Tag Archives: abuse

Choices

"I don't trust people who don't love themselves and tell me, 'I love you."... There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt." -Maya Angelou

“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.”… There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
-Maya Angelou

Mia sat in the middle of the two paths, determined to muster up the courage to take the one Chester was not taking.

Mia couldn’t think of any one thing that caused the shift in her feelings about Chester. They had been together so long; perhaps it was many small things. But one thing she was definitely tired of was feeling invisible. She was no longer content to follow Chester, the “King,” around while he hunted and scratched and intimidated everyone. He ignored her except to illicit constant praise from her and continually ask if she loved him. Her now mechanical answer of “Yes” avoided an argument, most of the time. Other times, when she answered appropriately, he countered that she didn’t love him and started an argument. Life had become so exhausting. She felt empty and confused. At one time she truly did love him. His abusive behavior wore her heart out. Now she just pitied him.

She was restless as she watched Chester start down one of the paths. Staying back, she vowed to hold her ground no matter what. Her heart was flip-flopping wildly with a mix of excitement and dread. She sat with the feelings in her heart—an ending and a beginning—a yearning for a purpose yet to be identified. She felt if emptiness could explode, it would certainly happen if she stayed with him.

She watched as Chester arrogantly sauntered down the path, and then suddenly stopped. “Why aren’t you following me?” he asked with a curled lip and the usual sneer in his tone. He started back to where she was, “It’s your job to follow me; I am the King!” he roared.
“I’m not coming.”
Mia was shocked by the calm in her voice. There was no turning back now.
Chester escalated his demand for her to come with him, roaring loudly and becoming a tyrant. The more abusive he became, the more she dug in her heels while he unwittingly convinced her to leave him.
“I want a happier life. I’m tired of walking on eggshells around you,” Mia said, calmly. She felt the power she’d given to Chester flowing back to her. Her confidence was buoyed as she held his glare.
Chester put his nose in the air. “Fine, I will easily find someone else to take your place; I’m the King, and nobody disrespects me like that. I am better than anyone else; you will never replace me. I am the most cunning and ferocious in all the kingdom!”
He stomped off down the path, wishing secretly she would change her mind. He did not like to be alone at all. He didn’t like being with him either. What would he do without someone to blame for all that goes wrong?

Mia let out a deep breath, immediately feeling giddy. She followed her heart down the other path.

It was the first time Mia had ever been alone. She was struck by how wonderful it was to think uninterrupted. Although she was still jumpy, she gradually started to relax as she inhaled the fresh air. Had it always been so sweet? Her new freedom was intoxicating as she drank in all the sights and sounds. She could do anything now. Nothing could stop her! Only…she had no clue what she wanted.

Mia decided to try an experiment. Everyone she met on her path was there to teach her something, she thought. She would leave herself open without judgment about the messenger. As she settled into her game, she spotted a lovely giraffe out in the field munching on the high leaves of a tree.
“Excuse me, may I ask you what you’ve learned from life?” Mia asked in her softest voice, trying not to scare him.
“Well, the first thing I’ve learned is not to talk to lions!” Max said.
“Please, I mean you no harm. I am searching for answers,” Mia pleaded.
Max acquiesced, sensing something about her was different.
“Okay. I will share with you the most important lesson I have learned: Never be afraid to reach for what you desire your life to be. But always with detachment and acceptance of where it leads you. Staying in the stage of desire all the time will make you unhappy. You will miss the beauty life has to offer each moment, especially for you.”
Max turned and walked away, his long neck swaying gracefully as Mia shouted after him, “Thank you so much! I think I understand.” She found the encounter so exciting and insightful. She decided that was exactly what she was doing. Leaving herself open to life, enjoying each moment.

