Clea with Billie

Clea, with Billie

September 23, 2011

Clea’s shade is in the bedroom, next to the bed, urging me out for a walk.  “Come on, my dear,” she says enthusiastically.  “Let’s go and experience the day.”

When I agree, she swishes her elegant sweeping tail and glides out of the house, a huge smile on her face – just as she did in life.

Later, her shade is in the kitchen, where I am at the computer in the wee hours trying to finish some work.

“Come to bed, my dear,” she says.  “You need your rest.”

I can’t help the tears when I look up and she isn’t there.  She always waited for me to go to bed.

Clea was a 13-year-old German Shepherd who came to us for hospice care.  She needed a home and we loved her and swore to make every day a jewel.  We believe in the healing ability of the joy factor.  And Clea’s time with us was pure joy.

“Do you want dinner, Clea?”  Her eyes would light up and she would run again, to her spot on the verandah where we put her bowl on a table for her to eat – her nasal cancer made it difficult for her to eat anything at ground level.  She never complained.  She loved miso soup.  She had liver cancer, too, so miso soup was healing and well-tolerated.

We gave her homeopathy three times a day, herbs two and three times a day, daily oils and lots of fun.  It was so rewarding to have a dog who was so grateful for car rides and walks.

She never left my side.

She was a teacher in every sense of the word.  Immediately accepted as the pack elder, she made all the other dogs seem so young.  She taught them how to behave at the beach, grinning in her gracious way as she paddled at the water’s edge.

Despite all the healings from various modalities, Clea refused to heal.  I  wondered what was in the way.  But deep down I knew she wanted to be reunited with the man who had been her main carer, an elder man who had dementia and passed when his beloved dog had finally found a home.  Clea knew he had passed, and her health took a dive from then, even as she made herself more at home with us.

She loved people and would greet everyone who came.  She adored my students and loved to sit in circle with them.   She wove her essence deep into our hearts.

In healing, we talk about healing and  cure.  Ultimately you want both a healing and a cure.  You can cure the symptoms and not heal the soul.  You can heal a soul without curing the body.  And the latter is what happened with Clea.

She made her peace.

She loved Raffi and died, briefly, an hour after he did.  But she came back from the other side.  My red heeler in spirit Cedar had told me it wasn’t Clea’s time, so we stood her up and she took a breath.  She gave us two more blissful weeks to pace our grief.

Mari, the Goose

Mari, the Goose

In that time, we also lost Mari, the precious goose who had had surgery on her beak.  It was healing so well, and then she broke it again.  She had a night in the vet hospital, beautiful surgery again – and died just as the vet was finishing.   We were all heartbroken – even though the signs were there.  I knew, even though I didn’t want to know, that she probably wouldn’t come back from the vet alive even though we had to try and give her our best.

Later, she told me she had a tumour.  Her soul was done.

Hard lessons from the animals.

Clea went for a walk on her last day on earth.  With her usual smile on her face.  Her nasal tumour had shrunk and was healing.   She had breakfast.  And then she died in our arms at sunset.  Peacefully.  We were left in shock.   She left such a giant hole, and even though we knew she wasn’t going to stay forever, you always hope they will.

Meanwhile, Willow was stressed by all the leavings and seizured on an off from the morning of Raffi’s death, to now.  I  began diffiusing Peace and Calming for her as she slept, rubbing Joy on her heart chakra and Valor on her paws, and jasmine on her head.    She appreciated that.

We were also treating an alpaca with an injury and diarrohea  And the day after we buried Clea, one of our thoroughbreds, Tessa, who happened to be in the house paddock for extra TLC with Dakota and Hedgerose, came to the kitchen side of the house and showed me she was dying.  She lay down pathetically and closed her eyes.

Hedgerose asked me if I could do anything.  “No,” I said, too numb for words.  But I did.   Her gums were pale so I gave her Rescue Remedy, and the  homeopathic Aconite for shock.  And in case she was experiencing colic, I treated her with Nux Vom, and then intensively with Carbo Veg and  Ars Alb.  I could hear gut noises and I remembered that Tessa had done this dramatic thing several years ago, standing up as if nothing had happened when the vet was at the front gate.

I  had also anointed her with the oils Valor, Joy and Aroma Life ( on the heart chakra) and despite the drama I could sense a shift.  She was no longer “dying”.

Andrew had long gone to bed and I was on night duty with Tessa.  I told her she was going to be fine and gave her a dose of Peace and Calming, with Peppermint and Di-Gize in apple juice.  The look on her face was comical.  I went off to get some hay, and when I returned she trotted towards me., hungry and alive.

And she still is.


I think the “letting go” period is over now.

Andrew and Tamsin and I are feeling a little shell-shocked, because even though it is the nature of life in the third dimension to lose those who are frail and elderly, loss still hurts.  Even as we see shades and talk to spirits and all of that, you still miss their amazing presence.

It just makes you love even more every day.  Because you never know how much time a soul has got.

I would encourage everyone to have the honour and privilege of taking an older animal on, because, simply, they rock.  Clea said to me, “You got to experience my essence”.

I did.  And her essence, and the experiences we shared, linger.  There is nothing in life more precious than that.

. . . . .

Billie Dean


Copyright ©  Billie Dean, 2011.  Please share this article in its entirety with author’s name and web site. 

Photo credits: Andrew Einspruch, Billie Dean.