaping his crate. Not ready to be safely unsupervised, we thought comforters, toys, treats, and water would make the crate a cozy den. Thomas indicated that, as a blind dog, the crate actually made him feel vulnerable and cornered. Unable to see approaching danger, his best defense had been the ability to escape, using speed and muscle to get away. Explaining that he doesn’t mind confinement, as long as he doesn’t feel trapped, he now contentedly roams and plays freely about the bedroom while Mama’s at work.
Catalyst for change: Suzette stepped up gladly into the role of Alpha Mom for Thomas. She learned to administer his twice-daily injections and instill his eye drops. Preparing the house for navigation by a blind dog was a great opportunity to activate feng shui principles. Suzette was inspired to expand her business, allowing her to work more from home. Thomas brings into focus the negative attitudes some people have about those with physical challenges, raising awareness that every being – regardless of how the body looks and works – is valuable, has an important mission, and deserves love and appreciation.
Most of all, Thomas is a living lesson in the value of following your heart, even when others can’t understand. Love comes in many forms, and when it appears in your life, it is a blessing to be cherished. Look beyond the physical packaging. Look with the eyes of a blind dog, and see the real, splendid essence of love.
Elizabeth S. Eiler, Ph.D. is the author of “Other Nations: A Lightworker’s Case Book for Healing, Spiritually Empowering, and Communing with the Animal Kingdom” which contains many more stories of the healing spiritual journeys and lessons of animals. Visit her author website at https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabetheiler.