The healing properties of the Dog, the moon and the stars

29 Jul

Last night I took a late walk with the Dog. Where I live it’s still possible to do that in safety.

Though there’s a world heritage-listed littoral rainforest between me and the ocean, the seas must have been rough because I could hear a roar like an approaching tsunami from an ocean that generally offers a comforting background susurration to lull me to sleep.

The night sky was clear and it was cold. Dog trotted happily but slowly beside me as he’s old, and has a bad back leg.

Earlier in the evening I’d avoided my usual news fix. For the last couple days I’ve felt overdosed, satiated to the point of disgust by the self-regarding so-called cultural warriors who’s reaction to the Norwegian massacre has been to point ideological fingers and crow at one another as the terrorist Breivik’s influences were revealed in his manifesto as including various Australians.

This, combined with the mind-numbing repetitive exchange of insults between politicians that passes for serious debate on vital issues that have been stripped of any pretense to moral or ethical consideration, has left me feeling sickened and in urgent need of the healing properties of dogs, trees, stars, moon, beaches and the sea.

The Dog was taken in hand by one of our household very early in his life, and trained to refrain from chasing all living creatures, with the exception of cats. This household member, whom I will not name for all kinds of reasons, is outraged that cats in our little settlement are allowed by some irresponsible owners to run free at night, un-belled and murderous.

The problem is they kill the birds. We’ve gone to great lengths to plant native trees that feed birds, and mornings and evenings at our place are wonderfully cacophonous. It’s the first thing I miss when I’m away from home, the unrestrained brawls between the raucous parrots who manage to slander one another even as they hang upside down stuffing their beaks. Bit like politicians, really but far more beautiful and entertaining than that unimaginative rabble.

So Dog will merely twitch and stiffen if he encounters native animals, but when he comes across a cat, it’s on. Miraculously, he forgets his arthritic leg and takes off like a teenager after the same felines every night. He never gets anywhere near them of course, and that is not his intention. It’s the chase.

Dog knows he’s no match for a cat. Indeed, when he was young he was severely mauled by a ginger tom called Gilbert, who tore his nose to shreds and would have had his eyes out if the cat’s owner hadn’t scooped him up, yowling and flailing, and locked him in the laundry for the rest of the afternoon. Surprisingly, Dog didn’t suffer any obvious post traumatic stress after this beating, instead it apparently inspired him.

A brief listen to the news this morning is sufficient to tell me that nothing has improved overnight. The braying hysteria of Sarah Palin made my stomach lurch, so I turned it off and ate my toast and drank my tea in silence, except for the battle of the birds. Later I will take the Dog to Terry the Vet as he’s got a bizarre swelling on his ear that might be a tick. The Dog loves Terry and Terry loves him. He consistently refuses to charge me for anything like the services he provides. I asked him why he won’t let me pay him what he deserves?

“Because he’s a ripper dog,” Terry told me. “Ripper.”

I don’t know about anybody else, but for me unrelieved exposure to the political scene brings about kind of spiritual starvation, and I have to stop, withdraw, and reconnect with all my other dimensions. The political discourse is so pitifully reduced – where is the inspirational rhetoric, the moral vision, the desire to bring something good into the world rather than to just win an election?

The political discourse does not nourish us, indeed it frequently shames us, with its one-dimensional narrative that takes no account of complexity, and the human heart. One has to get away from time to time, or else become dulled and shriveled, forgetful of any other story. Like the ideologues who see in the Norwegian massacre primarily how it personally affects them and their ideology. They couldn’t even wait until all the bodies have been found, before making it all about them.

Ah well. There’s a moral in that for all of us. Go look at the stars, even if you’re lying in the gutter.



4 Responses to “The healing properties of the Dog, the moon and the stars”

  1. Julia July 29, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    And they are so beautiful & bright at this time of year.

    We all need to revitalise ourselves, de-stress, make time to refresh our senses (touch, smell, sight & hearing), to relax into the beauties of nature, reconnect with & immerse into the Paradise we call Australia.

    It’s called letting the Spirit catch up with the Body, where the daily grind of busy busy busy leaves our spirit lagging behind as we rush, in thought and deed, keeping up with the ratrace. Taking time out and rediscovering our inner humanness as our breath sighs in joy & peace & oneness with the REAL world…

    if only more people regularly did this.

    Give Dog a lovely scratch behind the ears from me.


    • Jennifer Wilson July 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      Thank you, Julia, Dog is most appreciative – whoever would have thought there was such a thing as canine cauliflower ear?


  2. gerard oosterman July 31, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    While cats kill the birds, dogs kill the sheep. While wild dogs mingle with the dingo I doubt you’ll find farmers worried much about cats. We lost our first dog through fox bait. He just happened to walk with us without a lead on and picked up a laced chook head near our neighbours fence. Our lovely border collie died within minutes, awful but a good lesson. Even in the country, especially in the country, dogs always on lead or chained up.

    Last year we visited my brother at Dungog who lives on a 200 acre community held rain forest. Our Jack Russell was on a lead but we walked him let him sniff around undergrowth as Jack Russell’s are want to do, always hoping for a rabbit. When back home here in Bowral he started to wobble around, always a sign of a tick!. We pulled off a couple but he got worse. Took him to the vet. They bathed him and pulled off over seventy ticks. He was given an anti-tick injection. The vet kept the ticks in a glass jar for us to see. Some were still alive trying to crawl out over the edge of the jar. They were very tiny but of the lethal paralysis type.

    Anyway, dear Milo survived but was unsteady fro some weeks. He now runs around like nothing has happened, but we will never visit rainforests with Milo again.
    Our Milo is the rough haired Jack and very much like the dog on the CBA ATM machine, very handsome, good looking, gets many pats and strokes when I tie him up for shopping or the bank. I am sure if I put a cap with a few coins next to him he would get and earn lots of money but so far I have resisted in exploiting his handsomeness.


    • Jennifer Wilson July 31, 2011 at 11:08 am #

      The Dog has cauliflower ear! Terry the Vet says I have to take him out of the boxing ring straight away.
      It’s better than a tick and we have to wait for nine days till it clots and then remove it.
      I have no idea how he came to acquire this malady, and he does look really doleful with an ear that won’t sit up anymore.
      Crossing fingers, we’ve never had any trouble with ticks, not on the Dog anyway, us humans get them all the time.

      Today is so warm I think I’ll take the kayak out on the river. Or else just sit in the sun and look at my toes and think.
      I heard the first boat of asylum seekers that will be sent to Malaysia has been intercepted today.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: