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Remembering Mr. Orbit

Mr. Orbit lived large for such a small kitty. His Norwegian Forest Cat hair puffed huge in the wintertime. Yet, inside that fluff was a small 9 lb body. Our animals pick us. I have no doubt about this. For I never sought to own such a breed. Truth is, I did not know anything about his cat type until a friend told me.

(You may be reading about Mr. Orbit among my Breast Cancer Journey blogs. Fate arranged both our health challenges to intersect at a pivotal point. Thus, his story is shared along with my cancer blogs.)

I first saw him stare at me from the Humane Society adoption web page. When I went to adopt, the staff asked which pet I was inquiring about. I told them. They showed me all the cats leaving him last. As it was revealed, he had a very rough start. Born into a hoarders house, now 8 months, he was part of an extreme mission to rescue 120 cats of assorted ages, along with several dogs. The task was so large the humane society worked it in groups. Orbit was in treatment, a resident there for quite awhile as he had multiple issues.

He had clearly won the staff over. They all came to bid him fair-well after checking me out thoroughly, knowing my passion for pet welfare. I assured them of my commitment to continuing his meds, care and feeding routines. While the staff handled him, I did not at this point. He was placed in my carrier, where our journey began in January of 2018.

I put Orbit in a quiet room to acclimate. This was his safe zone for many months. From the get go Lunar sat at his door, anticipating meeting his new buddy. This poor sweet kitty was truly a mess. It broke my heart to see him walk so crooked, and be completely-utterly scared of the world. His tail was crooked, near the base it had broke, then healed. Perhaps caught in a slamming door, or he was stepped on. Once he found happy, he would wind his tail in circles around this stub as if he might take flight as a helicopter does.

In the safety of my untroubled home, Mr. Orbit learned what it was like to be a cat. Lunar taught him. Right off, nurse Lunar engulfed him in a bear hug and groomed his head and face, and beyond. This was a daily ritual. One Orby was comforted by. Often he would run to Lunar butting him with his head, asking for this reassurance. Lunar always embraced him with his front legs stabilizing Orbit so he could be groomed properly. Orbit finally learned to groom himself; even groomed Lunar from time to time. However, Orbit much preferred Lunar’s touch, so he got more than his fair share of cat lick massages.

As Orbit gained cat confidence he tried to play. Yet his play behavior was immature. Lunar was very playful, but often ran to me as Orbit scratched and bit him. Oh my gosh kids! Finally, I told Lunar in words, emotions and pictures to walk away when Orbit was hurting him. Just don’t engage. And that worked because behaviors teach. They reached a play agreement which was to chase each other through the house. Orbit finally learned how to regulate his claws, because Lunar walked off and that meant no more fun. Fortunately, Orby was receptive and young enough to absorb proper cat ettiquette.

I let Mr. Orbit set his own pace with me, a human. I would get down on the floor and let him explore and sniff me. His courage and confidence grew, because I never trapped him. I let him come to me. After a couple months he would walk up to me. I would pet him a bit before he ran off. His panic was clear: entrapment. He did not want to be held captive. After 4 months he finally came to sit on the sofa by me and Lunar when we were chilling with movie time. Pretty soon he sidled up to my thigh, and then my lap.

After sofa time, Orbit grew bold; walked up to me. I pet him, picked him up, if he panicked, I put him back on the floor. I made it routine. Whenever Orbit advanced, I’d pick him up and put him down. All in 10 seconds. He learned to trust. And love this attention. It took a year and he was completely confident and calm within the confines of my arms and my home. He loved being caressed and held firm. He was secure within my embrace and purred huge. His progress reaffirmed that all any abused animal needs, is one human to trust, and one healthy mate to relearn and connect to the innate behaviors of their species. Plus, a safe environment to do so.

Orbit began to explore my fully enclosed backyard about the 6 month mark. He loved sitting in the raised garden beds while watching me tend the growing veggies. In fact, he was so content in the yard that he would sit or lay for hours under a couple chosen overhanging bushes. I often wondered what he was thinking about as his utter contentment was so serenely unique. I told friends that he was energizing the earth with his sweetness. Or perhaps, like ET phoning home to the heavens above, reporting the nonsensical nature of humans.

About 2 years old, Orbit came out of hiding when visitors arrived. Occasionally, he still had PTSD from his former life and sought me, or my bedroom, for comfort. I always watched for the signs and made sure to rescue and calm his angst. Eventually he fully trusted the world, and became more bold than Lunar with newcomers to our home.

He loved Lily, my horse. Whenever I let her into my backyard, Lily would come to the patio, put her nose down to meet Orbit. And he would roll on his back to show off. The boundary was clear. The patio was Orbit’s space; the grass Lily’s. Many people marveled at witnessing their relationship. I just said they knew each other from another time and place. They had an endearing reverent connection. A communication unto their own.

Mr. Orbit’s origins dictated his lifespan. I knew his life would not be one of longevity. He was strong in spirit yet frail. He did not run much, never climbed a tree or fence. He was aware of his limits. I massaged his legs, back, tail regularly; especially his tummy which had intestinal issues. He was still young when he came to live with us, so regular massages helped strengthen and straighten out his hips and gait. His tail waved more fluidly from the base. His stools became regular with wet cat food. Canned pumpkin was often mixed in for fiber along with probiotics.

I worried about his health once in a while when his delicacies showed up. He was terribly cautious, yet savvy about staying close by. He was happiest when sitting under his select bushes and watching insects crawl through the grass for hours. Orbit was quiet. He didn’t vocalize much unless he wanted to go outside. And then he insisted. He loved when the breeze blew his long fine mane around his neck. He’d sit and sniff the air soaking up fragrances. Lunar showed Orbit around my garden boxes dutifully, as I dug deep to churn the soil. The garden was our happy family spot.

Mr. Orbit’s simple life, made me evaluate the extras in mine. He was unassuming, very affectionate, and his loud purrs told me and Lunar how grateful he was for our touch and togetherness. When he was silly or excited he had a short high pitched chortle. He would trot around chirping his glee.

I built my boys a fully enclosed outdoor cage with a cat door so they could go out safely. So many nights they spent outside star gazing. Mr. Orbit was a fanatic nature lover once he discovered the great outdoors. Lunar followed him around outside to keep track of his whereabouts. Often Orbit was buried inside a bush and I didn’t know where he was. Lunar always found him. Orbit was the epitome of constant zen; a cat Buddha in his own right. I believe he just appreciated life so much after his horrific beginning.

When we moved from the fire regions of southern Oregon north he was the one to help Lunar adapt easily. Lunar, the nurse, was always concerned for Orbit. But our zen master helped Lunar to adjust in the new spots. When we finally landed onto my property and set up RV living, both cats loved it. Tiny spaces to hide. Window views right from the counters and table. My cozy bed at night. What more could a cat want? I built them a pen right off the back as there was an exit door. Orbit continued his zen sitting, as Lunar figured out every angle to climb out just to be on the other side.

I often joked my boys would probably want me to keep ‘their’ RV cat house once mine was built. While we loved living on my land, the winter was dismal. The onslaught of drenching rain non-stop. The RV inside too cold. My horses were self-care. Boarded elsewhere on a farm that I attended daily. It was not an easy place for me, physically. And I worked relentlessly on my property to prep for the build of my small house, and barn in order to return my horses home so we could all be together again.

Along the way I overtaxed my body and threw out my rib cage. I had been hard on myself doing tough work for months. My body said no more. And I found a lump growing near my ruptured ribs.

The universe stopped me dead in my tracks. It was breast cancer. And it was easy to discover because I felt it developing. It hurt, and hurt worse after each biopsy. My boys slept on each side of me every night. They stretched out full length and wedged me in as if to soak up—wick away the burden of my cancer pain from both sides. The tumor was robbing me of my life force. Occasionally, I pondered if my dis-ease stress would be too much for sensitive Orbit. Would this affect him-his health? Could he be sacrificing his life to save mine? I had deep concerns about him and started to have visions I didn’t like. He seemed quite disturbed about my condition which was natural.

Meanwhile nurse Lunar was lavishly giving comforts to both of us. Lunar was grooming Mr. Orbit so much he was hacking up hairballs regularly. I was in pain. So much was happening it made me dizzy. I was prepping and organizing the house contractors. Getting a trust finally in place, just in case. Cancer motivates you to organize your life. The barrage of doctor visits and surgery prep and too much information was overloading me. I was exhausted. The cats had a smorgasbord of foods to chose from. They both ate well. But I noticed Orbit drinking far more water than usual.

