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They are angels sent to walk the path of our lives...
so that we may know unconditional love
in its truest sense.

when they leave this realm
the love remains...
and we are still joined by
sunbeams and moonlight
raindrops and snowflakes
butterflies and whispers.

together always.

- Maureen

A Reciprocal Rescue - Honoring Nanda

Sometimes you just know when something magical has happened because there is no other ‘reasonable’ explanation. I had just recently lost my golden retriever, Bo, after a very long, difficult illness. This left just me and my little white deaf kitty, Bianco Nove, alone in a what felt like a tomb of a house. I hadn’t been without a dog (or dogs) in my life in over 30 years. This would just not do and I knew Bo would be of assistance from ‘the other side.’

At first I thought about a rescue puppy and researched the dogs being flown from Texas to Seattle. I actually found a lab/retriever mix that looked like it would be a good fit. I got the paperwork in motion and not too long before it was to happen, I had a HUGE nudge that this was NOT the dog for me. Plenty of tears later, I was seated at my laptop in my office, hands on keyboard being ‘forced’ to go to a site out of Canada that offered purebred golden retriever puppies. I had realized that I was not to adopt a puppy, but rather an older rescue dog. Now when I say ‘forced’ this is what I was feeling/hearing:

"GO TO THIS WEBSITE NOW. NOW!" And me answering, "NO. I DO NOT WANT A PUPPY AND I WANT IT TO BE A RESCUE!!” This ‘battle' went on for a few minutes until I finally relented and went to the damn site.

And oh my god. The FIRST thing I saw was a photo of a 7 year old golden retriever looking for a home!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes. ON A PURE BRED PUPPY SITE?? So I grabbed the phone and called the number and a man who lived in the Vancouver area answered. I told him about having lost my golden and that I was very interested in this dog! He said, “Oh, I’m sorry. A couple from North Vancouver are going to adopt him.” Talk about deflated.

So, I gave him my contact info and said if he had any other leads, please give me a call. Sigh.

Well, fast forward to that evening when I came home from being out and found a voicemail that relayed the message that the couple decided they wanted a PUPPY and not an older dog. Was I still interested? Ha! The next day I was off across the border became the proud Mom of a new ‘golden son’ who I named Nanda (Bliss in Sanskrit.)

He was a bit of a different golden. He could have cared less about tennis balls. Didn’t care to go into the water. (After living with a few other goldens, this was quite shocking as well as amusing.) He also didn’t tear apart his toys. I bought him a little blue plush stuffed dog ‘we’ named “Mani” and he lovingly carried Mani with him til his last days. He also inherited his deaf kitty brother who adored him from the moment he met him. (Bianco Nove missed Bo so very much and took immediately to Nanda.)

Anyway, I sold my home and moved into the condo where I now lived along with these two furry kids. He loved his walks along the beach (not, of course going IN the water...) We were out every morning regardless of weather. He was also quite fond of fruit - more than any other dog I have had. Bananas, oranges, apples - you name it - and not surprisingly, car rides. And we had one very unique ritual every morning after his breakfast when he took his meds in a piece of apple - we would “OMMMM” together - REALLY. It was precious and priceless. Son of a yoga teacher. What can I say.

About a year after we moved into the condo, Bianco Nove became very ill. When he passed, it was another devastating loss and here I was again with only one 4-legged… So within a few weeks I was blessed to discover my little rescue tuxedo, Sukanya, from L.A.! She found her way into our home and into our hearts through another rather magical unfolding as I discovered her through a DOG RESCUE. (Also she terrorized poor Nanda for about 2 weeks straight… then decided, ok, you pass the test. I kinda like you.)

Nanda started slowing down about 2 months ago and his health deteriorated quite rapidly. He would have been 12 next month (April 11th). I do find it somehow consoling that he left this planet on the Equinox: heading into the Light.
I know there are many lonely days and nights ahead until the grief has chance to do what grief does. I will also know, though, that his Spirit is as strong as ever, that he is out of pain and that perhaps, he will be my guide to yet another rescue.

Nanda, my reciprocal rescue, I will love you forever.