Several hours went by before Mia came upon a stand of trees. She watched in amazement as the monkeys swung from branch to branch, tree to tree, like chattering trapeze artists. One monkey spotted her and yelled, “Lion!” All of them scattered, except one who looked very old.
“Why didn’t you run in fear with the others?” she shouted up to him.
“I have a good feeling about you, and I am way up here with ample time to go to a different tree, should that change,” Ogdon said confidently. He looked at her curiously and asked, “What brings you here?”
Mia looked up at him and said, “I want to know what life has taught you.”
Ogden scratched his chin thoughtfully and tilted his head to the side.
“I’ve learned that thoughts are like tree branches. There are no bad ones, as they are just thoughts. Only hold them long enough to determine if they make you feel loved and strong, or if they are weak and unsupportive. Then, let them go—don’t hang onto them or you will stay stuck there. Always look to grasp the next thought that makes your heart happy and strong. You naturally will share that happiness. Likewise, if you grab and hold onto weak and unsupportive thoughts, you will stay stuck and share those too.”
He nodded affirmatively, pleased with himself, and looked at Mia.
“Oh, that was very nice! Thank you for sharing that with me.” Mia walked back to the path feeling like she had so much to learn—but realizing all she had to do was ask. Everyone seemed to have something to offer.

Mia continued walking on the path when she noticed a wildebeest strolling towards her. Well this was most fortunate, as Mia loved wildebeest—they were delicious. She was very hungry; it had been a long time since she had eaten. She was proud of herself, finding how capable she was. She could do anything that needed to be done, on her own. Chester had always informed her otherwise. The wildebeest had not spotted her yet, so she moved off the path into the bushes.
As it strolled by her, unaware, she lunged from the bushes, latching onto his neck and taking him to the ground.
“Please don’t hurt me!” he pleaded.
Mia remembered her promise to herself, to learn from everyone on her path. Reluctantly, she released him, using every ounce of self-control as he lay bleeding.
“I hope you will forgive me. I want to ask you something. What have you learned from life?”
He strained to lift his menacingly large head with its shaggy mane. Resigned to his destiny, in a weak voice he said, “Know when it’s time to leave. Realize when you have gleaned all you can from your current environment, and have the courage to seek greener pastures. Enduring something that is not likely to change is just fear of change. Don’t stay where there is little nourishment for the mind, body and soul. We do this every year when we migrate,” he said, wistfully.

She was touched that he would share such profound last words. That is what she had done with Chester, left for greener pastures. She thanked him as she watched him die. And with tremendous gratitude, she dined solemnly, accepting that she was still a lion. One with a greater understanding of life and how connected everything and everyone seemed to be. It seemed she already knew what she had just learned—that all paths lead home, to the same amazing universe within everyone, no matter their role in life.

Always A Race Horse

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
-Mark Twain

Savannah was beginning to feel the gloom of her surroundings. Only a week ago she was living on a preschool playground with lots of friends. That was until the gang member kidnapped her as part of his initiation. Only no ransom would be demanded. It was over—everyone laughed at how clever he’d been.

Life in the “cave,” as they called the long since abandoned building, was depressing. They came there in the evening to do drugs and put out their cigarettes on her. They strutted around displaying various acts of bravado fueled by lots of liquid courage. Then, the grand crescendo, smashing their bottles against the back wall. Mostly they got into fights with each other and tagged the walls.

She missed the playground with its lush trees and laughing children. The children had called her the Race Horse. It made her feel invincible. Obviously, there was more to being invincible, Savannah decided. She had to keep believing that was still who she was, even if nothing else around her indicated that.

As she looked around at the graffiti, she began to appreciate some of it as being quite artistic. Some with very vibrant colors and 3D effects. But the messages all of it sent were the same, some more blunt than others. Hatred, fear, despair, jealousy, insecurity, lots of anger, blame, hopelessness and no love for themselves or the world. Some she didn’t understand at all. Surely they had once been just like the children at the preschool. Full of joy, excitement and the wonder of life. Somewhere they had gotten abandoned, or worse—just like the building they gravitated to. Here they were, all of them together. They had found each other, like magnets, drawn to one another. All wanting from the others what they couldn’t give themselves—unconditional love. She felt compassion for all of them. The garbage smelled.

If she closed her eyes, she could imagine herself back on the playground. She could hear peals of laughter as the kids bantered over whose turn it was to ride the Race Horse. She imagined herself, a white Arabian horse, galloping on the beach, kicking up sand in the ocean air. She did not have to be her environment. Savannah realized she was the same inside, no matter where she was. She was still the Race Horse, because that’s what made her happiest.

The night stretched into the wee hours. It degenerated into gunfire into the desert sky as they all moved outside to shoot beer bottles. A typical raucous night with her new family. All had gone quiet as the gang dissipated, going their separate ways. A few hours later, Savannah heard a large vehicle just outside. Its headlights shining into the little windowless hole in the wall. It was very early morning, still dark. Something was up.

