Sadie Rose: The Biggest Heart

Here we go folks…our first guest post in a series on Beyond Native American Appropriation: Cultivating a Personal, Nature-Based Spirituality.

Although our “blogger circles” overlap, it took Sadie and I a while to find each other. When we suddenly (and finally!) exchanged emails, there was an urgent quality to our connection, as if we were making up for lost time. My first impression of her was of a warm summer sun…straightforward, generative, generous and steadfast. I knew I could trust her because there would be no bullshit involved. Sometimes there is a cattiness in friendships with women that can be tricky to navigate. I had no such worry with Sadie. I perceive her as someone who, because she loves herself, is free to offer love and props to others. The title of her post could be what is written under her skin. When I think of Sadie, I think of the biggest heart.

This story about a very special dog named Duncan is a perfect example of the simplicity at the core of spiritual connection with animals. It doesn’t have to involve flying to magical realms or having super powers. It’s about inhabiting your own human heart and letting yourself be amazed at the infinity within.

For more deluxeness, visit Sadie at her own blog, and also at her etsy shop.

Growing up in California and living my entire life on the west coast, it is hard to remember when the term ‘spirit animal’ was introduced into my lexicon. It seems as though it was always there. I remember, however, always feeling a bit confused when it would come up in conversations. Did I have a spirit animal? How would I know? How do people learn what their spirit animal is? Are they making this shit up?? and so on. Often, I felt left out. I didn’t have a spirit animal. Even if I tried to pick one, it never felt right. Deer? no. Bear? I don’t think so. Whale? Again, no.

Then, when I was 19, I met the man (boy?) who would become my son’s father. But back then, we didn’t have a baby. He did however have a puppy named Duncan. Duncan was 6 months old when I met him, and by the time my son was born he was nearly 4 years old. It was Duncan who taught me all about animal spirits, animal medicine, and communication between human and animal.

Duncan loved me unconditionally (as your dog loves you). And the more time we spent together, the more I felt that I knew exactly what he meant. It got to the point where I would lay with him and (I swear) have full on conversations with our eyes. It blew my mind. I had never communicated with anyone who wasn’t human before. Once, when I was talking about this to a friend, he asked me what my Chinese zodiac sign is (I am a dog). I know, I know – there are plenty of other people out there born in any other year on the zodiac and I know many of you can also speak to dogs. But in that moment, when he asked me that, I felt this thing. You know that thing you feel when something is right, or when something lines up, or when you realized your intuition had been right all along? It was some version of that.

At first, you know, in situations like this, I almost feel silly to talk about a dog. The term ‘Animal Medicine’ makes me feel like I should write about eagles or hawks, or rattlesnakes. But that’s just now how it is for me. I have dog vibes, and that is that. I’m so grateful for it. I am grateful for dogs; that for however many thousands of years they have been here for us as our companions, our guides, our friends, our teachers. Anyone of us who has loved a dog (and been loved endlessly back) is truly blessed.

When Asher was born, Duncan got sad. He felt me pull away from him a little bit – the having of a small baby was so intense for me. Gone were the days of rolling on the floor with the dog, and gone were the days of dog in my bed. It was sad, but Duncan respected it. But still I saw the longing in his eyes, the wondering where I’d gone. Eventually I had to leave Duncan and Asher’s dad. And just last year, I heard that Duncan had passed away at 10 years of age, after being diagnosed with doggie cancer. Asher’s dad sent me a picture of him – his whiskers were greying, but those eyes were the same!

Since Duncan, I have loved other dogs. But none yet as much as him. He is the one who taught me things that I feel lucky to have learned in this lifetime: how deeply we can love, how important trust and companionship are, how to trust your senses and your intuition, and how so much of loving is actually about giving. May we all be so lucky to be loved by a dog, even once; what a gift.

(*this photo is of me and Asher’s dad and Duncan, many moons ago. I think this is right around the time that I conceived Asher)


5 thoughts on “Sadie Rose: The Biggest Heart

  1. What an amazing introduction!! So honored. I love you. So happy to share this story, it was so good for me to write it and to remember Duncan in this way. I cried while writing it, for in my frantic haste to save myself and my baby, i never truly grieved for leaving Duncan. This helped me to do that and I was surprised at how emotional it was. Can’t wait to read the rest of the posts. XO

  2. Sadie, this is so damn sweet. Your love for this dog is so tangible after so many years. It’s kinda like he’s the Ur-dog of your love of these creatures. The way you speak of him reminds me of how Mary speaks of her dear pup in the wild blue yonder.

    We often talk about what animals people actually are, and originally I was gonna post about how no one ever has any decent ideas about what animal I might be, but it is funny how people are just like “I’m not a rodent! I’m an eagle!” Not everybody is an eagle, there’d be a serious imbalance in the food chain if they were.

    I have so much more to say, but I’m gonna hold my tongue until we talk. LOVE

  3. This is so beautiful, I thought about it all day long, and read it again. I wore my bullet necklace from Sadie in honor of her giant heart and of that lovely connection that she describes so perfectly and that I have experienced in such the same way, the full on conversations with our eyes. I feel so blessed to have known this with some of my sweet animal friends, true kin of my spirit and soul, and some of the seriously deepest connections i’ve ever known. much love and gratitude to you mary, and to you sadie, for sharing this story!

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