Nanda - My Reciprocal Rescue

April 11, 2010 - March 20, 2021

Gently, Gently Going Home…
Saying Goodbye to Snow Lion

How do you describe what I believe to have been (at least partly) a Turkish Angora cat? These traits include: "Intelligent and companionable, loves attention, loud and talkative, keeps his kitten-like playfulness well until his old age, is friendly towards guests and a sociable breed. A bored Turkish Angora can cause a lot of mischief. He is affectionate and always ready to help and participate in all your activities."

Bianco Nove came into my home in August of 2007 and though he was 'greeted' by 3 other cats and 2 dogs, he quickly assigned himself to be in charge.

Beautiful Snow Lion, Bianco Nove - May 2018
While my orange tabbies just basically ignored him, my elderly silver tabby, Simba (Pim) was often the recipient of his mischievous behavior. In her final years (she lived to 20), he would still chase her through the house on a rampage. She, though, gave it right back to him. "Outa my face, you..." (fill in the blank)

My golden retriever, Bo, was only a year older and he established a very close relationship with him that lasted until my dear golden left this earth. (He did tell Bo what to do on occasion, but being a generally laid back chap, his older brother took it all in stride.) When Bo became very ill in spring of 2016, he actually held vigil by his bed until his passing.

It was a strange time then for both of us, after being in a home with an additional three cats and two dogs, to be the only Beings wandering through what felt like a very empty house. That was about to change when only 5 weeks later, a beautiful rescue golden named 'Bailey' (who I call Nanda - means bliss) through very auspicious means came to join us.

Snow Lion developed an immediate connection with Nanda and I think I physically heard him breathe a sigh of relief. ("Thank GOD, another golden.")

My two furry family members then supported me through the sale of my long-time home and move into a condo. I was disappointed that he wouldn't have his fenced-in kitty yard to play in and lounge in the sun, but Mom bought him a little kitty condo for the patio that would have to suffice.

Not long after our relocation, his health began to decline. He was diagnosed with IBD (irritable bowel disease) and then with liver imbalances. Over the last year of his life, he was the most amazing trooper. Through multiple trips to vet, he would rally and let me know he was still intent on being here. The last few weeks, though, the decline became more evident. Though he still perked up, it was less frequently and shorter lived.

Bianco Nove and big brother, Bo
Bianco Nove and big brother, Bo
And so, today, August 14, 2018, my little Snow Lion went home. It's never something one gets 'used to', despite the number of furry companions that grace our lives. The simultaneous emptiness and heavy heart battle for dominion. It brings to mind words of a poem I wrote when I lost my first golden retriever, Chica 17 years ago:

"I cried
til there was nothing left to cry.
And now all that's left
is a gaping
hole in my heart.
How can a hole
weigh a million pounds?"

I honor you, my little Snow Lion. I will feel you at my feet, on my lap, on my bed and forever in my heart.

May 28, 2007 - August 14, 2018

P.S. A huge thank you to my partner, Tim, who was a shoulder through this entire process of change and loss.

On the Wings of Angels... Bo's Flight Home

Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation. - Rumi

Where do you even begin? After sharing ten years with a Being who was your best friend in every capacity and then finding a way to say goodbye?

Bo joined the family shortly after my other dear doggy, Genesis ("Genner Bear") left this domain. My chow-mix, Francesca ("Monkey"), found herself as the lone canine and I knew that she would very much appreciate having another sibling to share her home with (besides the three cats whose purpose she could never quite figure out.)
My best friend, Bo.

My Best Friend, Bo.
June 29, 2006 - September 11, 2016

Thus Bo was adopted from a litter of puppies born in Bow, Washington (hence the name, but I figured everyone would call him "BOW - rhyming with WOW" - so easiest to just drop the W.) We first met in a parking lot at Lake Padden in Bellingham where the puppies were being shown. I was seated on the parking lot ground viewing all of the golden furballs and he toddled over to me and fell right in my lap. I felt chosen and knew it was kismet.