Three men with hard hats and flashlights entered the cave. Three beams of light painted the walls every which way.
“We might be able to salvage the bricks and resell them,” the tallest one said, looking around. “This will come down pretty fast, and I do think we could get something for the bricks. The paint might even make them sell better to some ‘artsy fartsy’ people.” They laughed.

Savannah felt panic shoot through her as she realized they were talking about tearing down the building! Just when she didn’t think her life could get more challenging, it did.
“Hey, check this out! Pretty cool—I’m going to take it home for the kids and clean it up,” the youngest one said. It took Savannah a minute before she realized she had been saved. “Help me get her on the truck, will you?”

Savannah felt herself being hoisted up and out into the dizzying fresh air. She gulped fresh air deeply, breathing out, ahhh… no garbage. They set her down on the bed of the truck and secured her with straps so she would be safe. Yes, they knew how to take care of a Race Horse, she giggled to herself. She sat in the back of the truck for another hour as they surveyed the rest of the building. She grew anxious waiting. Finally they all came out and piled into the truck.
After a bumpy ride, they stopped abruptly and the engine went quiet. A cloud of dust from the dirt road enveloped her. She couldn’t see a thing but she could hear.

“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! Is that a horse? Is that for us?”
Several young voices were all talking excitedly over each other. As the dust settled, she could see three young girls and one quiet, overwhelmed little boy. Eyes transfixed on Savannah. They all gathered around as the men lifted her down off the truck and carried her to the garage.

Savannah sat there in the garage for the rest of the day with an occasional visit from one of the children. That evening they watched their Daddy as he carefully cleaned the dust off Savannah. He filled her cigarette holes with putty. He sanded and applied matching white paint to the wounds. Just for fun, he grabbed some tar paper and crafted little blinders for the side of each eye. One little girl said in hushed amazement, “Daddy, she looks just like a race horse!”
Savannah knew she was home.

                                                                                      Be as you wish to seem. – Socrates

Arabian Dreams

"I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint- and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the Universe to lead you." -Oprah Winfrey

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint- and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the Universe to lead you.”
-Oprah Winfrey

She felt the ice cream melting through her mane. The little boy incessantly kicked her ribs and shouted, “Giddy-up stupid!” Another child pulled on her tail repeatedly with a sticky, blue candy hand.
Tourists.
The Arabian Dreams Ranch was a tourist trap. A miserable life. Walking in the hot sun, carrying overweight, beer-soaked tourists and their screaming, unruly children. Seven days a week. Piper was far from her dream life, a life of meaning.

One evening, after all the tourists had returned to their hotels, Piper did as she usually did. She watched the ranch hand shut things down. She watched as he swigged his beer covertly from a brown bag, getting a jump on the Friday night festivities. She watched him drop his keys in the dirt as he was going to lock the gate. As he picked up his keys, his cell phone rang and he quickly broke into a smile. He spoke in a very suggestive and lovie-dovie tone with the person calling. Piper looked on as he anxiously headed off to his truck. He tossed the empty beer and bag into the truck bed, got in barely closing the door, and drove off. He’d left the gate unlocked.

It didn’t take Piper long to realize she had an opportunity. She wandered over to the gate, nudged it with her nose until she could fit through. She ran like she had 20 zombie tourist children chasing her. Freedom was sweet. She ran into the woods where she would have some cover from being seen.

Piper spent the night under a big, twisted tree near a stream. In the morning, once the sun was on the stream, she waded into the water. She washed all the sticky mess from her mane and tail, and she felt rejuvenated with excitement for her future. She knew deep down it would have to lead to her dream—a meaningful life. She followed the stream the better part of the day. Until it flowed under a wall of jagged rocks and into the ocean. As she hiked the treacherous rocks, doubt that she could continue crept into her thoughts. She worried as she stared at a huge hole in the rocks where the waves crashed through with enormous power. She admitted to herself she was trapped. Piper wondered if looking for a life of meaning wasn’t possibly the most stupid thing she’d ever done.

She closed her eyes and let the powerful spray cool her down, as she slowly started to panic. “What am I going to do? How will I ever get out of here?” She was exhausted, and talking to herself seemed a logical next step. She closed her eyes. An unusual flapping sound made her open them. She marveled at what must have been a five-foot wingspan, belonging to a most exotic looking bird.

