Deep down inside, you believe your dog can come back to you. You believe this is possible. You believe this can happen, and you also believe that you can help to make it happen. You believe all of these things, and you are right to believe them, because they’re true.
You’re reading this article because you and your dog shared a special, karmic bond, a bond that still exists, a bond that transcends death.
Thinking about your dog and writing about him is sending pulses of positive energy into the universe. Talking about him will release even more of this powerful, positive energy. I still remember how amazingly good it felt the first time I said, Mikel is going to reincarnate. Mikel is coming back to me.
However, unless you live in a Buddhist community you may find this difficult. You don’t want people to think you’re crazy. Nor do you want to find yourself in an argument about reincarnation. Arguing is unpleasant, and creates negative vibrations.
So who should you talk to? Perhaps a family member. Perhaps a friend.
Perhaps your hairdresser.
If you recently lost your dog, people will often provide the opening you need when they offer their condolences. After you’ve chatted for a few minutes, guide the conversation in that direction by saying something like,
I’ve been reading this really interesting book by a woman whose dog reincarnated … and see where it goes from there. If your dog has been gone for a while, start with the people in your life who truly understand how much you miss him. Use the same technique.
Some people will come right out and say they don’t believe in reincarnation. Others will shake their heads or roll their eyes. That’s fine.
Change the subject, and find someone else.
Talking to total strangers can be very effective, too. Sometimes, it’s easier to talk to a stranger. If you see someone walking a dog on the street or in a park, approach them and start a conversation. You might say how beautiful their dog is. Or that he reminds you of your dog. One thing will easily lead to the next.
You’ll find lots of people who believe in reincarnation, just as I did.
They don’t talk openly about their beliefs because – like you and me – they’re not sure what the reaction will be. So they’re not easy to find. But they’re definitely out there.
Does the thought of doing these things make you feel uneasy? Then don’t do them, because they’re not right for you. Always trust your instincts.
Always follow your gut. Everyone is different, and techniques that worked for me will not necessarily work for you.
Remember, you need to be sending that positive energy into the universe. How you do it isn’t important, so long as you do it. If face to face conversations with friends and neighbors aren’t your thing, try exploring some of the many “dog reincarnation” websites and joining – or starting – a discussion thread. A virtual community is still a community, even if you’re all using made-up names. Bear in mind that each time you’re able to tell someone “I think my dog is going to come back to me” you make the psychic bond that exists between you and your dog just that little bit stronger. It doesn’t matter whether that person is standing in front of you, or somewhere in cyberspace. It’s your intention and your attention that count.
Continue to write in your journal. Continue to pay attention to your thoughts, and your dreams. Be patient. The bond between you and your dog is a karmic bond. You will find one another. You will be together again.
Even before he made his first million, Warren Buffet says he never doubted for a moment that someday he’d be rich. I wish I could say I never doubted Mikel would come back to me. The truth is, doubt can strike at any moment. When it does, it is as bleak and black and overwhelming as an Oklahoma dust storm. Certainty vanishes. Hope vanishes. Doubt is horrible.
Belief can’t be rationalized. You either believe, or you don’t.
Sometimes, I do. Other times, I don’t. It might be different if I had a religious background that allowed me to fit my beliefs and doubts into some kind of spiritual matrix. But I don’t. Emotionally and spiritually, I am in uncharted waters.
“Where is the boundary between reality and illusion?” asks Michael Roads, author of Talking To Nature. “Who decides what is real and what is illusion? Do we accept a common belief or can we have an independent belief, isolated but real? How much of our experience is an illusion, based on what we think is reality?”
The more I struggle with doubt, the worse it gets. Trying to be reasonable doesn’t work. Reason just makes it worse. My logical, critical left brain is worse than useless. It stands between me and what I believe, like a dark cloud blotting out the sun.
Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander suggests that our brain acts as a filter, blocking our access to higher worlds. “We need to accept – at least hypothetically – that the brain itself doesn’t produce consciousness. That it is, instead, a kind of reducing valve or filter that dumbs down consciousness for the duration of our human experience.”