Surgery was a day procedure. But it still kicked my ass. I was fatigued and the ongoing pain never seemed to end. I stayed over night at an onsite facility while my neighbor attended my boys. When I returned I stayed confined to the RV with my feline family to heal. Nurse Lunar took up his duty of attending me. Sleeping each night near the surgical site, resting his head on my near arm or placing his paw on my breast. Orbit slept on the counter or table feet away. Something was amiss, he was too quiet. Being in pain prevented my full awareness. But I kept a watchful eye.

That first week post-op, Orbit was drinking water incessantly, peeing constantly. Not a good sign. He picked at food and then ate little the second week. I was recovering and started back to some sense of normalcy as Mr. Orbit declined. 12 days after surgery, I was able to get an appointment for him. All the area vets would only see established patients. That is how it works here. Mr. Obit’s weight had dropped to under 7 lbs. Not good for a 9 pound cat. They took him back to take blood samples for labs and gave him a subcutaneous fluids to keep him hydrated. I spoke at length to the vet about Orbit’s origins and spilled my concerns for his future well being. Without lab results, Orby’s issues were unknown. I knew one thing for certain. He had kidney failure that was advancing fast.

The Vet assured me several times they would call the next day with the results. This was a large 24 hour hospital. You would think they would have an onsite lab. No. They sent labs out. When he was brought back to me he purred and went and hid in his cozy pet crate. My worry kept me awake every night. How could the universe be so damn cruel. It had been one tough, cold winter with many setbacks. My body was a mess for the first time in my life. In 2 days I had an oncology appointment to learn the fate of my treatment plan and learn more about my tumor, which thank the good Lord, I caught at stage 2 of 3.

Each day I was coming a tad more out of the surgery stupor. I was attending phone calls and too much. I called the next day and asked about the labs. At 1pm they were not in. A front desk gal said the vet would call when they got in that day. After 6pm that night I called again. This new gal tells me labs can take up to 10 days. WTF!? I politely told her in 10 days my cat would be probably dead. Why was I not told this truth earlier? She didn’t know what to say.

The next day I had post surgery appointments and met my oncologist. Lots of information and scrutinizing and my savvy oncologist endorsed no chemotherapy. Along with the tumor, the surgeon caught and extracted the scant trace of cancer cells that had not pierced the lymph node yet. Thank YOU JESUS. However, a couple months of radiation is ahead, plus a lifetime of pills. I was grateful, so grateful. I didn’t believe my body would withstand chemo.

I had bought and cooked chicken the day before and Orbit had liked it. I had resumed my massaging him which I had not done during these difficult months. His frame was diminished, frail, but he enjoyed the caressing. It seemed to stimulate his appetite that night. And this next day he ate quite a bit of chicken and broth. I knew it would take far more to get the fat on him needed to survive. He revived enough to explore the new house foundation that was poured 3 days after surgery. I was so tired of healing pain. My body was stressed about much, mostly Orbit. I was beginning to understand my constant visions of walking sadly to the top of my hill carrying something odd.

Mr. Orbit was quiet this evening. Too quiet. Lunar stayed with him to care take. I crashed early and went into a coma sleep. At 2am I was summoned awake abruptly. Orbit’s angel said he was now actively dying. I got up. Orby’s breathing was elevated, more labored. He had fluid droplets from his nose and sneezed away the congestion. I held him and he purred. I told him—gave my permission for him to go back home. I talked to him a long time and held him until my pain set in and I had to go lay down for a tad.

On this day, just 16 days post surgery would be Orbit’s last earth day. I am so grateful he waited for me to help him out of this life and into the next. My intuition told me a call about his labs would come that morning. The vet called about 8:30am with what I already knew. Kidney failure. Urinary tract infection. Whole body infection. Severe Anemia. Too much for his tiny body to endure. I asked the vet for the soonest appointment to put him down. It was at 4pm. I asked if they had a mobile vet as I preferred euthanizing him at home. Less stress. I tried several mobile vets, but everyone was booked up.

While I was on the phone conversing with Dr. P. my whole body flooded with an odd sensation. Like a burst of releasing sickness—buzzed through every cell in my being. I was looking on at Orbit, and still carrying on this conversation without a hitch. Right then Lunar went over to Orbit, hugged him tight and groomed his head and face for about a minute. Then let go. Got down. And never looked at him again. A tinkling sensation rushed through me, knowing that perhaps Orby’s consciousness had just departed to leave his body behind to handle the rest. In this way, Orbit was not fully present on earth anymore to suffer as much, although his body would show this side. I know this separation of consciousness as I had experienced it myself. It had long been a comfort for me to know that our bodies are capable of amazing reliefs during what appears to be awful for the recipient. Nature’s protection.

The day was sunny and warm. I put Orbit out in his pen that he loved. When he curled up in the sunshine he looked like he could sleep himself away. I wished he would. I laid him on my chest and we rested on the zero gravity chair my friend gave me for a property warming gift. Just 2 weeks earlier Lunar and Orbit laid on my lap in the same chair in the carport as it rained outside. I loved having my kids cuddle up on my lap together outside as they often did. I thought this would last forever.

Orbit relayed he wanted to be buried up on the hill with a cherry tree. I had several fruit trees I still had not planted. The only flowering tree left was a plum. I went up the hill and scouted a site near the row of fruit trees I planted long before surgery. I began to dig, but remembered I should not. I saw the builders below on break and asked them to help. They graciously dug a nice round hole, for the first of my family to be buried on my property.

4 o’clock came. The staff were all so nice and empathetic. I waited with Orby at the car until they called us in 20 minutes later. I just sat and petted him which he absorbed. I had sent him love and courage during the day, so he was prepped. If there is one thing everyone can do for their pet, it is be present for them during their transition. Put your grief away for later. Put your agendas, and poor me- or my poor pet thoughts away. Animals perceive death far different that us. To them it is like taking another coat off.

Our pets that have journeyed with us, comforted us, given us unconditional love, deserve to be honored and appreciated and told, during this time especially. Pet transitions are sacred moments. Be present. Attend their comforts and their emotional state. It is vital, so you can make choices for their well being.

From my cancer experience, I learned that it is important to have an advocate. Someone to listen and take note; ask questions when I was on information overload; and who would speak up for my welfare. I was now Orbit’s advocate. It became apparent, I was the unusual client. Calm, clear and direct. Not emotional, although I was sick inside. I had brought plenty of ginger to suck on to quell my angst and calm my stomach. It worked.

A vet tech met us at the front door and took us to room 5. We weighed Orbit, so they could exact the serum amount. In just days he had lost .7 pounds and was a scant 6 lbs now. This ‘head’ tech disappeared and another gal comes in. She says she is taking Orbit away to put the IV line in. I told her NO. Orbit was to stay with me. I didn’t want him stressed. She saw my determination. I was matter of fact. Perhaps their protocol is to minimize clients distress. Don’t know. I assured them I had been down this road many times, and my concern was for Orbit’s welfare.

The gal said okay, said she’d be right back. And back she came with another young tech. They told me they would handle Orbit, I said I was fine. But they insisted, so the young tech took my place, as I stood at the head of the table. The primary tech shaved Orbit’s scant arm. The vein was tiny. I could see she was studying the small vein. She inserted a needle and Orby was good, but she missed. Then she inserted it again and Orbit with little left, fought back. She pursued- and I said please don’t and she backed off. She then shaved the other leg. And went to insert the needle and Orbit was upset and distressed and resisted, but could not. He was too weak. I immediately told her calmly, directly to STOP. I told her I didn’t want him stressed during his transition time. Or me–At ALL. He didn’t deserve this in his final moments. To go get something oral, or other to relax him. She listened as I was adamant, firm, and resolute. I was Mr. Orbit’s advocate. She said she would see what would be suggested. And they both left.

I rubbed Orby’s ears and made Fibonacci swirls in his fur to calm him and he relaxed. I stuffed the last of my ginger into my mouth to calm me. Time again passed. Orbit was content in my hands. The door opens and Dr. P walks in. She seemed to be in a trance. She stared oddly at me, as if confused. I said, “Hello. Do you remember me?” Bewildered she said, “I am in the wrong room. I have no idea why I came in here.” I silently smiled. This was divine intervention working. And Yes, she said she knew who I was. She fixated on Orbit, and me soothing him. Finally, she relayed she was seeing that Orbit and I were unified. We had complete agreement, as we were both at ease, peace filled. I acknowledged her observation, and said yes, we are one. That I was deeply connected to him, and all animals. I had put a card in my pocket earlier, and handed it to her, and said she might enjoy my website.

