Category — Dogs

Street Dogs On The Moon

It was July — the middle of winter — but we were able to eat lunch at an outdoor Santiago cafe. A pale winter sun shone on our faces, and the cold Andean wind  pushed down the sidewalk and through my jacket.

“Joe, don’t you like chicken?” Michelle asked. She was from Brazil, and so was Hugo. Ricardo, sitting across from me, and his friend  Patricio were both from Argentina. Gil and and I had traveled from the United States. We had all come to Santiago, Chile to work together on a project.

“I don’t eat meat.”

“You don’t eat meat? Argh, Americans!” She laughed as she took another bite.

I smiled. “I don’t, but those street dogs down on the corner do. I’ll save some for them.” As I ate my salad I picked out the chicken pieces and placed them on the white paper napkin.

Ricardo took out his wallet and showed me a picture of his son and daughter. “I miss them,” he said.

Walking back to the office in downtown Santiago, I remembered the corner where the two street dogs were. I had seen them on our way to the cafe. The small tan dog lay on the sidewalk, just outside a doorway to an office building. I offered him a piece of chicken, but he didn’t move.

I turned and walked a few feet to the other dog, this one larger, with the pointed ears and black/tan markings of a German Shepherd. He slept deeply on the sidewalk, undisturbed, as if on another planet.

I slipped my right hand under his muzzle and lifted his head. Then I put a piece of chicken against his nose. He opened his startled eyes, sniffed the chicken  — and softly opened his mouth.

I could feel people brush past me but they too seemed to be on that far away planet. I focused only on this dog, caressing his soft head with my left hand while I fed him all the chicken I’d saved.

“A Kodak moment,” Gil said.

“I don’t know,” I told him. “But he was hungry.” As we walked away I looked back and saw that he’d returned to his deep afternoon nap.

Crossing At the Light

There are over 200,000 street dogs in Santiago. You see them standing on street corners, lying on the sidewalks, walking through the parks, trotting behind pedestrians in the early morning rush hour. As if they too had a job to get to by nine.

No one bothered the ones I saw, and they lived freely among the inhabitants of this Andean city. These street dogs, I’m sure, knew hunger and cold; yet they lived openly, and with a slight smile on their faces.

Did they have a secret they kept to themselves to be smiling like that? Something only they knew?

Maybe it was as simple as living life day-to-day on their own terms. For however many days they had.

While I waited in downtown Santiago for the red tour bus, I thought of the dogs in some of the shelters back home. They didn’t live quite so freely.

Any dog caught roaming the street without ID tags would be incarcerated and, unless he were lucky, killed (“euthanized”). Over 50% of the 2 million dogs who enter a shelter in the US each year never make it out.

Santiago Street Dog

I looked again for the tour bus, and saw a street dog sitting at the busy intersection just to my left. Next to him stood a policeman. The policeman would walk out into the middle of the narrow street to direct traffic, then return to the sidewalk. The dog watched the people and the policeman and the traffic for ten  minutes or so.

Finally, deciding that it was time to move on, the dog waited until the light turned green. Then he crossed the street along with the pedestrians and disappeared down the sidewalk.

With Your Feet on the Moon

The Brazilians laughed and talked in Portuguese as we walked back to our hotel from the pub. It was our last night in Santiago, and we had watched Brazil defeat Ecuador in a soccer match over a couple of beers. One of the Brazilians, unaccustomed to the cold night air of the Andes, shivered as his wife wrapped her arm around his shoulder to keep him warm.

We walked uphill, toward the mountains in the distance…a mile back to our hotel along curving sidewalks.

As I talked with Leandro, we walked past two street dogs standing near the curb, staring at us. They were both as black as the tires on a car, medium sized, with fine silky hair. I stopped and called to them.

The shorter one opened his mouth into a smile, and walked over to me. He limped on his right rear leg. His buddy followed, close to his friend’s side.

I placed my hand on the limping dog’s right shoulder and, for some reason I can’t remember, decided to put some energy healing into him. He leaned into my leg, and I could feel the Reiki flow through me and into him. Then, after a few minutes, I continued with Leandro down the sidewalk.

The smiling dog with the limp followed us…and the second dog stuck by his friend’s side.

Up the sidewalk we walked as it curved through the cold air coming down from the surrounding mountains. I looked up and saw a  billboard selling new homes in the foothills of the Andes. It read Con Los Pies En La Luna (‘With Your feet On The Moon”).

We kept walking, and the two Santiago street dogs followed. “Joey,” Leandro laughed, “you can’t take them home with you.”

We crossed a bridge high above a dry river bed below, and saw our hotel up the hill to our left. Between the bridge and the hotel ran a four-lane road which was tricky to cross even during the day: the cars flew by at forty miles an hour around a curve.

The Brazilians continued to talk and laugh as we walked, and the street dogs continued to follow us, playing with each other and smiling at us.