Yet I continue to try to reason with myself. Fighting doubt just seems to feed it, but I don’t know what else to do. I’m like the Tibetan monk who creeps into a cave to meditate only to discover it is filled with demons. He tries to attack the demons. He tries to hide from them. He tries to scare them away. Nothing works. Finally he gives up. If I have to share my cave with demons, he thinks, then I will. And at that point, the demons vanish.
The best way to deal with doubt, writes Andro Mueller Roshi, is “… not indulge it, but go on with it. This is essentially an experience of faith. It is not a feeling, it’s a willingness.”
It’s like finding yourself in a rip when you’re swimming in the sea. You can’t swim against a rip. It’s too strong. So you swim at an angle to the rip, letting it carry you until you swim out of it.
I know in less than two months Mikel would be born, in a new body. I know he’ll be a Shih Tzu. And I know he’ll have a good birth, which means I won’t find him in a pet shop or a dog shelter. Find him? This is the first time it has occurred to me that I will need to find him. He’ll be a puppy, helpless.
How will I find him? Where will I even begin?
Finally, my left brain has something to chew on. Obviously, I need to start by contacting people who breed Shih Tzus, and find out which breeders are expecting litters in early August. So what I need is a list. That should be easy enough. But when I sit down in front of the computer, I freeze. Just days ago, Mikel was here in this very room, sleeping at my feet as I worked. My eyes fill with tears. I can’t do this.
Maybe I don’t have to. Maybe I’ll just find him. Maybe I’ll hear about a litter of puppies and go to see them, and there he’ll be. But suppose I find him, only to discover that he’s already been sold? It’s not uncommon for people to “reserve” a pedigreed puppy in advance, and the first person to put down a deposit usually gets pick of the litter. That’s what Rollyn and I did years ago, when we bought Rosie. No, I need to find him. I need to start looking for him now.
I switch on the computer. I’m not looking for a puppy, I remind myself.
I’m only looking for a list of breeders. However, my initial searches yield thousands of websites offering general information about Shih Tzus, dog trainers, pet supply companies, on-line veterinarians, Shih Tzu themed calendars, license plates and T-shirts, blogs and Shih Tzu breeders from all over the world, all muddled together. I need to narrow this down. But how?
On an impulse, I type in “Arizona Shih Tzu breeders” and hit Search.
Another list of links appears and I click on the first thing that isn’t an advertisement. This brings me to the Arizona Shih Tzu Home Page and a photograph of a couple and a little boy – all three of them wearing red shirts – and five Shih Tzus, two of them with red bows in their topknots. The woman has striking, long, honey-blonde hair like the kind you see in TV advertisements, and the man sports a mustache and granny glasses. Their names are Jeri and Jackson. The little boy is Colin, their grandson. It is a really sweet photograph, good enough to be a Christmas card. I wonder how the photographer managed to get all five of the Shih Tzus to look at the camera at the same time. They’re all beautiful little dogs. Except for his little Fu Manchu “mustache” the one at the center of the photograph looks just like Mikel.
This is it. This is where I’m going to find him.
But wait a minute. Come on. This is just too simple, too perfect. Things don’t happen this way in real life, I tell myself. You’re supposed to be making a list. Stick to the plan. The American Kennel Club probably has lists of breeders. Try them.
This doesn’t work. It’s against AKC policy to identify – much less recommend –individual breeders. Instead, they offer contact information for volunteer groups called AKC Parent Clubs. There’s one of these for each breed.
I click my way to the American Shih Tzu Club’s website. It is well organized and informative, but it does not offer any information about breeders. Instead, there are half a dozen Breeder Referral Committee Members. Their headquarters are in San Francisco. I call, get a recorded message and leave a message of my own, explaining that I’m looking for a
Shih Tzu breeder in Arizona. Nobody calls back.
Over the next few days I try again and again, always getting the same recorded message. So I go back to the website and tackle the list of Breeder
Referral Committee Members, who are scattered all over the United States.
Members of the public are warned that telephone calls will be returned collect.
Most of the Committee Members aren’t home and don’t have answering machines. I finally reach someone in California. She’s very pleasant, very helpful, and not surprised that nobody is answering the telephone at Headquarters. “The woman who was doing that job for us hasn’t been well for some time. You have to remember that we’re all volunteers,” she tells me.