I then told her that I was upset at the tech’s attempts to put the IV into Orbit. I told her what happened. I said I am not blaming the tech, his veins are dehydrated, but we needed an experienced practitioner. I relayed that I told the tech to find another option. Dr. P understood completely. She told me she agreed with my choices. I thanked her for supporting us, as she turned around and left the room in thought.

I returned to comforting Orbit. Inordinate time passed between this swinging door of revolving techs. It was disconcerting that a 10 minute job now turned into an hour. I suppose this time also gave me—both of us time to settle. I was not use to this environment of commotion. All my previous pet passings had been fully attended by one qualified Vet, start to finish; completed within reason. This was a big facility, but I made an appointment time that should have been respectfully honored. Maybe it was the way they did things. Their method was so not in my comfort range. But I was grateful to have their help in helping Orby to heaven. Awkward as it had gone thus far. I did not want Orbit to die on his own, as surely he would have panicked drowning in the fluids building in his lungs.

The door opened another 15 minutes later. I believe Dr. P gave directives for a NEW tech who walked in with a syringe. She said it was a sedative that would completely knock Orbit out and for me to be prepared. It was to go in his back end. Immediately Orbit stood up and actually arched his back-end up to meet the shot. He was so ready. She was rather surprised. And injected him. She said it would take about 10 minutes and he started to relax into my supporting arms. Within a minute he succumbed. I was relieved he was finally out of pain and minutes from freedom.

I bent over to see his open eyes comatose. He was not in pain, my spirit guide told me. I continued to just stroke his beautiful bright orange coat. And thank him for gracing my life for as long as he did. I relaxed with him and soon another new tech came in and inserted the new IV right into place. I sat down as they did it. The stone floor was hard, exhaustion, no sleep, the surgery pain, caught up to me. I had been standing in that room over an hour. Ridiculously unacceptable really. They left.

I got up and softly stroked Orbit again. He knew I was there. He had nothing left in him but his soul. Then a man vet came in and said he would inject another serum for relaxing, and the next would stop his heart. The vets only job was simply administering a narcotic, as he held the license to do so. Orbit’s heart stopped immediately. He left me in the room and said he’d return. Dear Lord. Too many revolving doors; probably 11 total that day. I just wanted to escape with Orbit. My spirit guide told me his soul would not leave his body until we got back home.

Next the original vet tech from the first day came in with a white coffin box. They had taped a fresh flower on top. That was sweet. She took the IV catheter out. The apparatus was larger than his leg. All this seemed to much for what could have been done with a needle injection. We took off his collar and she placed him in the box. I gathered his collar, leash and towel I had brought in with him. She handed me the box and over an hour and a half later we walked out the front door with the staff sending their condolences along the way. Their compassion and caring was appreciated, but the chaos too much.

I walked to my car as arriving clients looked on. I was stoic like Mr. Orbit. I placed the coffin box in the passenger seat next to me and opened the lid. He was not dead to me because his soul was still within his body. I could see him breathing; the doubling of his body as I have seen-perceived this in my others, many times before. I drove out of the parking lot down the highway and bawled like a baby while talking to Mr. Orbit. It was a half hour drive home. By time I got there I had no cry left.

Lunar had not come back to the RV by time I left earlier. It was the first time ever I left him out. He had groomed his friend goodbye just 9 hours earlier. Now Lunar came out of the trees into the one lane road as I drove up. And followed me carrying Orby in his coffin box into the RV. I sat next to him and lifted his warm limp body out of his box. I put him on my chest, leaned back and held him. Exhausted, I closed my eyes. I don’t know how much time passed. I did not feel his essence slip out. I was told his soul transitioned. I opened my eyes and looked at Orbit now truly gone. His whole demeanor was one of a dead carcass. I put him back into his box. Left the top open to see if Lunar want one last look. He did. He put his head inside the box briefly then walked away. I told Lunar he could come up the hill with us. But he did not.

I now knew what I was carrying in the visions I had seen from the last weeks. I trekked through the pasture that was chest high. I put the box down and realized it would not fit in the round grave hole. I liked the box. It protected Orby’s body from getting dirty. All of it would decompose except his pink heart metal tag with both our names on it, and my phone number. I picked up the shovel I had left there, and chopped into the dirt sidewalls to square it up. Shouldn’t have with my tender stitches, but I did. I used my right hand and foot to dig it out. It took awhile, but I finally got the box to fit right. And then I placed the root ball of the plum tree right next to the box and filled Orbits resting spot with dirt.

I sat on the bank for awhile. Evening was creeping in. I gazed upon the serenity view my property gifted me. “Vista Bonita” was a perfect place for Orbit to rest. I then looked at another tree close by Orbit’s grave. It was a cheery tree I had planted over 2 months ago. Orbit got his wish of being by a cherry tree after all.

Lunar met me at the bottom of the hill and we went inside to eat some sort of dinner. Lunar had now lost 3 best buddies in his 8 years. His brother Sox. Our beloved Toby. And now Mr. Orbit. Lunar said he would miss Orbit, but he too was relieved. I think Lunar needs a break from playing nurse kitty. We both need to enjoy life for awhile. We are alone once again. Orbit’s vacancy creates a huge hole. It is only time that heals this. We will be fine.

The last 2 years had been wicked really. Physically-mentally-emotionally-spiritually. I held much gratitude in my heart, but have been challenged with much for too long. My spirit guides have relayed the Equinox, June 21 will begin anew for me. A switch. Nicer weather; my house, barn, and fencing getting done fast. Plus the summer will bring fun… whatever that means because I cannot imagine it at this point.

Time will heal my aches for missing Mr. Orbit. My guides tell me he is home with them now. That he absolutely and dearly LOVED-APPRECIATED the life he lived with Lunar and I. We so cherished him. I know we will see him sitting in his brilliant orange coat alongside Lunar on my new house deck one day soon. This was a vision given to me over a week ago. That is why I thought there was hope. I never know when these visions will be complete until it is. I do have inklings, but have too many to keep track of. So now I don’t.

I cannot count all the blessings Mr. Orbit bestowed. He was a quiet soul with a huge heart. Mr. Orbit’s name came from his helicopter tail, but also it means what goes around comes around. He was the reincarnation of my Bella kitty lost in 2014. All of my animals have returned to me two, or more times now. As is typical on the heels of Orby’s demise, the vision of our next family member is on it’s way. I really cannot deal with putting another pet down. It is just so difficult to love so deep, and then lose my family. But, I also know a life without their love is no life for me. It sucks to be clairvoyant. However, in my darkest of times it has shimmered hope by giving me glimpses, of a happier future ahead. And, this is what keeps me in this game we call life.

Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.
No reprints or copying without permission of the author, Patty Ann.

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Send Only Positive Messages to Grieving Animals

Animals become
sad, depressed,
and grieve just as
much as humans.

When you tune
into an animals
grief you may feel
quite overwhelmed
with their heartbreak.

Animals become distraught for a variety of reasons. For instance, a goat losing its only pasture mate may bleat-cry for days. A routinely confined horse shows nothing, but is numb from depression. A companion animal develops anxiety when their owner dies. Or, when a family dog is abandoned at the humane society, or worse, she/he is confused and distressed. Animals feel loss as much as we do.

When you see an upset animal, you can help!
** Quiet and center yourself.
** Use your breath to relax.
** Focus on the animal.
** Open and soften your heart.
** Send sincere positive heartfelt emotion transmitted by your soul energy.

And send a message to….

1.♥ Acknowledge his/her state with compassion and empathy.
2.♥ Tell them you appreciate them- and their feelings.
3.♥ Thank them for sharing their emotions.
4.♥ Send gratitude for their honesty and beauty.
5.♥ Tell them they have value and are beautiful as they are.

NOTE >> DO NOT send a grieving animal sympathy, feel sorry for- or feel bad for them, as you might a human friend. Animals do not benefit from this type of human communication. While you may believe you are showing compassion, you are actually keeping a troubled animal in their uneasy spot.

Instead, acknowledge them, and their situation. Let them know you understand. Then move on. And send positive vibes of gratitude and worthiness. This will help an upset or anxious animal immensely. Your empathetic state of well being will lift another, even if temporary.

When you cannot fix a situation, just sending an acknowledgment is HUGE.

Learn to communicate with your pets and other animals on a deeper level of resonance! It is a language of reciprocal respect that comes from your heart–and quite easy to learn!

Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.
No reprints or copying without permission of the author, Patty Ann.

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Tribute to MY River Dog

The first time I ever laid eyes on Toby
he was bouncing around the play yard at
the Humane Society. At 3 months old he was
fearless, happy, and had way too much energy.

