Do you have a muse? If you don’t, you really should…a muse can take you from living your life to rocking your life! Why all of this muse talk, where is this coming from? It started with a discussion I was having with friends where one of them asked, “is your dog your hero?” As an explorer of the human-animal bond, I adore these types of questions….actually, I encourage these types of questions. The answer to the question, ‘is your dog your hero,’ is yes – he is my muse and quite simply, he is also my hero. Mattie has given me the gift of joy, kindness, selflessness and the art of forgiving. Mattie is my 14 pound spiritual muse, #MyPetIsMyHero!
Recently, I learned about Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food commitment to celebrating the very special connection that exists between humans and their animals. They are highlighting some of these special pet-based relationships on their new TV show, Hidden Heroes and this made me wonder what specifically has created this bond between myself and my special, little fuzzy one. While I’ve published a book about Mattie’s adoption, and even written a blog posting remembering the day we found him, I’m not sure if I’ve shared with you the deep connection I feel when I look in to his eyes…or when I hold him close, or kiss him on his wet, cool nose. I love Mattie more than any woven together words can describe, but I’ll give it a try.
When Mattie came in to my life I was recovering from a trauma….physically I was healed, emotionally I was not. And on the day that we brought Mattie home, my spirit began to reawaken. In discussions with the kill shelter where we adopted him, we learned that Mattie had been wandering the city streets for likely two weeks, and he was filthy, matted and sick as a result. On our first night together, after bathing him five times in order to get him clean, I gave him his upper respiratory infection medications and put him in his newly purchased dog bled. I slept next to him, laying on our wood floor. Mattie could not stay in his bed, he coughed frequently and rather violently and would pace the floor while catching his breath. Every time this happened I would wake and go to him, gently rub his back, carry him back to his dog bed and softly tell him everything would be fine and not to worry. But I was worried. I had no idea if Mattie would make it.
Days turned in to weeks and weeks in to months, and after a while Mattie returned to perfect health…and I had found that I had recovered as well. The painful memories had faded…by focusing my attention on a little dog who relied on me I became free from my own suffering. In many ways Mattie saved me…I think we saved each other. Mattie and I spent every moment together for six months immediately following his adoption. We learned things about one another. I watched as Mattie’s personality blossomed, revealing his joyful spirit and kind soul. He greeted everyone and everything with joyous curiosity. I could tell when Mattie started feeling better because in the morning, first thing upon his waking, he would softly pat me on my face with his paw; and when I’d open my eyes to look at him, he would be intently staring into my eyes, wiggling with joy, head titled and with his nose give me a gentle touch on my lips.
Mattie has forever changed my world. I became a better person because of him. He exudes the teaching of every spiritual leader: be good, be kind, be generous, love and forgive one another, and cause no harm. I try hard to be like Mattie. And on those days that I may not succeed, I rely on one of the more powerful lessons that Mattie has taught me: forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. I know this because of how quickly Mattie would recover from the self-doubts he had when he went a little afoul of our house rules…tearing up the 12 pack of toilet paper, rolling in a dead fish out on a walk by the beach, running out the doggy door at bath time. Mattie wasn’t perfect, but he forgave himself perfectly – his personality never faltered and he learned how to do better next time…free from all the self loathing and doubt that fills a human’s head when we know we’ve messed up, withdrawing instead of growing.
Mattie has taught me a lot and he is my 14 pound spiritual muse. My goal has always been to ensure the needs of our dogs, be they emotional, physical and spiritual (yes, I believe dogs have spiritual needs – try a little Reiki with your dog and you’ll know what I’m talking about). I think that is in part why I am drawn to Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food‘s Hero Dog contest. I had no idea that Chicken Soup for the Soul, the inspiring and empowering book that I had read at least three times over, had been creating natural pet food for over a decade; and that their Hero Dog contest celebrates dogs, big and small, who, in the eye of their human, is a hero. All dogs are heroes really – each of us have our own unique story to tell.
When you love your pet like I do, every moment matters and your human-animal bond is special. Share it with the world, like I did in this post. Enter the Hero Dog contest, “Show Us Why Your Pet is Your Hero” and you and your furry hero could appear on the Hidden Heroes television show or in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book. To read some of the submissions you can visit their website, Facebook page or Instagram site – you’ll be inspired to share your own hero dog story! You’ll also be surprised to learn how this family-owned company makes US sourced wholesome, balanced and holistic pet food with real meat as first ingredient and without added corn, wheat, soy, artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. Plus they donate to animal shelters – and that, my friends, is gold in my book!
Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the universe for bringing Mattie in to my life. My beautiful, joyous, loving and wonderful 14 pound spiritual muse – he most definitely fits Chicken Soup for the Soul’s #MyPetIsMyHero bill. If love could be weighed, my love for Mattie would break every scale. My life has expanded exponentially for having my beautiful dog in it – and I strive every day to be like Mattie, and live a life that honors my sweet spiritual muse, my hero…my life. I love you my sweet boy.
, the Pet Lifstyle Guru
With lub, MattieDog, a little dog making a big impact in this world!®