Over the years we had countless outings to the amazing meadows near our home where he would run like the wind, tennis ball (or balls) in mouth. Every season was celebrated there through the flowers of spring, the warm breezes of summer, the amazing skies and colors of fall, and making the first tracks through the snows of winter. Our other favorite destination was, of course, the beach. He was a golden retriever, mind you. Water was one of his domains. He would joyfully swim - again after the tennis ball - and proudly bring it back to me just in time to shake his soaked body all over his up-til-then dry Mommy.

Bo as a puppy

Bo in the early days.

Each day as I would prepare his breakfast and dinner, just prior to eating I would sing a chant over his food (Om Shree Dhanvantre, Namaha) - this to the god of healing to bless his meal and keep him strong and healthy. Whenever he heard me sing this, he knew it was chow time (though I would like to believe he knew it went a bit deeper than that...) And when lately he found himself in some of his absolute weakest moments, often unable to get up, he would hear that and totally shock me by making his way out to the kitchen. Such Spirit.

Smiing Bo after swimming. And so it is with an extremely heavy heart that I write this. Yesterday, after several weeks of debilitating health challenges, he left his physical body, in company of myself and two very, very dear friends. It always sounds so cliché to say "It's for the best, he will now be out of pain and running free" but in my heart I believe that's true. We shared some of our most tender moments ever that morning and I will be forever grateful to him for the gift of those ten years together.

So, if you can hear me, my dear Bo, know Mom is always with you and trusts that the energy of love will keep us connected and in radiant communion until we are once again together.

I love you forever.

P.S. Tell all of your brothers and sisters in the celestial realm how much Mom still loves and misses them, too.

June 29th, 2006 - September 11th, 2016

The Magic Carpet Ride Home

My dear Pim (Simba) went home today.

She was 20+ years old (around 100 in human years) and up until very recently was pretty much in tip-top shape. Folks marveled at her condition and with good reason. She was an amazing kitty (and still is.) Letting go of her cuts like a knife and I must shift my awareness into what it is that I teach: We are all One. We are pure Love and Energy. We are always connected through time and space. And it helps somewhat, but the 'human' part of me wants to run through the streets screaming "NO!" It was too soon. It's always too soon…
(Spring 1995 - October 31st, 2015)
And so as balm to my aching heart, I choose now to share a little bit of Pim's story with you.

She came to live with me when she was 8 years old, an exotically beautiful silver- striped tabby. She entered a household that was already sanctuary to three other kitties and two doggies and yet she made the transition to being 'home' in no time at all.

One of her very favorite pastimes right from the start was to join me in yoga and I truly mean JOIN. No matter the pose, she was right there with me, including downward dog where I would warn her that there was a possibility of being catapulted across the room when I stood up. No matter. When we entered Savasana (relaxation pose), she would be sprawled out, fully relaxed and ready to let the energy settle wherever it needed to go. This inspired one of my favorite nicknames for her: My Yogini Warrior Princess. So fitting. One morning after we had completed our practice, I went to roll up my mat but couldn't because she was still in Savasana. When I asked her to shift over, this met with the following response (I kid you not): "You're putting the magic carpet away?" And me… "HMMM??? Magic Carpet??" I had never referred to my mat in that manner and was quite impressed. Yes, it is that indeed. And from that point on, when we did yoga together, it was on the magic carpet.
Angel Pim

Another of her other favorite activities was getting an acupressure and tuning fork treatment. There she would sit on the end of the massage table in my treatment room and literally scream for me to 'get my butt in there' and give her a session. (Click here to see a tuning fork therapy session that took place just a few weeks ago.) I'm convinced these treatments were very instrumental in her longevity.

Something else that might have kept her young (though I'm not sure she would agree with me) was her annoying younger brother, Bianco Nove, chasing her through the house and basically harassing her whenever possible. It kept the adrenals active anyway.

Then there were the sunny days spent in her kitty yard, soaking up the light and snoozing under our beautiful maple, Kokepelli Dancing. And too many other memories to mention here...

And so. Here I sit. Looking for her to share the last part of my smoothie (which she did almost every day.) But she is not here. Her Spirit is definitely here. And with that in mind, this is my prayer for my dearest Pim, Yogini Warrior Princess:

Divine Mother/Father God, angels, guides… Please accompany my dear Pimmy as she takes her magic carpet ride back home, allow her to arrive pain-free and joyful to a beautiful fanfare of loved ones. I love her forever.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Until we meet again...