“You look very forlorn. Can I help? By the way, I’m Lourdes.” She circled around Piper and waited.
“I’m afraid I’m lost and worse yet, trapped. I don’t know how to get out of here. The sea and rocks are too rough for me now, and I don’t know where to go.” Piper babbled on in her exhaustion, telling Lourdes all about the Arabian Dreams nightmare. She told her how she was looking for a life of meaning. Lourdes listened patiently, occasionally nodding understandingly. Piper watched Lourdes take a spiral path upwards, then widen her circle back down to where Piper was stuck.

“No worries. Follow me. But it’s going to get harder before it gets easier…”
Piper followed Lourdes, one step at a time over the uneven, slick terrain. She did a slight backtrack over the rocks, taking a sharp turn and going down to the left. Finally, she hovered over a narrow opening, a cave in the rocks. “I’ll wait for you on the other end. Be careful!” The giant wings effortlessly lifted her up, and Lourdes was gone.

Piper struggled to fit herself through the narrow opening. She walked over the smoother but slippery rocks inside the cave. The damp smell filled her nostrils as she could hear the muffled crashing of the relentless sea. She was very focused as she slowly navigated her way through the darkness. It seemed like it would never end, until finally, she could see light. She stayed focused on the light, and as she exited the cave she found herself on a sandy beach. A choppy shoreline lapped at her hooves. There was Lourdes circling around, waiting for her.

“I can’t begin to thank you enough, I don’t know what …” Piper quit talking as she watched Lourdes fly away. She swooped up and went high into the sky and was gone. Piper looked out over the beach at the small structures dotting the shoreline. She spotted a very pale little girl with a scarf on her head. She was walking towards her. She was carrying something. A woman all dressed in green followed behind, carrying their shoes. Piper’s gut told her to stay put. As the little girl approached, Piper could see she had a plastic bag with slices of apples and carrot sticks. As she reached Piper, she attempted to gently pet Piper’s neck. But the woman shouted to her, warning her not to touch the horse. She ignored her and opened the bag, giving Piper a carrot stick. Piper forgot how hungry she was and happily accepted. The little girl seemed to not have much energy. When the woman reached them, she told the girl to rest on a nearby rock. Piper followed the apples and carrots to the rock. The girl smiled at her as she pushed another carrot stick to her muzzle.

“I bet the other kids would like to pet her too. She seems nice. Maybe we can keep her!” said the girl.
“I’m sure she belongs to someone who is missing her. She’s so pretty,” said the woman.
Piper continued to eat from the girls palm as she giggled and kept a steady stream of carrots and apples coming. Piper thought this was the sweetest child in the world. The woman stroked Piper’s neck as she told the girl they needed to get back to the hospital. She agreed to take her back and said they would take care of her while they tried to find the owner.

Piper followed them up the beach to the building. There were several children sitting outside on the patio, also wearing scarves. They all smiled at once, and rushed onto the beach to see the horse.

As the weeks went on Piper gave rides to the sick children and made them laugh. They adored her, and she loved making them happy. The woman was unable to get any response on her efforts to find the owner of Piper. After two months, she finally gave up. Much to Piper’s relief.

One evening as Piper was watching the sun set over the ocean, she thought about the significant events in her life. About how she had gotten her sense of adventure and courage from the herd of wild horses she ran with. That was before getting separated and ending up at Arabian Dreams. She thought about how her life had tracked in a way she never could have imagined. She needed to be captured and have the horrible experiences with the tourists. While both were dreadful experiences, now she was grateful for them. She would not have known how to give rides to the sick kids. As she connected the dots of her life, she realized how everything led to her ultimate happiness, a meaningful life.

And Lourdes…she showed up out of nowhere to help, with eerily perfect timing. Perhaps she was somehow being prepped for this by something larger than herself? She wondered.

Hearing Without Listening

"I need to listen well so that I hear what is not said." -Thuli Madonsela

“I need to listen well so that I hear what is not said.”
-Thuli Madonsela

Her captor looked on as Annabel became more and more fatigued from her struggle. He laughed and looked at one of his eight watches.
“I can wait.” He grinned.
Annabel saw her mistake so clearly now. He lured her in by appealing to her desire, milkweed. The promise of revealing a secret location where milkweed grew so huge and lush, it was like a forest. He’d lied.

