Dusty, from a photo taken in 2008.

It is with great and tender sadness that I write to inform all our friends that our beloved Dusty has passed. I was here alone and came in from the evening chores to find him sleeping peacefully in his warm and cosy basket. Only he wasn’t breathing. I checked under the blanket to feel his pulse to make sure. I didn’t want to believe he was gone – even though our dog in spirit Cedar had been here for the past four days, waiting to take him Home.

When I asked Dusty why he slipped away while I was outside, he gently told me “it was perfect timing – my timing.”

The house is filled with his presence still, an invisible cloak of light and love, that is the angel Dusty always was. Even though the end had been coming for a long time, and Andrew and I put in months of around the clock hospice care, his departure left a hole in the fabric of our family. He had been with us seven years.

I miss tending him. I miss fussing over his blankets, making sure his bed was dry and soft, keeping the fire burning all through the night. Sitting quietly with him in the wee hours, taking it in turns with Andrew who is probably hurting the most right now. He also tended him graciously and uncomplainingly for months of broken nights.

Many of you will remember the sweet and gentle chocolate-coloured kelpie who we took on unhesitatingly when we got an emergency call about him. He wasn’t considered fit for re-homing, considered “too old” by other agencies, but needed a home, because his person wasn’t leaving her abusive situation without him finding one. (Good for her, even it that was difficult.)

Dusty came to us with “trauma”. He had been flung across the room, walked with a limp, had the worst case of “shot” nerves anyone had ever seen, a broken tooth and insides that were so shaken up, that he nearly died.

Dusty sleeping on Andrew surrounded by pack.

Dusty sleeping on Andrew surrounded by pack.

When Andrew collected him, this dog wound himself around him and created a deep and lasting bond of the heart between the two of them. Dusty enjoyed long walks, sleeping on top of Andrew, and true peace, fitting easily into our pack.

And then, some months after he came to us, he stopped eating.  A rushed visit to the vet found a diaphragmatic hernia and organs floating around in his chest cavity, the result of “past trauma”. He needed surgery, and there was a question over whether he would survive. But when I tuned in, he so wanted to live, with a fierce determination that belied his frail body.

He survived. And he recovered.

Dusty didn’t want to leave us this time either. He clung onto life, not minding the indignity of being carried outside to go the toilet. Or anything really. He called us his “angels” and always knew “angel hands” would lift him up. So when Cedar arrived in spirit we knew it was time to remind him there were other angels who would take care of him on the other side.

Dusty was one of those funny little furry ones that blessed everyone who met him. People would single him out for a pet or a cuddle. He touched everyone with his gentle dignity.

I don’t think anyone can say a dog is “too old” and therefore unhomeable. Dusty gave us seven years of friendship and love. When hearts bond, no matter the circumstance, they bond for a reason and no “authority” should stand between that bond and dictate something other. I say this because many dogs I have come across have been refused loving human companions they bonded with because the dogs failed a stupid “behavioural” test under scary conditions. I know people have to be careful. I know there are a lot of people who shouldn’t have animals in their care. But the women and dogs this has happened to don’t fall into that category. They are loving, kind, compassionate and capable.

Our family was blessed by Dusty in ways only other human beings touched by the love and gratitude of a rescued animal can understand. He is deeply missed and our little cottage is very subdued as I write. We have done our ritual post death clean of the home, rearranging it and energetically clearing it and now we are taking some nurturing family time with vegan “junk” food and movies. We usually like to take a family day off and drive down the hill to the beach, but for some reason we haven’t managed to do that for the last losses. Overdue for sure.

We know lots of people have suffered animal losses this past little while. And want to send you our love and blessings. We know it hurts.

And those with elder animals, make every day a jewel.  Supporting them through their soul journey is a very special and rich experience for the human spirit.

. . . . . .

Billie Dean is an internationally recognised interspecies telepath, animal and peace advocate and award-winning creative artist.  She  is the author of Secret Animal Business, and  co-founder of Wild Pure Heart Productions which produces  inspiring and heart-warming films about animals and peace.  Billie runs a transformational on-line school Rainbow Fianna, teaching animal communication with ethics and an eclectic blend of native  and visionary wisdom to help people evolve into the human angels animals need them to be. With her husband and daughter, Billie runs A Place of Peace at her home, where over 40 rescued horses run free, and is the founder of the Billie Dean Deep Peace Trust, a not-for-profit that promotes peace and freedom for all animals through the arts, education and compassionate action. billiedean.com  Copyright ©  Billie Dean, 2012.  You are welcome to share  this article but only in its complete form with author, author blurb, and website attached.  Thank you!

Photo credits: Billie Dean