I was paying for parking in downtown Oakland when I felt a dog sitting behind me. The owner had been walking by when the small old black dog stopped in its tracks and sat down a few feet from where I stood. His owner said, “Come on! Let’s go!” and pulled on the leash, but the dog wouldn’t budge.
Instead the dog stared at me until I crouched down and said hello in the way that only seems to come when I meet a dog. It’s an, I see you way. A, Hello, Really way. The dog sat perfectly still, looking straight into my eyes. The owner seemed rather amazed. I’m not sure why.
I said, “Old dogs do this to me sometimes. They know a dog lover when they see one.” And the man still seemed astounded. Maybe this dog was unfriendly to most people? Normally extraordinarily shy?
I said, “I think your dog wants you to know something about why he’s here for you.” Um, what? Let me assure you, I had NO IDEA why these words came out of my mouth. None. I looked down, fumbled through my purse for a business card and handed him one. I told him briefly about Bunker and, very quickly, tears came to his eyes. Ah. That’s why.
All this from that old black dog knowing something that we humans could never know, wouldn’t know how to see. Do I know what this something is? No. Do I know why those words came out of my mouth? No. Am I glad they did? Absolutely.
Recently, I met a beautiful golden retriever at the dog park. She was seven-years-old but looked fifteen. Her hair was falling out in patches. Her legs weren’t in great shape, and she had advanced cataracts. She sat with me, leaned against me the way Bunker used to, for nearly thirty minutes. She looked me in my eyes, and past those smoky clouds in hers, I saw a knowing. I talked to her beautiful owner about Bunker and again, tears.
Rupert Sheldrake calls it the morphic field, a kind of animal telepathy. A sixth sense that animals use to communicate and understand. Can you imagine? A whole alternative way of perception?
Walking this morning, a dog out with his owner parked himself again. I just nodded, smiled, put my hand on my heart and thanked the heavens.