Years ago, I had the pleasure of owning a courageous Labrador/Shepherd mix that I rescued from the bowels of Eugene, Ore.
I found this place fairly easily and then adopted two adorable puppies from what would be classified as a ‘puppy mill.’ At the time, I only wanted one puppy – the male I had located amongst the puppy pile; he had a gorgeous set of cinnamon eyes and freckles covering a white nose. However, I also took home his sister who was snow white, with darker cream-colored ears. They both were perfect. Minus of course, their flea covered skin and coat and the fat puppy belly full of worms. Otherwise, perfect. I cared for them, loved them, played with them and mothered them.
Fast-forward three years and the boy dog, Yogi, as I had aptly named him, had become 120 pounds of muscle and aggression.
He would attack his sister and any other dog that came into his perceived territory. It was stressful, exhausting and confusing. I hired a dog trainer to come and help me, but Yogi was too much for me since I was single with two other dogs in the home and a job that took up to 60 hours a week. Yogi, was profoundly loving to any human– he would crawl up in your lap lay upside down, a couple of gentle licks to the face and he was sound asleep. He could snuggle like no other, and his eyes were full of life, love and adoration.
I decided I would put an ad in the newspaper and find him a new home (this was prior to the existence of Craigslist) and I said a prayer to God “that the first person that comes and wants him, will have him.” And I prayed, “The exact person will appear as the first person, and I will let Yogi go to that home no matter the condition because it is God’s plan.” I asked God to provide that for me because I loved the dog so deeply. I knew I could not choose a home for him and given enough time to think about such a decision, I would likely change my mind.
I felt guilty, I felt sad and I felt ashamed.
I had adopted this wonderful being and then out of my own personal mistakes and misunderstandings of how to treat and handle dogs, I had turned the dog into an aggressor of my other dogs. I was absolutely heart-broken to have to part with him. He was my favorite at the time and I adored him.
Shortly after posting my ad, a woman and her young daughter were the first to show up. The three-year-old girl fell in love with my favorite dog companion. And so, Yogi had found his next home. It was by no means perfect. I knew where the home was and it was in the ‘ghetto,’ where drive by shootings were common. One day I decided to pass by and saw an area outside where he was chained to a pole with a food bowl in the dirt. It was excruciatingly painful; the tears flowed for weeks. My guilt for allowing this to be his home was overwhelming. But I trusted God’s choice, and I eventually let it go and I let him go — painfully, but not regretfully.
I don’t regret re-homing Yogi; I believe that Yogi’s life purpose was to save that young girl and possibly her mother. I believe that God chose this home exactly as I had prayed, and I needed a lesson in understanding.
Sometimes our lives are not perfect and sometimes they are short, sweet and to the point. Our soul’s purpose is bigger than us as individuals and bigger than what I can see today or even tomorrow. I know that it was important to that child’s future for her to have this dog. I know that Yogi needed to protect, love, adore or support one of those girls — it was my intuitive knowing. I can’t tell you how or what my amazing dog did for her exactly, but I know he had an unimaginable impact and changed her life.
I still have Yogi’s sister, Layla — she is 11-years-old and is my dearest companion. She is also a fabulous snuggler and I am grateful to have this life to share with her. Sometimes animals, just like humans, don’t have what we perceive as ‘ideal’ home lives or living situations. Sometimes abuses are experienced and emotional traumas are incurred. But we have to know, and trust that all of our experiences are for the greater good – they are God, Creator, Spirit or the Universe’s plan. They are the exact lessons and opportunities for growth we need at that moment.
Through these experiences, we are blessed with the most amazing gifts of healing, along with opportunities for awakening and enlightenment. Although often an uphill battle, I am thankful for the process and I fully put my trust in God and my soul’s purposes.
Jessica Baker is an animal intuitive and healer who has a deep understanding of the unity between animals and humans. She lives in the Portland, Oregon area with her husband, their three dogs, a trickster cat and her horse. She is an amateur writer, but an expert in life’s hard knocks and lessons of love via animals. Her website is www.jess-baker.com.