“And most of us are getting on in years.”
I explain that I live in Arizona and want to buy a puppy. She replies that she’s not sure how she can help me, because it’s against American Shih Tzu Club policy to provide names of individual breeders. “If you’re looking for that kind of information,” she says, “you have to approach your state organization. And in your case that’s the problem, because Arizona doesn’t have a state organization. I don’t know why. Maybe, nobody could be bothered. We’re all volunteers, as I told you. Or it could be that Arizona breeders aren’t able to meet AKC standards.”
“But there are people here in Arizona selling AKC-registered Shih Tzus,” I protest. “I just saw a web-site.”
“Yes, but anyone can put up a website. And they can say all kinds of wonderful things about their kennels and their champion dogs, but it doesn’t mean anything. You can build a website in a couple of hours, if you know what you’re doing. Then, all you have to do is steal a few photographs of prize-winning dogs and puppies from legitimate breeders, and post them.
Drag and drop, it’s as easy as that. My five year old grandson can do it. And who’s going to know the difference? I’m not trying to discourage you, dear.
But you really do have to be careful, these days. A lot of those websites you’re talking about are probably just fronts for puppy mills, or even for people who are selling stolen dogs.”
Jeri, Jackson and Colin don’t look like people who are fronting for a puppy mill, much less selling stolen dogs. But she has a point. Anyone can put anything on the internet.
She can’t recommend any breeders in Arizona. “And I have to tell you, the fact there’s no state organization is not a good sign. Personally, I can’t recall ever having even met a breeder from Arizona. But that’s going back a few years,” she adds. “Besides, I don’t even breed Shih Tzus, anymore. I retired a few years ago. So maybe I’m not the best person to ask. What I can do is to give you the names and telephone numbers of a few breeders I know in Nevada and California. But I should warn you, a lot of them may be retired, like I am.”
I write down the names and telephone numbers, and thank her. But it feels wrong. You know that feeling when you’re driving along an unfamiliar dark road and you come to a T-intersection and there are no signs? You take a left – or a right – and within minutes you know you’re going the wrong way.
But I keep going, working my way through the list of breeders I’ve been given because I can’t think of anything better. Some of the telephone numbers have been disconnected, or belong to other people. Others aren’t home. Only one of them has an answering machine. (I leave a message, which is never returned) The last person on the list answers her telephone and says she’s still breeding Shih Tzus. And yes, she has some lovely puppies for sale.
“But I’m going to be very honest with you,” she continues. “I’m extremely busy, and I can’t see the point in either of us wasting our time. The first thing you need to know is that all of my puppies are show quality. The prices start at $1750 and they are not negotiable.”
I assure her that price isn’t a problem. “And I’m not looking for a show dog, either.”
It’s the wrong thing to say.
“If you don’t want to show the dog, then why are you contacting a reputable breeder like me and taking up my time? To have a perfect dog and not show it is a waste. It’s a crime, that’s what it is. Do you have the slightest idea of how much time and effort and expertise and expense goes into breeding a show quality Shih Tzu? I wouldn’t even consider selling one of my wonderful puppies to a person like you, who wasn’t going to show it. If all you want is a pet, why don’t you just go to a pet store and buy a mutt? Or adopt one, from a shelter?” Her voice rises with exasperation. “My puppies aren’t pets! My puppies are champions!”
Thoroughly disheartened, I pour myself a glass of wine and sit down on the couch. This isn’t working. I look at a photograph of Mikel. His beautiful, brown eyes gaze lovingly back at me. What am I doing wrong? How am I going to find you?
Perhaps I’m over-thinking. Perhaps I’m being too rational, following my mind rather than my heart. First, the universe gives you a nudge. Then, a poke. Then, a slap. It’s time to get out of my own way, and let the universe do its job.
Back at Arizona Shih Tzu, Jeri, Jackson and Colin seem to be waiting for me. This time I explore the whole website, lingering over the “Nursery” page and the wonderful photos of wide-eyed puppies sprawled on pillows or posed in chocolate boxes or coffee cups. Shih Tzu puppies are adorable.
Looking at them brings back happy memories, and I find myself smiling.
None of these beautiful little creatures is Mikel, of course. He hasn’t been born yet.