I absolutely knew that I’d fall totally in love
with him. And, a day would come too soon,
when my heart would break.

I actually weighed and pondered this thought
right then. And made a decision: It was worth
the risk. There was some-thing unique—
and special about this overtly friendly pup.

What is a Dog’s Life Worth?

An abandoned river dog, Toby was found by a good Samaritan at the river when he was just 3 weeks old. Too young to make it on his own, Toby most likely was the only survivor of his litter. As a result Toby was filled with anxiety. Truth be told, at that time I had the same issue. We bonded quickly. Over time we healed from our anxieties together. And yet, because Toby was my shadow, and rarely let me out of his sight, I always worried. That his heart that might refill with abandonment anxieties during my rare overnight absences. Even when he was left in good hands. Eventually, Toby was given 2 brother cats which quelled his solo angst immensely.

Eight applications were on file already at the Humane Society asking to adopt this wide eyed puppy doll. Several had been interviewed and home checked. Scrutinizing me, the interviewer told me to take Toby home right then and there. I had not brought a carrier, and had no leash. Nothing because I knew there was a 2 week waiting period. She waved their customary home check, simply eyed me and said, “He needs to go home with YOU. Today.” It was apparent she saw their special puppy now had met his perfect match in me.

Toby (12) Toby (4) Toby (11)

From 6 months of age Toby was socialized through obedience training with the intention to become a therapy dog. True to Toby, he passed his therapy dog certification with high accolades. Toby loved our weekly therapy dog visits at the VA hospital. He was the only one to wrestle on the floor with the veterans. If we missed a week the guys all asked where “Toby” had been. They never learned my name.

Toby loved to run. And jump. Particularly my four foot fences. I raised my fences higher. I hot-wired them. Toby was revealing he needed to focus his energy. We started agility training. The river dog took to it like water. True agility dogs are born, or rather, are destined for this sport. Toby excelled. His love for jumping and running, plus four years of agility training, found him to be an instant rising star. This newcomer turned heads. This year: 2017 was to be TOBY’s agility year. With mounting qualifying scores and his weave poles mastered, Toby was ripe to title numerous times.

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River dog Toby was often openly invited to hike the trails with the numerous hiking clubs ‘we’ belonged to. He wore his own backpack proudly, packing his own essentials. He was loved and adored by all his hiking peers for his enthusiasm, temperament, and amazing trail behaviors. He was our guardian. The Border Collie in him was always watching. Always making sure, waiting- and accounting for every last hiker, on every hike. Every Rogue Valley trail has seen Toby’s paw- and my foot-print side by side.

Toby was well traveled. He went everywhere with me. Everywhere that didn’t require air transport. He helped my family heal during my mother’s passing. He was a welcomed and an honored guest wherever we went. Upon arrivals, first comments were typically: “Where’s Toby?”

Toby had tons of dog friends. Somehow Toby’s energy transformed the broken and the meanest of canines. Toby didn’t care about their human issues, he cared about them as dogs- and as playmates. His joyousness was infectious. To Toby, absolutely everything was about fun. He was always happy.

Toby (6) Toby (45) Toby (23)

Toby never missed horse feeding time at the barn. Mornings, he would accompany JD and Lily out to pasture, and secure their safety before returning to me. Trail rides were Toby’s highlight. He would follow in Lily and JD’s horse tracks right underneath their tails. The horses were confident with Toby as their scout. And, they followed him into any questionable- or hidden trail.

Toby loved going to Denman Park. A place where he could run and swim the river to his hearts content. Although, his first river crossing was met with desperate howls and a refusal to follow us across. So my riding buddies returned back to Toby’s riverbank, then searched down stream for a shallow spot to build his confidence. Thereafter, Toby became a true river dog. Swimming endless times back and forth, in lieu of our one horse crossing.

The river dog loved water so much I built him a pond in my backyard. It was only Toby chest deep, but he spent hours circling its circumference, tail wagging wildly, and looking endlessly into its depths. One time he actually surprised himself when he caught a fish. Wiggling in his mouth it was quickly released back to his pond.

Toby (14)a Toby (29)a Toby (30)

There was not a day that Toby did not run my property for the pure joy of it. Or accompany me to the store just for the car ride. Dare I walk our road- or visit neighbors without him. His howls could be heard from down the road.

Ocean trips, the sand, and running in the surf were his thrills. Toby loved his cats and they attached to him like glue. They even took on Toby’s behaviors- and acted just like him!

It is true. Toby was spoiled. Whenever a visitor came to the house he believed they were there just for him. Claiming the center of attention Toby would disembowel his stuffed toys. Often he would toss them about- then fling his toys straight at guests. Impressively, always just missing their heads!

Every night he’d cuddle up next to me on the couch, often with one or both of his kitties curled inside his grooves. Head in my lap, often I would read or watch Netflix. If animal shows were on, Toby would pounce off the sofa and down the hall to find them. Or, he would peer around the backside of the TV to figure out where they went.

Toby adored all creatures, no matter their size or genre. He was a gentle soul, without a malicious intent. When challenged or provoked, Toby’s response was to smile and wag his tag. Although dare another harm his friends. Once, in a group training a large poodle blatantly ran down Toby’s best friend, a much smaller Cavalier, in an attempt to devour him. From across the arena, Toby saw this and broke free. With agility speed Toby intervened in a nick of time. That was Toby’s way: Loyal to his friends.

Toby (8) Toby (2) Toby (16)

Every person and every animal was enhanced and impacted by Toby’s exuberance for life. He left no stone unturned. Nothing unexplored. Nothing undone.

Toby was the love of my life. HE WAS MY LIFE. I was- and am honored to have had that much Unconditional Love and Loyalty at a time when I needed it most. Virtues that I never believed could be possible, much less experienced from another being, in my lifetime.

Except for memories, our chapter is now closed. There will be no more agility trials. No more trail rides. No more of US hiking the Rogue Valley. No more nightly couch cuddles. No more good morning wake up licks. No more bed hogging. No more therapy dog sessions for me- or for others. And, no more river crossings.

So how do I measure Toby’s worth? In terms of his endless blessings? Immeasurable. In terms of an endearing friendship? Infinite. In terms of family? He was my child. How does one put a price on family? Toby’s worth is Incalculable. His fifth year of life is now finalized. Irreversible and definitive.

Toby’s worth is- and will always be irreplaceable, eternal.

Toby (44) Toby (18)a Toby (42)

And, it was to the credit of my River Dog Toby, who inspired my mission of passion: Patty Ann’s Pet Project.

For 4 years Toby cuddled against me on our couch, or curled up at my feet, as I wrote every single book listed on this site. Many of my books reflect Toby’s lessons and silly antics. He even has a few books starring himself~! Toby’s photos, and his examples for living are chronicled, and often interwoven inside some of my toughest life journeys.

All sale proceeds from go to Patty Ann’s Pet Project which donates to rescue groups that save the unfortunate. Most are abandoned animals with physical, spiritual and mental scars. Because of Toby, donations now go to some amazing folks who save throw away river dogs much like him. My intention is that other animals will get their forever home and experience the life much like Toby had.

Toby (38) Toby (33) Toby (36)

As typical of Toby’s example for living life, he continued to teach others, profoundly, through his death. Words don’t teach. Consequences do. Our choices are a testament to this fact.

On a typical Sunday morning Toby and I returned from barn duty. As typical Toby wanted back out to his well fenced backyard. Also, as typical I went to check my morning emails.

His fate was preordained at hands of others to which unfolded fast. Despite strict warnings to my RV tenants to NOT let Toby beyond my gates; absent of thought, once again, they let Toby out front. Over the past year our neighborhood had held much animosity towards speeders disregarding community safety. Not only was my gate left open, but one of these speeders hit Toby dead, and ran off.

I asked the universe the day I brought my Toby home: “Please do not let him suffer when his day comes.” My wish was granted. It was so swift I didn’t even hear him yelp from inside my house. But I knew. You always know when a part of your soul dies.

As serendipity would have her way, a string of events unfolded. Immediately I summoned law enforcement. Within the hour they came. Even before we buried Toby. So the Deputy got to view the heart of my soul, forever asleep. My neighbors surveillance camera identified the hit and run car that came from our dead end road. The Deputy took photos from the surveillance camera, and the matching tire tracks leading to the road scuff where Toby died…not a foot off my property. The Deputy said a hit and run equals a year in jail. He set the expectation of a speedy apprehension.