He’d kept telling her to come closer, he couldn’t hear her. Raised to be polite and agreeable, Annabel found herself impossibly stuck now in his web of lies.
After so much useless struggle, she stopped struggling. “Why didn’t I listen to my gut? I knew it sounded too good to be true. If I ever get out of here, I will teach the flock to trust their intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, that’s enough—don’t hang around to figure out why.”  She was chattering aloud, nervously. He smirked and laughed some more, rubbing several legs together. She looked around at her surroundings and took it all in. So this is where it ends, she thought.

To blame him for her predicament was useless. He was just doing all he knows how to do. He really was quite good at it, she admitted—he told her exactly what she wanted to hear. A small part of her prepared to die.

Movement. Out of the corner of her eye, a huge rat blinked at her.
“I can reach you from here,” he said, very matter-of-fact. “I can detach the tethers that hold you in place and destroy the web, but why should I?”

Annabel was shocked at his bluntness as well as his callous attitude. “Uh, because it would make you feel good to be of service to another living being?” she replied, with a hint of sarcasm. She decided to take the friendly route.

“I’m Annabel. What do you like to be called?”
“Sam. But I have never actually helped anybody. I like to figure out ways that I could, but I don’t,” he said, scratching his belly and leaning on the roof gutter.
Annabel seized the moment. “Oh, you need to carry it a step further! Nothing feels as good as helping someone out of a jam. I would be so grateful—and please, I don’t have much time.”

“Stay out of this, you ugly rodent!” said the spider.
Sam took offense at being called a rodent. “I’m not afraid of you, Sedgwick! Your deceitful conning and pretentious nature are legendary around here!”
The spider watched as Sam took a swoop through three strands of web, partially freeing Annabel.
“Apologize,” demanded Sam, as he poised an arm over more of the web that held the now very excited Annabel. She struggled to free herself as Sedgwick said, “Never apologize. It’s a sign of weakness. How you deal with my insults doesn’t concern me—you’re hypersensitive. I am doing what I do.”

“As am I.” Sam took another swoop through the remaining strands of web that still held Annabel.
Annabel flapped awkwardly as she freed herself. Filled with the joy of freedom once again, she fluttered over to Sam and kissed the top of his head. “Thank you! Bless you, Sam—and may good fortune soon come your way for your random act of kindness!”

He smiled as he watched her flutter away and thought that it did feel good to help someone so beautiful out of a jam. He turned his attention back to Sedgwick. Sitting, all legs crossed, very angry, not as bold, in the center of his partially-destroyed, now empty empire. Gently tugging on a strand of web, Sam slowly reeled in the spider, like a fish on a line.

“She was mine, rodent! You had no business interfering with my affairs. I lured her by offering what I knew she desired—what’s wrong with…” On and on Sedgwick’s tirade went, up until Sam opened his mouth wide and ate him.

Annabel never could have imagined such a wildly orchestrated outcome to her seemingly hopeless predicament. She realized that she not only had to hear her little inner voice, but listen to it as well.

Illusions

"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles...by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." -Mark Twain

“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles…by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” -Mark Twain

Maisie tasted the dirt coating her tongue as she tore away at the earth beneath her twitching paws. Rocks, twigs and roots were hurled aside as she pulled the earth up like flimsy wall-to-wall carpet.

Maisie was lost in her dream world where she was in charge. Again in foster care, again ignored and given minimal attention. Food, water and a pat on the head. She was left to her own imagination during the frequent naps she took to entertain herself.

People always said, “Oh, is she a pit bull? That’s scary,” blah, blah, blah… She had been adopted three times by someone wanting her to fight other dogs. She had become a very adept escape artist, but her survival skills fell short. Here she was in foster care again. It was the same movie. She wasn’t mean. The mean people wanted her to be mean, to fight with other dogs for money. She couldn’t do it—she was a lover.

There were four other dogs in the foster pack. Millie, a four year old red Queensland heeler, who was adorable and truly was mean. Mandy, a quiet, sweet mix of shepherd and at least three other breeds. She had a soft, long, golden coat and was afraid of her own shadow. Sadie, a working girl always looking for something to do, was a Catahoula. Maisie had not seen a Catahoula before. Her short coat was covered with different colored spots in all shapes and sizes from head to toe. She was also very bright, fearless, and a smart conversationalist. And lastly, Banjo. A big, handsome mixed guy with one floppy ear and stripes like a tiger. All the dogs loved him, and he loved them. But the problem was people. He snarled a snaggled tooth grin and growled when they came near him—then laughed as they ran away. They never hung around to hear him laugh at his silly game. He meant nothing by it.

