It is snowing outside and my dear little Skye (see previous post Night Skye) is out there in it, nesting in her chosen grove of trees. She came to me a wild dog and it seems she is reverting back, as if she was ever truly tame at all. She lived in this house in constant fear, I see now, scrabbling under the bed at the slightest provocation. My way of thinking is that she’s left the comfort of our home but she, clearly, is more comfortable out there. In fact I think she understands life better outside than she ever understood her three-year confinement in this house.
A little more than two weeks ago, in the midst of all the upheaval caused by my own personal clearing (see previous post Clearing As a Creative Act), she walked right out the front door—across a threshold she’s been afraid to cross more than just a few times in her life. And she doesn’t seem to want to come back in, although she always stays within sight of the house. Nothing I’ve tried has enticed her beyond the front porch. My brilliant vet who works with both the wild and the tame here in New Mexico, says she’ll come back in once she’s forgiven me for trapping her in the first place.
And I will not trap her again. I will not tranquilize her. I will not bring her in against her will in any way. If she is coming home, she’s crossing that threshold of her own free will. Period. I will not betray whatever fragile trust is finally, and genuinely, being built between us. This has meant that I have had to change my view of who Skye is, what her needs are, and also all of my ideas about responsible pet ownership.
She isn’t all alone out there. She joins the other dogs for meals in the front yard…
… and eagerly comes with us on all our walks…
She takes cookies from my hand, lets me touch her and even plays with me. But she will not come in.
It gives me comfort to see her from one window or another throughout the day and I’ve watched how she is out there. She is confident and sure. She has her spots, her little nests she’s made. One is behind a berm that shields her from the wind and another sits under a stand of close trees offering protection from the snow and rain. There’s a nice sandy spot she’s scooped out in the center of the property, ideal for taking the sun. Or her special place she seems to sleep nights, up close to the wall of the cat enclosure where she used to spend her “outdoors” time. She has a fine collection of bones there, treasures she must bring up from the canyon in the dark of night because I never see her “working” during the day.
This little dog that was always so scared in the house, appears fearless and carefree outside of it. In fact she seems to have excellent instincts, none of which she could use indoors but all serving her, now, out there.
Clearly she is coming into her own. And isn’t this what I’m always writing about? This little dog, against all her suffering and fears, is finding her truth. Despite what might make me more comfortable, I am being asked to let Skye be Skye.
This brings up the OTHER side of living our truths that I rarely talk about: making room for others to live theirs. It can sometimes mean letting go of how we see them or even how we want them to be (like Skye for me). But if we love, we must do our work and find our ways of allowing our loved ones to be who they were born to be—even if that displeases us or makes us uncomfortable–even if it means losing them. Even then we must accept who they are and how they choose to live. Otherwise it becomes ownership and control, not love.
You may think this is a huge leap from what’s going on with my dog but as you all know I find lessons in everything and, the fact is, I have had to face some serious personal issues in making my peace with Skye’s newly claimed freedom. I’ve had to look at my own sense of abandonment and personal safety, my own need to be cared for and my willingness to take responsibility for my own life, to take care of myself.
As I said in my last post, Clearing As a Creative Act, when we take steps to clear the debris from our lives, both the physical and the mental/emotional clutter, it can put into motion things we couldn’t have anticipated, like Skye leaving.
In these moments I believe we are being called to listen. And it will be in our best interests if we do.
Love to you all,