As of this writing the driver is still at large, and most likely will remain so. Numerous, anonymous –and exacting leads were directed to this Deputy in charge. And yet, Toby’s case has been severely disregarded; dismissed just like the rest of our neighbor law enforcement pleas. It is sadly apparent, The Worth of a Dog’s Life is of no consequence according to the Medford Sheriff. Many letters were written-not just by me. I had hoped that Toby’s life–and particularly his senseless death–would give pause to other’s consciousness to make amends. I would have appreciated giving a ending of reposed closure to my dog’s life well lived.

Toby (47) Toby (46)

My property now sits quiet. A severed friendship violated by lack of respect and trust, now finds my RV spot empty. My land is void of robust energy. Only a mound in my garden remains. Toby’s toys, his neon orange winter coat, his hiking pack, assorted hanky neck ties and his agility ribbons and prizes remain. Now all boxed and put away. Toby’s only legacy, besides these words of homage, are those who are left remembering… with his paw imprinted upon their hearts.

Toby’s love for this life was his ultimate sacrifice to get others to LISTEN. He is granting others the biggest opportunity of their lives to learn, grow, benefit and mostly heal. I do hope all involved embraces and integrates Toby’s teachings. Am I angry with the violators? Temporarily. However, in keeping with Toby’s selfless lessons, any transgression only punishes me. We humans struggle with much. Mostly with our learned behaviors that do not serve us. Leave it to our furry friends to help us out. Consequentially, I do desire that Toby’s co-conspirators find peace and resolve. Death calls us all. But, worse than death is not heeding our lessons; not taking responsibility for our actions; and not ascending ourselves.

And last, there are no coincidences. After several months in the making, just one day prior I had finally uploaded Beyond the Rainbow Bridge on YouTube. It is a tribute to Sox who passed six months earlier, and Toby is central to this video along with Lunar, who is the only one now left of this trio. Lunar is adjusting to life without Toby, as am I.

Toby (41)Picture Taken 3 Months Prior
Toby (43) End of Our Trail.
There Are NO Returns.

My river dog now swims free and runs wild under the wing of the wind.
RIP Toby Until Our Paths Meet Again. October 1, 2011 ~ January 15, 2017

What is a Dog’s Life Worth?
Perhaps the question is: What is any animal’s life worth to you?

Written March 15, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

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For the Love of One Horse

Have you ever had
That one special horse
Who knew your
Heart & Soul?
Who spent their life
Journey alongside yours?

This was mine.

Owed 2 Ab ~ 33 & Forever Free

I bid my best friend a final farewell today.
As a firstborn child remembered, He won’t go away.

Our memories not forgotten, as I hold them near,
Just like our first encounter when we met in yesteryear.

I was the only one to enter His stall corridor that day.
He was the only one to peer out and down the aisle my way.

In those first eternal moments I bought Him sight unseen.
It was fate merging our paths with a cause and a mean.

My Dream Horse shone like a new copper penny,
Trimmed in a golden mane and tail He stood out among many.

Gentle, forgiving, curious, yet strong,
He challenged me to new heights and brought me along.

Like my own spirit there were times He bucked hard,
Yet He returned to me always, where He stood over guard.

My seat learned secure with a sense of balance, held firm,
And although grounded often, my respect for Him He did earn.

His rocking-horse canter floated upon air,
Extending and releasing like elastic, without a care.

As always, I held His soft mouth tender as we rode.
He wore His rubber-egg butt proudly, as we had last strode.

At 15 point 1 His package was small.
Yet He felt so very big—so absolutely tall.

Who knew He flew with the birds, and had their wings of flight?
As He could run with the wind blowing at the speed of light.

And we ran and we jumped, as one does just for joy,
As a gazelle might and would, over life’s hurdles, oh boy!

Others came and went, but He stayed, sharing more than half my life.
He laughed with me, cried with me, and consoled me in my times of strife.

He raised me up into the person I’ve become,
As I bore and raised my own children, and then some.

Known to all as ‘Good ole Ab,’ He fostered novice riders along,
Making them confident in character—they too grew strong.

He taught me, my friends, children et al,
That just being is beauty, and honesty stands tall.

Among His herd He roamed independent and free.
Like me, Abba belonged to no one, only to thee.

His life made full, brought mine complete.
Our journey saw too soon where our trail end would meet.

The best I could do was offer Him His lifetime home,
But His real reward lay across heaven’s gate alone.

He taught me to listen, then told me when.
It was His time to go, but He would see me again.

This morning, I saw a shiny new copper penny.
It fell out of my pocket and onto the floor like many.

But this one stood alone, both shiny and bright,
As a symbol of his freedom that lived long in this light.

With the breeze at our backs, Ab took one final buck,
In the world He so loved; I wished upon Him a final good luck.

As my friend laid my friend ever so gently to earth,
The breeze carried His spirit into the land of new birth.

I don’t pray to the Lord for His soul to keep,
Because He rests inside me eternally, for mine to reap.

Thank you Abdaar Fadan for the gifts that you gave,
No longer must you play a part here, as you rest in your grave.

Single handed you raised JD into your mirror of a special horse.
And in His turn, and by your guidance, He has taught Lily your course.

Together your herd stands solemn over your final resting spot,
Knowing you go before them, leading the way—and you found your way out.

Freedom rides high and rewards those who deserve it,
And you, my dear friend, won yours, as heaven assures it.

Each morning I will hear your soft nickering voice.
Each night you will trail in; I will miss seeing you, but respect your choice.

And when my time comes, I know you’ll be there standing at my gate,
Peering out once again down our aisle, impatiently, wondering if I’m late.

To toss at me, push at me, burrowing your head deep,
To make sure I am listening, looking up ahead, and am not asleep.

No farewells to you, My Dear Sweet Old Friend,
As your heart and soul live on inside me, to my final of no end.

Registered as “Abdaar Fadan” aka “Ab,” “Abba,” and “Good ole Ab.”
Born May 12, 1976—As remembered this 28th Day of January 2010

Original Poem in my book Abba. Life. Love. Letting Go.
Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved. Permission ONLY Reprints from Patty

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Take the PET REMEDY to Refocus & Relax

As the fingers of the coronavirus reach out to impact our lives, much uncertainty abounds. Every industry and beyond is at an unprecedented crossroads considering what comes next. Among those affected are the thousands of school closures sending faculty, staff, admins, plus many more students home as a precaution.

In the midst of this confusion it’s prudent to be proactive.
Focus points of interest help children and teens, because (re)directing disquieting thoughts can turn into positive adventures. Thus, there is no better helper waiting than your family pets, large and small.

So what can you do as a parent, mentor, guardian or teacher?
Keep your students (or child’s) attention focused during times of unrest. And, one solution is to interact with animals! For many pet owners, nothing is more emotionally stabilizing- and healing, than the unconditional love offered by our pets. Or just as significant, times spent in nature observing and enjoying wildlife.

Offered here are some ideas, suggestions, and educational opportunities,
for students who may need a healthy diversion, or a schedule for stability:

  • Have children attend the family pet needs. Animal care tasks not only instills responsibility, it provides purpose and a secure place of belonging when routines are disrupted. Pet care should not stop at daily feedings. Have your child exercise the family dog(s), or play with their cat. This time is beneficial for both pets and their humans to decompress. Make sure to consider animal disposition to a child’s capability in terms of a good fit, so a positive outcome results in bonding.
  • Now may be the time to forgo the household ‘pet rules’. The unconditional presence of animals helps to absorb and quell angst. Allow the family dogs to cuddle on the couch with your kids. Or sleep in bed with them. Apply the same with cats. Although, often cats never wait for an invitation because they train us! 🙂
  • If you have farm animals, or have access to a neighbor’s ranch enlist their help. Often farm friend’s welcome help with feeding, stall cleaning, grooming and much more. There is an abundance of joy in the spring when kid goats, baby lambs, calves and foals are born. A fresh perspective is a true gift to give to a child. Along with the possibly of a new charge to look after, or even becoming a hired helper. It’s wise to call your neighboring farm first, before showing up on their doorstep!
  • Animal shelters and pet rescues welcome an extra set of hands. Many shelters need dog walkers, groomers, feeders and assistants. This is a perfect opportunity to expose students to other animal breeds, and possibly a future career. Wildlife sanctuaries specialize in a variety, or a specific species. From bobcats and bears, to raptors and birds of prey, or even possums, raccoons and skunks! Check shelter websites for visitations and volunteer policies before assuming they are open to the public during this time.
  • A simple bird seed- or hummingbird feeder hanging by a window can offer hours of restful watching. Wildlife happens everywhere if you look for it. Even in the city. Or propagated. Such as setting up a fish tank, getting gerbils or guinea pigs. As well, backyard chickens can supply fresh eggs! There are many animals waiting to provide charitable opportunities to humans needing a calm repose, relaxation, and/or renewal.

