When thinking of a title for this heart conversation, it seemed perfect to simply entitle it 'Boy', as that's who it's dedicated to.
On Friday the 13th July, I journeyed back from Turkey where I stayed with my family for 10 days. On the very first evening, after our meal, we went for a walk on the beach where we met a few stray dogs. As a lover of dogs I was desperate to just go up to them to give them a stroke, but I was also weary as I knew that they are strays, and for various reasons you have to approach them with care, whilst also respecting their space. I could sense they were 'ok' with people, but still had a wildness about them, and could tell a few were more timid, and although tall in stature, they were pretty skinny (unlike my domesticated house trained fatties!).
I decided to approach one particular dog with caution, only to see it also approaching me. I knew to keep my energy calm and centred, but also to show I wasn't a threat, so I slowly put my hand out, where the dog proceeded to rub its head against my palm then flop down beside me. I noticed it had many scars, bumps, and ticks upon it's body, but never the less was still beautiful. I can't explain it, but within seconds, although still being respectful of the fact this is a wild creature, I felt at ease and connected with its presence in a way I've never felt with any other dog before...even my own. By this time I noticed 'it' was a 'he'.
After moments of laying down beside me whilst stroking he's head, he crawled nearer, placing both paws over my feet whilst resting on my leg. Never have I ever had such welcoming, loving connection and acceptance from a dog like this before, especially a stray! I was no longer afraid or over cautious (although still respectful), I was utterly in love and deeply humbled by he's trust. Over the next 10 minutes or so, my stokes become firmer, stroking he's head and he's body, and even he's belly, enjoying he's welcoming nature and sensing he's own enjoyment of my attention.
Every day after, morning, afternoon and evening, I would venture down to the beach with fresh food and water from the hotel, desperately hoping to see him again.
Sometimes I would see him, other times I wouldn't. I started calling for him 'come on Boy!' As he didn't have a name I decided to simply name him 'Boy' since he is one! After a few days he seemed to just know I would be around, tail wagging the moment he saw me, and would always roll over for me to stroke he's belly! At times I would observe others feeding or stroking him, only to see that food would be flung towards him on the sand, and those who felt brave enough to pet him would simply pat the top of he's head then move on. I remember thinking 'why are people so scared to get close? why are people afraid to give him food from their hand? why isn't anyone giving him water? (which he needed the most). Many of you may read this and think of diseases you could catch from stray dogs etc, but in all honesty that wasn't going through my mind...I just knew, within my heart, that although Boy was clearly in need of food and water, he was also desperately craving love, kindness, touch, and acceptance...just like we all do. I wouldn't give Boy little pats on the head or gentle stokes like others did, I would give him full on firm head and belly rubs, put fresh cold water on my hands whilst cleaning he's face and eyes in the sweltering heat, scratch he's chest, and repeatedly tell him how beautiful he was. Ok, he may not of understood my words, but there was not doubt he could feel my heart. This became a routine after every meal and drink I gave him - he would greet me, eat, drink, then I would rub he's face clean, rub he's mouth, give him cuddles and strokes, and then like clockwork he would come as near to me as he could, lowering he's head in my lap, eyes closed, then return to wherever he came from. This head bowing felt like a thank you, some kind of gesture that he wanted or rather needed me to know how grateful he was for my food, my water, and also my love.
One morning I ventured down to the beach to give him some water. One of the beach attendants came beside me, I couldn't quite understand him as he was Turkish, but I was trying to ask him if he knew Boy at all, how long he had been coming to the beach, and if he had a name...I pointed at me and said 'me Gaia, you Mustaffa, dog ?'... he shrugged he's shoulders than out of no where just said 'Michael!' and laughed. I don't know if that was Boy's name or if it was just a name Mustaffa made up, but either way I was totally taken back! The reason why I was taken back (for those of you who may not be aware) I lost my amazing big brother 13 years ago now...and he's name was Michael. Out of all the names Mustaffa could have said, it was my brothers name which came out.
I'm not saying that Boy is my brother, or that Mikes soul is now in him, in all honesty I don't have a clue what this might mean, although I know it's a sign...a sign I'm on the right path...a sign my brothers always with me...a sign I was meant to have.
Over the days I noticed a beautiful change in him, although just a slight one. He seemed to be walking higher, to have a light within he's eyes, and as crazy as this may seem, he's energy seemed to have a hope and belief in himself and life that he didn't have before.
On my last day with Boy, I sat and spoke with him, trying my best to hold back my tears. I didn't feel I needed to say much because I just knew he understood. As I walked away I looked back to see him looking back at me too, something he had never done before, then just like that he was gone.
I may never fully understand all the reasons of my encounter with this incredibly loving stray wild dog, but one thing I do know for sure, or more importantly feel, is that I was meant to meet Boy and Boy was meant to meet me. I can't say how I've touched he's life, but I can share how he's touched mine...
- He's shown me that it's ok to open myself up to trust a little more, to truly receive, even from a stranger, and the beauty that can come from this.
- He's shown me that even from a life of loneliness and struggle, we still have the capacity within our hearts to give and receive love.
- He's awoken me to just how truly incredible my own two dogs are, something I forget at times, and to continue giving all my love to them, just as I did to him.
- He's reminded me just how the Universe really does work in mysterious ways, and that the most beautiful, precious, and meaningful moments in our life are usually the moments unplanned, so have faith in the journey and trust the unfoldments, the not knowing.
- Most importantly, he's shown me (or rather reminded me) that although water and food is essential for our survival, it's only by receiving love, kindness, acceptance, touch, and connection from another that great healing takes place and our soul truly comes alive the most, because the truth is it doesn't matter how rich you are, how much food you may have, or how much fresh water is flowing, life just doesn't feel the same without another heart to share it with.
Thank you Boy, you have awoken my heart even more deeply with your love, acceptance, and trust. I will hold you in my heart forever until we meet again, and when I look into the eyes of my own two dogs I will always see the beauty of their wildness, YOUR Wildness, see their truth, see their intelligence, see their patience, see their trust, see their teachings, see their heart...
~ Gaia Rose