Maisie had seen several other dogs get adopted during her stay. She longed to get adopted by someone kind who would love her and make her a member of their family. She didn’t know how to be loved. She always had to figure out how to survive her owners—and escape.

The doorbell sounded. Chimes echoed through the house. She watched as the foster mom distractedly fixed her dark hair in an invisible mirror, and opened the door. She adjusted her tight shirt, pulling it down over her belly as she ushered in the smiling young couple. Maisie didn’t move from her spot in the corner. She had a perfect vantage point to see all the commotion. The others rushed the nice couple, jumping on them, barking and competing for attention.

Except for Mandy. She sat in front of them, quietly, with her deep brown eyes focused like lasers on the woman. She never took her eyes off her. Maisie felt invisible as she watched. The foster mom was extra charming as Millie nipped the woman’s calf. The woman was still smiling but rubbing her calf as she locked eyes with Mandy. Banjo growled, sending mixed messages with his tail wagging. Sadie tugged at the man’s pant leg in an effort to herd him somewhere. The couple seemed to like Mandy’s ladylike demeanor, and soon asked what the next step would be. As they separated Mandy from the pack, she seemed a mix of nerves and excitement. Her tail whipped back and forth as she walked out the front door with all the humans. The others quickly stopped the performance and went back to what they had been doing. Bone chewing, sleeping, grooming. Mandy was brought back in after a few more minutes, and the next day they came to take her home. Score for Mandy!

Maisie pondered how Mandy had created her future by being totally different from the others. She had quietly let her focus do the work. She created a new life for herself with just her thoughts! She focused on what she wanted. Not on what she didn’t want. She acted like it was a done deal. Maisie realized she had been focused on the fear that another mean person would adopt her, and that was what always happened. How could she learn to do what Mandy did? After all, she was still a “scary pit bull.” Maybe she could make herself look “not” scary?

A couple of days went by before another prospect arrived with the chiming of the bell. Maisie felt she was ready as she focused on the life she wanted. An attractive woman in yoga togs, and a similarly attired little girl—about seven years old—with beautiful red curls entered. They seemed nervous as they followed the foster mom into the house. Maisie got up from her corner and slowly walked towards them, letting the others rush them as usual. Suddenly Millie had pummeled the little girl to the floor. The little girl burst into tears, filling the room with high pitched screams of terror and lots of barking at Millie.

Maisie walked over to the little girl with her biggest, goofiest dog grin and started to gently lick her tears. The little girl hesitantly started to giggle, alternating between a pouty mouth and a smile trying to break through. Pretty soon she was laughing. She wrapped her little arms around Maisie’s neck, announcing loudly, “Mommy, this is the one. She’s so sweet!”

Maisie’s grin got even goofier. The girl’s mother watched the bonding episode with a smile on her face. Then, the smile was gone.
“Oh, is that a pit bull? They scare me.”
Maisie kept her grin as she leaned into her new pal and gave her another sweet kiss, watching the girl’s brow furrow with worry.
“Mommy, I love her! She’s not scary—she kissed my tears and made me laugh!”

Maisie watched the mother’s face now as it softened, unable to see fear in the gaping, coast-to-coast grin. She knew she’d won her over!

The woman turned to the foster mom and said, “That dog clearly loves Maggie and Maggie loves her. There’s nothing left to do but take her home!”

Maisie reclined on the overstuffed, buttery soft leather couch in her new home. Her head resting in the lap of her beloved Maggie as she stroked her ears. Maisie thought about what had happened. The journey of her short life up to this point. How it seemed like a series of lessons, each one necessary. Up until the point she realized that as long as she had the same thoughts, she would keep having the same life. What power she had! She had created a whole new life simply by deciding what she wanted, staying focused, and taking action to get there. So it was all an illusion, like her dreams, created by her thoughts and perceptions.

Maggie asked, “Maisie, do you want to go outside and play?”
Maisie rushed the door with her paws dancing on a hot griddle of excitement. And they played with reckless abandon.