Often simple solutions are gifted to us from our 4 legged- or feathered friends. Animals impart healthy wisdom by living in the moment of NOW and ACCEPTING WHAT IS.
An excellent lesson at this time that we all should heed. Wendell Berry provides an appropriate summary to this article with his insightful poem, “The Peace of Wild Things”.

“The Peace of Wild Things”
by Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me and
I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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Copyright 2020 by Patty Ann – Article Reprints Granted by Permission Only.

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For the Love of Animals

Growing up dinners were meat
and potatoes. Salad was a side dish.
Tasteless iceberg lettuce leaves.
And a dalop of bottled dressing.
That is how it was.

Now my dinners are salads.
Deliciously accessorized. With dried
cranberries. Raisins. Almonds. Mandarin
orange slices. Chopped apples, carrots
and broccoli. The leaves of spinach.Sometimes,
its dabbed with dressing. Homemade.

Truth be Told-My Version

Writing an article of this nature was inconceivable 20 years ago. But personal journeys are too compelling to ignore. And this is one begs to shout out.

Lifetime habits and media marketing convinced me that our bodies would wither without protein. And meat was the only way to get it. Learned behaviors followed. Even raised my adult kids to follow suit. Hotdogs filled with animal beaks, feet, organs, skin. The left overs. The stuff that grosses us out. The jerky and pepperoni sticks. Then there was that Oscar Meyer Wiener Song. Still have that song stuck in my trained head.

Honestly I tried to cut down on meat consumption. “Try” is a word that means “Failed at”. When a spouse is a carnivore. When your children want to fit in. Foregoing meat is asking for a peer reduction. Now, it’s perhaps not as radically alienating as previous times. But people still raise eye brows when saying you don’t eat meat. It’s like announcing you are moving to the Arctic Circle. As in: Why would you do that? Lunch and dinner invites dwindle. It can make others feel uncomfortable. Often friends think us vegetarians are judging them. I don’t. Everyone has their own path for what is right for them. And I tell my friends this often. Even for other topics outside their meal habits.

For the Love of Animals?

My family of origin and the thereafter LOVES animals. We are fanatical about our four legged fur friends. We coddle, hug, and love on our pets. And adamantly claim our love for all animals. Then sit down to dinner and eat one. Somehow we justified this. Because it came wrapped pretty in cellophane. The true story of that cow we ate, was ignored. It never happened. It was easy to separate our fur babies out from those who really kept us alive. I began to wonder. How could I honor my own animals and not these others? Wasn’t it logical to have the same reverence for all animals? This challenging thought began banging around in my head.

Learned habits do not make conscious connections easy. Conduct has its own mindset to which we apparently are puppeteered. Once I entered solo living there came space to examine a whole lot in myself. Such as? My habits. Entrenched learned behaviors. False beliefs. And, ah–yes, robotic thoughts that lead to all that.

Really. I had longed to not eat meat. And. There was no more blaming a family that I no longer had. Morally, intrinsically it felt wrong to cannibalize another living being to use its “protein” to gratify my body. I mean: What was I thinking. More so, what had I been taught?

The Dawning of Differences

As I aligned consciously I began to taste differences. Namely between organic and store bought meats. The latter tasted plastic. As if fed filled with growth hormones or worse. I was aware of feedlots as a child. Specifically when my parents drove by that section on Highway 90. Staring out the back seat window I was horrified. Cows in dung filled lots waiting. Eating their own feces. Waiting some more. I wondered if they knew. It hurt my gut to look upon them knowing. And yet I ate meat. The veil pulled back over my eyes. As long as I chose not to see them as conscious living beings, cow eating was not a sin.

Human consumption of meat is voracious. And, nowadays at an all-time high. Meat animals are now processed no better than fast food. I often wonder if animal souls stand beside their abused bodies while waiting their execution.

Okay. I know about now I’ve lost readers. Maybe even some friends. But know this: I do NOT condemn anyone for the choices they make. I have many meat eating friends; including my children! Does that make them bad people? NO! Truth be told, I fall of my soapbox once in a blue moon. Evolution takes time. Rome was not built in a day.

Benefits Behold

While pursuing meat free sainthood I discovered amazing side effects. Namely for my health. A plant based diet afforded me far more energy than I ever imagined. Also, clarity of mind. Regular intestinal flow. Okay I’ll say it > BMs. Additionally, I by pass doctors. Haven’t seen one in years.

And to trump popular opinion, it IS less expensive to eat fruit, veggies, nuts, legumes. You’d be surprised where protein can be found in foods. Once I no longer visited the meat counter a whole new world of other foods appeared. Its abundant and plentiful.

World Concerns

Growing animals for food is not earth sustainable. The amount of land rape to accommodate harvesting meat has severe consequences to our climate. The sheer non-logic of what humans do is nonsensical. Humans are genetically designed for a plant diet. Why use an intermediary animal to process plants that are designed to go directly to us? Nowadays animals are not eating proper plant nutrients because they are abused for consumption. Pumped with hormones and faux foods. What is natural about this insanity? Do you realize growing plants vertically in buildings consumes far less resources and land?

The Contrast Continues

Sometimes I think animal consciousness will rebel and co-conspire to poison the human race. But in fact, it is humans who are doing it to themselves via an inhumane model!

This is not one of my soft and sweeter blogs. It’s blatant. I own it. But I do hope its enlightened you to eat less animal meat. Or to buy organic if possible. At the minimum bless and thank the animal you eat each and every time. After all a bit of good intention prevails over none at all. 😉

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
No reprints or copying without permission of the author, Patty Ann.

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Our Beloved Horses: Their Passages Through Grace Reveals Blessings

There are days among our ordinary lives that become extraordinary. Transition points. Defining moments. Miraculous and blessed.

One yesterday morning a year ago, I aroused from a deep sleep to slip right into a slice of heaven. My being was filled with love. So encompassing. So endearing. So awakening. I just basked in it. Soaked it dry.

I have had many of these amazing moments. I will tell you they are far better and beyond that of any earthly pleasure. These portholes open gently. Graciously embrace and swaddle with pure unconditional love. Waves of nirvana, happiness, freedom wash through every cell of my being. And with it comes a certain eternalness of knowing it comes from elsewhere—and another; most certainly from beyond. Definitively this slice of heaven is sharing what it’s like to go home.

Thereafter, I got up carrying this moment of bliss. It was 5am. Because my thoughts were about JD- and Lily, I looked out to the barn and listened. All was quiet and undisturbed, so I decided to go back to bed and sleep a bit more. Finally woke up at 8am. Showered. Put Mr. Orbit and Lunar outside as I went to feed my two horses.

I threw hay in the stall mangers. And as always, did a morning scan for good health. Horse habits you know. JD was outside against the paddock panel fence. Not coming in for breakfast to which he is always awaiting with a whinny greeting.

Concerned, I walked out to him. My heart sank. He breathing was labored and he was listless. It was serious. I put his halter on and walked him out to the arena behind the barn. He didn’t want to move. I went to get a thermometer. When I got back he had progressed to shaking. Mucus came from his nose. Instantly I ran in and got my cell phone and called my vet. It was JD’s time. I surmised, once he saw me it was okay to let go. And die.

It was 9:05am and the vet office said they were closed. So I rang through to the emergency number. I got a call back within minutes from their newest vet; a young, competent gal.

It started to rain. I brought JD out of the arena into the barn’s open carport. He had few steps left in him. I assured JD I would help him out of this life and into the next, soon. He just leaned his head into my chest as I stroked his forelock and his ears. Tremors shook him. His head drooped. Labored breathing, his legs posed to collapse. JD was having a seizure. The result of a 9 month vigil with old age end stages. Lymphoma had slowly consumed his body although initial blood tests indicated all functions were normal.

I knew then that early morn slice of heaven came from JD. I know firsthand when great pain comes, our consciousness leaves our body behind to do the physical work. JD sent his love to me while he could; still had the presence of earth energy to do so. This was not my first time to feel this type of trans-formative energy. I thought once again: how reassuring that our consciousness is able to crossover first, leaving the body to finish earthly transitions in a lucid trance-like state.

The vet came ready with the injection serum pre-measured and loaded. Not ten minutes later JD lay quietly at our feet. Immediately injected, JD succumbed quickly. Right where we got him to take his final few steps. A spot right in front of his barn, where the truck later could pick his body up easily. And where Lily could see him in the adjacent stall and pasture 20 feet away.