SIMBA ('Pimmy'')
Spring 1995 - October 31, 2015

Here She Comes... A Farewell to Monkey

Endings always come at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast
But they pass too slow…
I love you, and that's all I know.

- Art Garfunkel, All I Know

Francesca (aka 'Monkey') went home today.

Our journey together began 15 1/2 years ago in Nashville, Tennessee. I had gone into a place called "Love at First Sight" , an adoption center for homeless kitties and doggies just to 'browse around'.
Francesca as a Baby.

Francesca as a Baby
I had three cats and two dogs waiting at home for me, so the visit was intended to be just that - a time to share some loving and hugs with the tenants.

Well, just as I was walking OUT the door to leave a gentleman was walking IN the door carrying the most adorable puppy I think I have ever seen. The first words out of my mouth were, "WHO is that??!!" He went on to explain that this little girl had been 'deposited' on the side of the road in a box… and he had thank goodness found her. Good Samaritan that he was, he had taken her in, had her vet-checked and vaccinated and ready to adopt. He wasn't able to keep her himself as he already had SIX dogs of his own at home. This I know was fate. Had I left this shop even seconds earlier, the destined meeting would not have taken place. And Francesca came home with me.

In fall of 2001 the entire zoo and I made the trek across country to Birch Bay, Washington. It was here that Monkey would learn to love beaches (and go knee-deep in the water thinking she was 'swimming') and the fabulous meadows near our home where we went walking almost every day in every season.

She had quite the strong personality - a mix of chow and to the best of my knowledge, border collie. I'm drawn to believe this due to her penchant for wanting to 'round people up' - earning her the affectionate nickname of "butt biter." (Folks who visited learned to sit down very quickly when they entered our home.) She also possessed quite the dry sense of humor. It wasn't only human behinds that were subject to her nipping, she also loved to nibble a cat bottom or two. When I asked her why she did this, her answer was, "Because it's there." (She also made it quite recognized that while she endured her feline siblings, she did not really understand what purpose they served.)

Every morning started with a healing ritual with Mom: acupressure, a little massage, and chakra clearing followed by Mom doing the "Doggy Breakfast Dance & Song." (Someday I will have to put it up on youtube.) The evenings found us dancing to Bobby Darin singing, 'Beyond the Sea' (well Bo, my golden retriever, and I danced - Monkey watched from the bed with a large grin.) Quite the musical household.

As she began to slow down over the past few months, her legs became quite unstable and curtailed a lot of our outings, specifically the beach as she could no longer manage the rocky terrain. We did though, even just days before her departure, make one last trip to the meadows, where she sat with the sun warming her back and the breeze blowing lightly through her fur. The look on her face was priceless and though it did take it's toll on her little body, it was obvious that it was well worth the pain.

We had numerous conversations over the recent past regarding her desire to 'go home.' More than willing to walk the road with her to the end, I also wanted her to know that it was important that she tell me when it was becoming 'too much.' I adhere to the beautiful words shared with me by my friend and acupressure teacher, "Dance to the end of the song" - and I must say, what a fine, intricate, tender dance it has been.

The words of Henry Scott Holland quite beautifully sum up the feeling that I had today as I held her and kissed her one last time….
And that is...

I am standing upon the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.

I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"

Gone from my sight. That is all.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says:

"There, she is gone!"

There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:

"Here she comes!"

And that is dying.

~Henry Scott Holland~
Monkey last trip to meadows.
Monkey Last Trip to Meadows
And so my beloved Francesca, I thank you for the invaluable lessons that you have taught me, most notably over these past few weeks. First, the value of this moment - this PRECIOUS moment - is all that matters. Ever. And, also so importantly, this: As I shared with friends the latest on Monkey's state of health, the outpouring of love and prayers was just inspiring. In the past, while I would have been extremely touched by these offerings, she taught me to REALLY feel them.
To take them in and honor them. Which in turn expanded the size of my heart and my ability to receive love. Gifts do not get any sweeter than that.

I will love you forever and ever and ever, dear Monkey. Until we meet again…


PS Enjoy your time with Genesis... he has been waiting for you.