Would they follow us across this busy street, I wondered? How could they make it?

When the crossing signal turned green, I said a quick prayer for the two street dogs and focused on getting across that four-lane road. When I reached the other side of the road, the limping dog greeted me with a smile.

As if he knew something I didn’t.

Then he and his friend sat down on the sidewalk to have their photo snapped with one of the Brazilians. The man  laughed and hugged the dogs, one in each arm.

Before going into the hotel, I looked for the moon in the Andean sky, but didn’t see it.

No matter…I finally figured it out.

The moon was near by, and the two street dogs were almost there.

Photo courtesy of Isabelle Lamarre, Quebec City, Canada.

You can read more about the work Joe does with dogs and other animals by clicking here.

November 29, 2011   7 Comments

Counting Feathers

“Hi Joe, Just thought I would let you know Gina was involved in a car accident today—her car was hit by a tram in Melbourne. She is fine, and managed to walk away with only a sore neck. Amazing considering the tram hit the drivers side door. … She said there were feathers everywhere after the accident. I believe the angels were definitely looking after her.”

I was speechless. Rachel was writing me about her sister Gina, who lives in Australia with her family and dog Beau. A few weeks earlier, Rachel had asked me whether I could help with Beau, who had been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor on his bladder. I didn’t know how much I could help, if at all, but I told Rachel I would try.

I’ve seen remote energy healing perform what some might call a “miracle”: profound changes in an animal’s health and behavior accomplished solely through the healing power of Spirit and Intention. Even so, I wondered whether anything could help Beau. Gina told me the tumor had covered his entire bladder wall. And while Beau was still on the operating table the vet called to ask Gina whether Beau shouldn’t be euthanized right then…the tumor was so advanced he would have no remaining quality of life anyway.

But Gina and her family couldn’t bear to let him go. I, on the other hand, worried about giving them false hope.

Yet a voice inside me told me to try.

When I first talked to Beau after his surgery he said, “I’m not ready to go. I still want to help Gina.” As Beau and I talked I could feel the life force inside him—strong and sweet, loving and trusting. That feeling—that faith in him—gave me all that I needed to begin.

I had asked Gina to keep a journal of Beau’s symptoms and progress. I knew that afterwards the journal would tell us what happened:

March 21: “Looking lethargic, sleeping, eating well, no walks, straining when urinating.

March 22: “Sleeping a lot, eating well, still no walks, straining.

On March 22 I conducted the first healing session on Beau. Using a shamanic animal healing technique, I worked on Beau for half an hour. I called in the Spirits and asked them to work on Beau at the energetic level. At the end of this session, I was very tired.

March 23: “Sleeping a lot, eating well, still no walks, straining.

March 24: “Started walking a little more, up a little more, straining still when urinating.

On March 24 I did a distant Reiki healing session on Beau. At the end of the session a large black bird, with a wingspan as wide as a stealth fighter, flew overhead. I could see him clearly in my mind’s eye as he passed over Beau and collected the negative energy that had just been released from the dog’s body.

March 26: “Happiness coming back, eating well, walking well, (still short walks), straining less.

March 28: “Energy level improving, straining massively decreased, eating well, seeming very happy.

On March 30 I organized a group intention healing session for Beau, based on the work of Lynne McTaggart’s “The Intention Experiment”. Intention is the force that creates worlds, and saves lives. I figured it was worth a shot.

I asked the most powerful healers I know—members of Deborah King’s 21st Century Energy Medicine program—to send Beau the exact same healing thought at the exact same time…for ten consecutive minutes. The date was set for 12:15 EST on Wednesday, March 30, 2011.

Rachel, Gina’s sister, said that when we unleashed that Intention she “Woke up sitting straight up in bed. Not sure what I was doing, but something was going on.” (When we started our Intention it was 3:15 AM the next morning in Australia.)

April 2: “I noticed a massive shift in Beau. Urine running clear, energy increased a lot, and pulling me when walking! Very happy, like a new dog!

On April 2 I did the final healing session on Beau, another intense shamanic healing session.

April 3: “Happy, eating well, walking really well, overall better than he has been in a very long time, urine showing no sign of blood.

After the accident on April 3, Gina wrote me:

“It was a bit of a shock but I really feel someone was looking after me that day. The impact should have been a lot worse. I had more white feathers last night, coming down from out of nowhere in my kitchen. My daughter was with me and was
helping me pick them all up. We put them in a container to show people. They are so small, like the feathers in a feather pillow. We don’t own any feather pillows! When I seen them I felt like it was a message that they are with me for support. It really is AMAZING. I am sure a lot of people wouldn’t believe this!”

I don’t know how long Beau has; I don’t know how long anyone has. What I do know is that counting feathers is like counting miracles…you can if you want, but you don’t have to. What matters is that you—like Gina and Beau—simply believe.


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May 7, 2011   4 Comments