I asked this new vet if she had ever seen a soul leave a horse’s body that she put down. She thought pensively. “Once,” she said. “Straight after putting one down, the herd of horses began following something, maybe the soul body. The herd left the carcass behind.” I revealed I could see-perceive soul transitions. An interesting conversation ensued.

She asked me what to look for. Told her that on larger animals I saw the body double. As we talked I began to see JD ‘double’. I explained what I saw to her. She tried to see what I saw, but could not. I told her everyone perceives very differently. I happen to see-perceive the “body breathing”. This body doubling was my way of knowing JD’s soul was still attached to his physical self. He was not quite ready to exit his body, even though his body continued to die organically beyond that of his expired brain and heart. Our bodies are still organisms that even though clinically dead continue to live in many ways. Even up to- and through decomposition.

The vet waited with me as I talked about vibrational energy; a rich energy field full of varied frequencies everyone is capable of tapping into. This young vet with technical know how, was receptive. I told her she possessed a gift she could share to ease her clients concerns during these tough moments. Most vets are too occupied with the clinical aspects. That a bit of transition knowledge would not only help a client, but their horse as it crossed over. By putting grief aside momentarily, an owner can help release their horse graciously. With focus on sending it pure love. And, by appreciating and thanking their partner for sharing their life with them; including this ultimate and final lesson. Beloved animals still hear their loved ones-and even more so in this transition state. What a wonderful way to send a treasured friend off than to gift it with love and release, while suspending one’s own discomfort and grief—and beliefs.

I continued to see JD’s ‘breathing’. Witnessed his ethereal head raise twice, only to relax back down. We waited. I told her that animals, much like humans, pick their death times as well as their soul departures. In fact it could take hours or minutes to transition. I closed my eyes and asked when. My guides answered back: “Just You” “Subtle” and “Awhile”. I understood. This made sense.

The vet had another appointment and didn’t want to leave. Yet, her obligation presided. Her attending JD was no coincidence. Previously I had seen-envisioned this conversation at this juncture with one who was to be open-minded.

After the vet left the sun came out to create a perfect spring day with a slight breeze. I took up the task of clipping JD’s mane and tail hair off. Carefully banding it. Placing it in a box. I knew his soul was still present; breathing. I told JD he could cross over anytime. I led Lily out to see him, but she didn’t. Often horses ignore the body once dead. She gazed past him. Then ate grass nearby.

Lily appeared fine with the status of her long-time soulmate. She grew accustomed to his sick moments over the last months, often separating off from JD on his tired days. An innate survival instinct. I put her back in the pasture where she could visit from 20 feet away. And she did throughout the day.

I didn’t know exactly when JD’s soul body would transition. I did know he’d tell me, somehow. His energy did not feel ‘full’. This made sense as the larger part of him—his conscious self had transitioned early that morning. The residual left behind was his soul essence. Interesting concept to entertain. That his source self had split his energy in two parts: his conscious mind and his soul body.

Most of us, including myself, think of the soul and consciousness as being one and the same. I’ve come to know and recognize that free will deems how we wish to be born; and how we wish to die. It is a comforting thought when thinking about loved ones who endure a physically harsh death. That the pain body can be left to do the outward work of dying, while their consciousness, the larger part of them is set free.

Decidedly I would call the pickup van to come out in a few hours. Surely JD would transition fully by then. My phone lit up the numbers 11:11am. Perfection. When I am aligned with spirit, double and triple sequences of numbers show up. Four ones validated my ethereal listening skills. The transport gal said they couldn’t come out until 4pm. Another perfect time, that allowed no rush.

JD’s soul was still parked inside waiting. I set about major stall and barn cleaning. It took awhile. As I finished up JD’s stall I stood outside of it. Looked over to his body wondering when. From the left a black dog walked quietly, with head low right up to JD’s back. And sniffed. It was my crossed over TOBY! Of course! Toby’s grave was only 30 feet away in the garden. He looked straight on at me. I said in my head, “Toby, can you show JD the way? He needs some help. Please?” And, Toby perked up. His tail wagged. His ears went up. He put on his slap happy grin with his tongue hanging out that showed anticipation for a job to do. And then he disappeared. Toby had always shown JD and Lily the way ahead, blazing all the trails we rode together.

I resumed cleaning outside the front of JD’s stall. There was scats of hay. I was sweeping the granite dirt floor clean. My mind was empty. It was then at my right elbow I felt a huge quiet presence. I looked up to sense JD’s celestial body, a bright translucent light was shining large. I looked over at his earth body. It appeared abandoned. My earth brain thought momentarily. And entered a doubt because I had been waiting a long time for a hint. And then my eyes caught something outside JD’s stall door; in the paddock where I found JD that morning. On the top rail of the bright red tubing of my corral panel landed a black raven. I didn’t recall ever seeing a raven on my property. It looked straight at me. Squawked at me loudly! As if scolding I should know better. JD had sent it to validate that he was indeed out: FREE. As soon as I acknowledged this truth the raven flew off.

JD’s transition had been for “Only Me”. And it was very “Subtle”. I would have missed it if the vet, or any other, had been near to distract me. And it also took “Awhile”. I looked at my phone it said 12:39. These numbers made sense too. A sequence of 1-2-3. The 9 is a completion number.

The day was warm. It had a very slight breeze. However, after JD transitioned the breeze turned into gusts so strong the trees bent and swayed. My one stall with a wood door was flapping wildly, so much so I had to secure it shut. My yard came alive. Nature seemed to be manifesting ONLY on my property. I went over to JD’s body. Around him there was NO wind, yet his spot felt terribly odd. Like his body was the silent eye of a swirling vortex that surrounded the both of us.

I was impulsed to walk out to JD’s paddock. I looked into his deep 100 gallon water trough now about half full. And stared at it. The water was sloshing back and forth. Like the winds would rough up ocean waves in a fury. Yet, the tall trough sides should have shielded the water down inside it—but it was tossing about. And then I asked, “JD are you playing with the water?” He use to dip his full head in his trough to splash and slosh the water out almost emptying the bucket. And, then with that thought released, instantly the water waves died down to calm. The winds that had come in swiftly, disappeared just as abruptly. JD’s spirit had talked to me because I was listening.

I spent the rest of the day doing driveway weeding. There were times I looked over at JD and saw what Lily must have seen earlier: nothing. I did not see his physical body. I was fine being totally alone on his final day. Where I could receive JD’s messages. I did see him standing in random places for a few seconds here and there. The horse next door, part of the herd of 3, whined for JD off and on for the rest of the day. Lily only whinnied back at their friend once. She didn’t whinny or fuss otherwise.

Four o’clock came and so did the pick up truck. It was a one ton with a high box bed, a tail gate that dropped to the ground, and a winch. A gentle middle aged couple came to pick up. JD’s body would be buried on their neighbor’s property overlooking the Rogue River. He provided the land and had the equipment to bury. A smart joint venture. They said he used his graveyard pasture for his cows to graze as the grass grew rich. It was perfectly fitting for JD, my old cow penning pony.

Lily knew something was amiss. Was eyeing the truck. But as I chatted with this lovely couple, Lily got rather bored. Accustomed. They started hoisting JD into the truck so I went and got Lily and took her out back for a walk. She knew. Understood.

We stood watching the truck drive off to the east down our gravel road. Do you know what appeared? A precisely well placed rainbow rose high and arched wide over the road JD had just traveled while leaving. JD’s Rainbow thick with colors landed in the fields on opposite sides of the road! One that did not go unnoticed. It had caught my neighbor’s eye while driving home on our road, as she mentioned it was surreal and appropriate. Coincidence? No. Nature is perfect and complete.

I put Lily in JD’s stall. Truth is, they both used this stall a lot. It was their hangout spot. I fed her and stayed with her as the evening crawled in. Lily seemed to accept that it was just her now. I walked to the house. JD’s ethereal body was standing at the driveway gate. He had followed his body out to its resting spot, then his soul returned home.

I looked back at Lily. She was not eating. Instead she was looking intently out in the pasture. Her reaction was the same as the day Toby emerged in his spirit body. Lily recognized JD. She was not upset, rather mystified with JD’s new look. She started snorting and blowing through her nostrils at full attention.

As dusk came Lily started missing JD. For the first time Lily persistently called out with loud ‘Where are you?’ neighs. This went on for ten minutes. She was distressed. Then Lily fell silent. I am positive JD returned and stayed by her side all night. Because my property felt full, not empty that night. And Lily never let out one whinny again.