FRANCESCA ('Monkey')
April 1999 - August 21, 2014

A Guru Named Jack

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. " -Anatole France

He came to me when he was perhaps eight weeks old. We named him Jack. I very soon thereafter added 'the Buddha Kitty' because I had never in my life heard a cat purr incessantly as he did… (His first trip to the vet, the doctor turned the water on to attempt to 'scare' him to get him to stop purring so that he could hear his heartbeat.)

And so it went, life with this gentle orange tabby, as we traveled from Nashville to our home in Birch Bay, Washington where he lived the majority of his years.
Jack the Buddha Kitty
Jack the Buddha Kitty

I was convinced the purring was his own way of chanting "OM" because he was indeed the most peaceful cat I had ever encountered and I have had my share of feline companions.

The morning of August 4, 2013, Jack the Buddha kitty left this earthly plane. He had walked the planet for over 16 years and perhaps he felt it was time to move on. I had kidded in the past that he was 'my favorite' but, truly, I love none more than the others. But Jack was incredibly special because he was indeed one of the best teachers I had ever encountered. He taught me that even in the most unfamiliar of circumstances, you can ground yourself if you just remain peaceful. He taught me that even when your brother 'stalks' you, gets jealous of you and is generally not real nice to you, the best thing to do is forgive and purr on. He taught me that one of the most precious gifts we can experience is to spend quiet time soaking up the rays of the sun. Oh and so much more than that did he teach me as well as he said 'I love you" with his signature silent meow.

He's gone now. At least from my physical reach. The tears will spill down my cheeks for a while yet. But I will do my best to remember his lessons… and breathe… and look for the good that exists in even the darkest of places as he would advise.

Jack, I will always love you.

April 1997 - August 4, 2013

Eternal Connection - A Tribute to Nick

When we lose someone we love, it is always an invitation to stop and ponder life in general. My 16 year old orange tabby, Nick, made his transition yesterday morning at the vet office in Lynden in the presence of a very dear doctor and myself, as I stroked his head and told him how much I loved him.

While decisions such as these can be heart-wrenchingly difficult, there is always an inner guidance that lets us know 'it's time.' Nick had been showing me other signs, too.

My Sweet Nick

This last week he wanted to spend a lot of time outside and he wouldn't just amble out the door, he RACED! It was as if he was thinking, "I want to RUN out of this physical body! If I just go fast enough, maybe I can leave it behind!" (This did not occur to me until after… and it made so much sense.)

And then his eyes… He had THE most brilliant green eyes… and they were still very bright, even up til the last. BUT what else I had noticed was his focus of attention. He was no longer 'looking' at the physical world that surrounded him, he was looking beyond it. He would stand and stare at nothing in particular, but fully attentive. It reminded me of my last days with my dear Mom… She also 'conversed' with a Presence that was not physically in the room with us as she looked over and past me, listening and nodding in response to a conversation that I could not hear.

This morning in meditation I was shown an image… Perhaps you have heard the expression that our time on earth is 'but a brief parentheses' in the greater notion of time. Well, this is what I saw. I felt myself drifting further and further from our planet until the view I had of the earth made it appear the size of a marble… and to either side were huge waves of energy… the continuum of existence from a universal perspective. Wow.

What this inspired was the deepened understanding of the precious nature of our time here on Mother Earth. So LOVE all you can. EXPERIENCE all you can. SING the song within your heart with gusto and know that in these gestures, you are leaving your unique, beautiful, necessary footprint.

Here's to life on earth and far beyond.

Affirmation: I Am eternal. Love is eternal. We are all one

November 1996 -March 28, 2013

And a salute of love to my other 'kids' who are, as Monkey would say, "busy in Bliss" on the other side...
Til we meet again.

Genesis ("Genner Bear")
1995 - Aug. 12, 2006


Maya ("Maya Papaya")
1993 - Aug. 23, 2004

January 1989 - June 17, 2002

Summer 1996 - December 17, 1996

1979 - 1997

1978 - 1996

To contact Maureen: sagebutterfly2@comcast.net * (360) 920-1125
Trust in the Magic.

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