Things happen. Totally out of the blue. When I arrived in Santa Fe, did I think I’d be leaving with a stray dog? No. Had I even wanted a second dog? Definitely not. Just the night before I had posted an “ode to Scout” on my Instagram—a thank you for bearing with me while I explored myself, which to her inconvenience meant living in ten different places forcing her to become so acutely aware of the nuances of moving—so much so, that every time, after the first bag was packed, she already knew. She would whine and cry and follow me at my heels ensuring that I wouldn’t leave without her. I assured her that I never would. Scout is my best friend. My constant. Through pain and elation, she bore it all with me. Despite constant shifts in my environment and mind, I always had one thing that stayed with me, Scout.
From the ripe young age of 17, these last eight years have been totally transformative. Like any young 20 something, I fucked up and so did she. We led parallel lives in our two separate realms, but we grew together. Scout and me, me and Scout. Especially now, with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are never apart. In fact, over the past few months in quarantine, we have become quite co-dependent upon one another. Over the years, there have been times where I have underappreciated her presence, but over the past few months, our bond became stronger than ever.
It’s always been Scout and me and I truly never considered bringing another dog into our relationship. But here I am at Santuario de Chimayo,* loading Scout into the van and shutting the door when I see two golden-brown eyes staring up at me begging for acknowledgement. This acknowledgement was more than just a simple, “hello, dog. I see you followed us out into the parking lot,” but rather an acknowledgement of an opportunity, should I choose to take it. At first glance, it seemed a chance to expand my capacity to love a little bit wider. You see, I didn’t think it was possible to love anything alongside Scout. Scout is very possessive over me, and I am very accommodating of her. It had always just been Scout and me. Me and Scout.
But this dog—this stray dog. Many would call me crazy and impulsive, and yes, I can certainly be that. But this dog—this stray dog—was different. She came with ease, yet she presented obstacles. Taking her along fell in line with the work that I am doing inwardly as a sort of outward expression. Scout didn't seem to mind her.
I made sure to be open and realistic. If I couldn’t provide her with a good home, I would make absolutely sure to find her one so that whatever way it chalked out, she’d at least be better off. But now, as I am certain anyone might predict, I am attached. She’s taking to domesticity quite fast. I can tell she sometimes yearns for her wildness—her old life where she ran free and unobstructed. But I have the sensation that her new life, filled with steady companionship from both humans and dogs alike, might just be worth the trade. In her old life, she roamed solo. She had only visitations with the pilgrims of Santaurio de Chimayo where her interactions were brief and momentary, enough to beg for the remains of picnic scraps gifted by some friendly tourist. Now, as she curls up next to me in bed with Scout, her head nuzzled into my lap, I think that she’s beginning to learn the perks of the pack.
And as Ziggy learns from us, I learn from her. Even Scout is participating in this game of adaptation, openness, and release. The day before Ziggy came into our life, I had met a teacher at Stardreaming Ranch just outside of Santa Fe. If I wrote a list of all the questions, comments and concerns that I had for myself and for the future before I left on this trip, then they were all answered in my seven-hour conversation with this man at Stardreaming.* I had initially thought that I was on a quest to find my teacher, and I realized that day that my teacher would come in many different forms. I found the man at Stardreaming and the next day I found Ziggy.
I have two dogs now, an idea I played with in my mind, sure, but never had I thought that I would actually act on such a spontaneous whim. Spirit comes to us in many unexpected ways. It might ask that you be receptive and insightful or crazy and impulsive and that’s why Spirit is awesome. I was overthinking my plans, indecisive about what to do next, and caught up in expectations. Spirit throws a stray dog in my face and now I am back in Richmond, VA. I am chilling out for a while. I am having fun with dogs! And I’m not too concerned about what will come next—just enjoying the lessons and relaxing in the moment.
*Santuario de Chimayo is a major Catholic pilgrimage site and swimming in energy. I passed through on my way to Toas to meditate, and then I found Ziggy. I never made it to Taos.
*This man is James Jereb, the creator of Stardreaming Ranch. He is a profound example of what it means to truly lead a life in service to Spirit. If you’re ever in Santa Fe and you are seeking a mystical experience, find him. Release any expectations and remain available.