The prior week had been restless. I felt a change was imminent. The little signs were constant. JD had been happy, resolved. Comfortably so. He did his routines. Ate well every day. Had his normal afternoon nap. Ate heartily his meal the night before. His last three weeks were without any visible distress. Infested with cancer, yet JD had done well on the probiotics administered; better than I could have imaged or expected. It almost gave me false hope that all along it could have been a low grade colic. One always hopes. Denial comes too easy.

I did get one wish. That JD just surprise me one morning. And that was exactly the case. But more so, I wanted to be there for him. Witness, feel and be present with the miracle of his transition. JD and the heavens above blessed me with plenty.

I slept solid that night and woke early so I let Lily out in the pasture at dawn. She went to her friend, who met her at their fence line. The mares touched noses. It looked like they were having a long JD chat. They resumed eating grass together, on opposite sides of the fence the rest of that day.

That day I cried, some. Mostly from the burden of pent up stress from the last 6 months knowing. JD leaves one stall empty now. And a huge vacancy in the barn. Yet, I felt him outside everywhere for months thereafter. 27 years young he flew from his physicality back into the energy fields that surround us.

I met JD when he was 4 years old. That day I was helping a friend select her next horses. After riding JD, young and green with a sharp mind, I recommended to my friend: buy him. Twenty one of those years JD flew under my wing after my friend dispersed her herd and gifted him to me a few years later. JD had an uncanny common sense. Cow sense, people sense, horse sense. Yet, he could have easily ended up at an auction; slaughtered for meat. See, JD came with a rearing issue after bullying my friend and those who desired to ride him. I took him on because we were meant to be. And told my friend, she would not recognize him in two years. He just needed a leader to follow.

JD proved to be an excellent parade horse. In fact loved it. On parade days he preened as he waltzed down the procession corridor. Often leading our group carrying the American flag, no less! He excelled as a gymkhana competitor: a valley champ, 5 years running. Proved himself again after 6 years off; turning heads as a newcomer in another state where I relocated. He was a trail horse extraordinaire. Calm, thoughtful, careful. Irreplaceable. And, mostly, always he was family. One with bold character. JD was territorial with animals he didn’t know. Charged and ran out bears feeding off his apple trees. Yet gentle to the chickens, dogs, cats and other critters who belonged to me and my close neighbors. Horse camping. Poker rides. Springwood Ranch weekends. We had a great life. He was the black and white pinto pony I always coveted. The one I would cut in line to ride at the pony ring at Seattle’s Woodland park zoo when I was five. Who knows, maybe JD reincarnated into the larger version to become my dream horse come true.

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
No reprints or copying without permission of the author, Patty Ann.

If you enjoyed this article a suggested similar ebook is: ABBA: Life, Love & Letting Go

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A Miracle Recovery Follows Our Great Grey Owl “Accident” Encounter

Out of the treeline it flew. Into our 60 mph path. Wanda reacted. Slammed on her brakes. A great mass of feathers skimmed her truck’s front grill. Then elevated to smear our windshield with it’s head smacking its beak on the glass. Surreal, time stood still. Both of us were aghast knowing we had collided with a beautifully massive Great Grey Owl. Wanda shrieked the horror for the both of us. It was unimaginable. Just as it hit, its fan of feathers slipped, as if wind swept, sharply from the glass. And splayed out on the road behind us. All I could muster was, “Stop the truck” which my friend was already doing. Thank the good Lord no one had been behind us—or within sight. I jumped out. And ran. We were on a remote mountain highway, after kayaking all day at a hidden lake. I could not handle the thought of this raptor perishing under the wheels of the next vehicle.

The owl’s enormous wings were splayed wide across the opposite lane. Its body stunned quiet. Its claws coiled into balls. I had to get it off this road. I had never touched an owl before . . . just admired them from afar. Its feathers were a twisted heap. It was alive. Barely. I didn’t know for how long. His eyes were catatonic. The beak open. The tongue hanging out.

Carefully, I took each wing back to its body. Did a quick scan. Picked it up as a mother holding her fragile infant, also cradling its head. My arms swooned around to protect it. To ward off any pain. And brought it into the womb of my chest. Wanda caught up after parking her truck safely. She said to watch the talons as they could be very dangerous. I acknowledged, but gave it no other thought.

The raptor lay quiet. A full armload. Snugly, I secured it close. Sending it heartfelt energy to recover, even though I had little hope. For as substantial as it appeared, its weight was less than 5 lbs. This being was feather rich in a light body. It would take a miracle to bring it back into this world.

I told Wanda I was taking the owl into the woods from where it came. So we trekked inland about 200 feet. I relaxed down to sit on a log and gently swayed the ailing owl back and forth. I could not let it die without love. His body gave him no choice, but to submit. After awhile he pulled his tongue back inside his mouth and closed his beak. His eyes still dilated now stared.

We had no words. We both sent it healing, loving energy. And waited. I continued to lullaby rock nature’s finest in silence as if it might soothe. He began to move its head. His feet stirred. One eye pupil contracted; the other not so much. A rim of red circled that eye. There was blood on one of his talons. The true extent of his injuries were still unknown.

A half hour then more crept by. Wanda retrieved a cardboard box from her truck. We decided it best to place him in it to see if he would recover himself. He eventually stood. And peered over the side of the box. Another half hour slipped by. He was panting as if hyperventilating. Yet he turned his head around cautiously both sides, with eyes open,  and more alert. He focused on me standing back. Several times intently. We looked deep into each other’s eyes and found a soulful resonance: of respect, and of appreciation.

We talked of calling the wildlife sanctuary several hours away for advice. But there was no reception. Discussed taking him in if need be, which felt futile-stressful to put upon him.

We both wished him to fly off, and said so. I envisioned him flying and sent him that picture. He revived a tad more. He was now blinking and turning his head around freely. I took him out of the box and placed him on the ground. (Pictured here.) He stood without wobble. Wanda’s medical background, and former aviary sanctuary expertise, was a godsend. Her skilled fingers worked gently to detect any fractures. And found none. Wanda picked him up, barely, and swoosh he flew off! His flight too impressive to take our eyes off. In our awe, we could not even reach for our cameras.

His four to five foot wingspan swept through the forest low, albeit back towards that road. He landed in a clutch of tree branches chest height off the ground. We went to find him well camouflaged, but not recovered fully. (Pictured below.) I broke the brittle branches away from him as he sat askew. Wanda placed his off talon back next to its other. I folded his wing back by his side. He offered no resistance. He flew to the ground. Wanda braced him, picked him up. He flew a very short distance landing under another tree on the ground nearer to the road. He was exhausted. It was clear he had a destination. Perhaps back to his family.

Our eyes met and interlocked again. With intention I promised to take him across the way. Around the thicket I went. Then approached from behind. Scooped him up. Cradled him close. He allowed it, yet wiggled for freedom. And then his body vibrated against mine as he clicked his tongue. I was elated for another sign of recovery. Securing him to my chest I walked the rugged terrain diligently. Then crossed the road.

On the other side he showed no interest in flying. He was spent. We placed him in a thicket of trees off the ground where he blended in with perfection. Now nature would do him best without the stress of us humans. Two hours plus, and the long shadows of evening were upon us. We gave him all any human could. We walked away knowing he would have a good chance, pending any internal injuries from his head bang. The rest was up to him.

I laid awake that night wondering. Kept seeing his big soulful eyes staring at me. Wanda later mentioned his affinity for tracking me. What was our encounter all about? Why did the three of us co-create this perfectly timed moment? Perhaps this owl longed to know human touch. Or, we needed a reminder of that frailty can invoke great resilience. I marveled the whole while I had held him. Appreciated his strength, his presence and purity.

There are no accidents. Only moments of divine timing, to which this event certainly qualified. I asked my spirit guides to provide some validation one way, or another over the next days. Like the feathers that had fallen from the bird-less sky lately. The second morning thereafter I rode my Lily quietly out in my back pasture under the vast open sky. Our horse-human connection once again revealed. At several intervals, a variety of bird flocks emphatically graced the heavens above. Resolve. Freedom. And strong health were resonating thoughts surrounding our owl.

The rare presence of a Great Grey long suggests abundant spirituality, wisdom, intuition, power and strength, and that transitions soon prevail. Our Owl was sent to impart a sacred, eternal message. This was not a “chance” meeting.  Our encounter beckoned a reciprocal trust. A connection between two species deeply inter-dependent upon one another. That there was indeed great significance in our alignment as complimentary, yet equal beings. Each vital. And every one of us is integral to this web we call life. Another reminder that every action we choose to enact, affects not just one other, but the whole. And individually, or as a collective, WE can choose to perish- or thrive.

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
No reprints or copying without permission of the author, Patty Ann.