She was the cutest dog at the shelter, also the most depressed. It was clear she needed someone… me… so I took my current dog, Sasha, to meet her, paid the fee, signed the adoption papers and took her home. Her name was Red, and I was going to fix her, help her get better.
Red’s adoption photoLook at her. So much personality, she was irresistible.
I have this uncanny ability to know when my current dog is dying and I go looking for another dog, not to replace the current dog, but to always have a dog around so I’m not lonely, and for some protection. This is how I went looking for another dog and welcomed Red into the family.
Sasha, Red and I went on walks, to the dog park, and played in the back yard. Red was adjusting, I just knew she needed some time. She was never aggressive, she liked to be on her own, and was rather anxious at times.
When it became clear Sasha’s last days were upon us (her lung cancer caused her tongue to be blue upon awakening because she wasn’t getting enough oxygen) I decided it was time to end her suffering and took her to the vet. Red did not come with us. I see now what I didn’t see then… we were a family and one day, I took one family member away and came back alone; I had done something with the other dog, her friend.Her anxiety, which had been hovering the background, now became acute.
Red stayed in the house while I was at work and I would receive text messages from my neighbor “Ann, I think something is wrong with Red. She hasn’t stopped barking since you left for work.” Luckily it wasn’t too disruptive to the neighborhood since she was inside, and to my knowledge it didn’t happen every day, so I brushed it off as not a concern.
Some months later I sold my house and moved to a condo. Red went from a situation where she had a house and a backyard, to a warren of corridors from which there was no escape (this warren of corridors will become important later in the story). The first day she was alone she barked and cried and whined and my neighbors (rightly) demanded that I not let such behavior continue. The same behavior that she had exhibited while by herself in a house, the one I had brushed off as not a concern, was now transferred to a condo situation — not good. In addition, I had not moved her favorite couch (no room) not told her what was happening and why. Her anxiety now went up another notch.
Thus began 5 years of dog daycare every work day and occasional weekends. It was maddening and financially draining for me. I couldn’t go anywhere without her pitching a fit and upsetting the neighbors. That dog had such a high level of anxiety I felt powerless to help her. I tried to find her a new home on acreage where she could be free, but was not able to locate a good home for her.
One day I met a shamanic practitioner who worked with animals and who offered to do a soul retrieval for her. I had also studied soul retrieval techniques, although I had not learned it could be applied to animals, so I made an appointment.
Wow. The things he told me about her life before she came to me really resonated. As a puppy she had been in a backyard and was stolen, put in an enclosed cardboard box and taken to an apartment building (filled with a warren of corridors) where she was on a leash around a bunch of hyperactive and loud children and could not get away. The practitioner brought those pieces of her soul back and I was encouraged that things would improve, and they did! I could go get the mail, take the trash and recycling out — progress!
Alas Red still needed full time weekly dog daycare but I was convinced things were improving.
They were not.
A friend I hadn’t seen in some years came to visit. The routine was wherever I went in a car Red went with me. So Red, my friend and I drove around the Seattle area going to shops and restaurants. I always found a cool place to park the car, I was making it work. Near the end of her stay, after a few days of accommodating Red’s anxiety and her attendant needs to be with me, or at least not left along in the condo, my friend turned to me with a serious look on her face. “Here’s what I want to tell you,” she said “if that dog had a gun she would shoot herself.”
This didn’t actually surprise me. I knew she was unhappy, but I was afraid that she was unhappy because of me, that I wasn’t doing enough. A dogsitter once likened her, jokingly, to a co-dependant boyfriend.
I had a need to prove that my love was enough to heal her, to make her life better; and the more the years wore on without her getting better, so my sense of being enough, of the belief that love could change a person or an animal, became more desperate. Afterall, she was a dog, I had bungled every situation with her, exacerbating trauma that was already there. I had to keep trying; my love was enough.
Things finally came to a head when her normal weekend dog sitter refused to take care of her anymore because she had pitched a 36 hour fit; never sleeping… barking, crying and whining the whole time. God, I felt so bad it had come to this. I did what I had avoided, and what you are probably thinking — get that dog some effing Zoloft! I did; I ordered a prescription for Zoloft from my vet.
The day I was to pick up the prescription, she ran away.
After about 18 hours, the emergency vet called. a good Samaritan had witnessed her being hit by one possibly two cars on highway I-5, and had stopped to pick her up and bring her to the emergency vet. I went to get her, thinking that we would be going home.
Well, she would not be going home with me. Even though she tried to get up so we could go home, her back was broken (they had her covered in a blanket so I couldn’t see the worst of her injuries). I made the decision to have her put down. I was on the floor with her as the vet administered the final injection “Oh moosh pie…” I said while I stroked her fur. She reached out her front paw and pushed me away, then died.
A friend, who knew Red very well, contacted me later and said Red had come to visit her with a message.
“She is here to say goodbye, but says she will hang out for a little bit. She says she knows more than we do and that was how it had to be. You’re supposed to be felling better. But you are a human being which makes things a little complicated. She loves all of us, and you the most. Says, ‘tell her to just DO IT.’ I love you Ann, and you gave me love too.”
Well, I cannot tell you how this communication from Red, simple as it was, put my mind at ease. Yes, I still grieved, but knowing that my love had been enough and that “it was how it had to be” made all the difference in the world to me.
I had witnessed the shamanic practitioner communicate with Red, and now here she was talking with my friend. How was this possible? Could more communication have helped Red? Did I even believe animal communication was anything other than a way to pour more money on an already fraught situation? If I paid the money and hired an animal communicator, would I see some sort of result short of a back account with even less money in it? I had to find out.
I eventually joined a program that trains people in animal communication because I wanted to know more and, if possible, to be able to help people who were at their wits end with their animals. What I learned was that there are a variety of energy healing tools in addition to listening that would have made her life so much more pleasant.
Let me tell you, these tools are powerful. I have been in awe of how well these tools combined with communication has healed and deepened people’s relationships with their animals. I could not feel more blessed to have found them and to be using them on a daily basis.
Yes, Red, I did do it and I thank you every day for helping me facilitate better lives and relationships between people and their animals.
Originally published on Medium.com August, 2020
Hi. My name is Ann Lally and I'm a 25 year practicing intuitive. I help people deepen their relationships with their animals.