take that trauma from your past
see the whole thing new
I did that; whole new story
now let’s see how it works out
Kona came to live with me six years ago tomorrow. It was an amazing journey, 13 days after having to put Drake to sleep, until Kona arrived.
Drake’s last day was so very emotional. He’d been having seizures from November 12 through the 16th, 2011. A seizure would start, he’d drop to the floor in convulsions, with no bladder or bowel control, shaking for seconds, minutes, and lie there for a while, recuperating. Then he’d get up and wander around the house and bang into things, because he couldn’t see, and I’d have to follow him around the house. He’d knock things over. He’d fall. He’d walk into walls. I’d have to do another round of laundry after cleaning up after him and giving him another bath and changing out the padding in his kennel. Eventually after hours passed, he would settle back down a bit, and then another seizure would come and we’d do it all over again, every few hours, all day long and all night long. The episode starting on November 12 was particularly brutal and I kept in touch with my veterinarian. He’d had seizures for the last three of his six years on the planet.
The morning of November 16, I was exhausted, and so was he. He’d been up barking all night. I hadn’t been able to sleep all night. I kept him in his kennel at the far end of the living room and tried to put some distance between him and me by closing my bedroom door, but it didn’t work. I could still hear him barking and having seizures all night long, and putting him in his kennel in the bedroom didn’t help either; he still barked nonstop. That morning I realized I *had* to get to my office; I had work to do. I got up, took a shower, gave him another bath and got him ready to go outside.
This time, though, he was different. I’d look him in the eye and call his name, and there was nobody home. I gave him commands — “sit!” — “down!” — “speak!” — and, nothing. No response. At all.
He started biting my hand, my arm, humping my leg, not to be cute about it, but in dead seriousness. This was not good. I always had him with me at the office, and if he was going to be biting me, and possibly biting others, that couldn’t be a good thing to have him at the office — and with him having frequent seizures, there was no way I was going to leave him at home for many hours at a time. He had to be with me.
I got ready and got him ready to go for a walk before driving to the office. On our walk I ran into a guy I’d been wanting to speak to for a while. He was at the vacant house next door, and the sign on his truck said he was doing property management. Aha! We chatted a bit, I got my questions answered, and as we walked away, Drake started biting and humping me again — for real. This was not like him at all.
The young man called to me: “Do you need some help?” Not one to typically ask for help, I said, “Actually, I might!” And he walked over and Drake started biting and humping *him.* I apologized for his unseemly behavior; I told the young man that he’d been having seizures for the prior four days, and this wasn’t who he really was. He’s really a great guy.
The young man said, “Oh, that’s fine; my parents have a dog who has seizures. I totally understand.” He was so kind and patient.
I said, “Could you help me out a bit? Could you hold on to him while I put his kennel in the car?” Because I could see that I was going to have to take him with me, and the kennel was in the house, not the car; it was a big kennel; it took some doing to get it from the house into the car. With Drake acting the way he was acting, I couldn’t have done that alone. He held on to Drake for those few minutes, then helped put Drake in the kennel in the car.
I thanked him for his help, and he went on about his business. I swear he was an angel sent to help me that day. I’d never seen him before that day and never saw him after that day either.
I’d been keeping in touch with the veterinarian over these difficult days. I’d always been able to manage his seizures just fine. This time things were getting out of control. The seizures weren’t stopping. I called the veterinarian and told her we were coming in.
As I drove to the vet’s office I noticed, out the corner of my eye, a hawk. The hawk came into the right side of my field of vision as it hovered above the ditch, and then plummeted down to the ground in a flash, whoosh!!! — then flew right back up again instantly. I gasped.
The way I interpret things, the hawk — the hawk is my messenger — was on my right side. I was heading north. The hawk flew in from the east. The east to me stands for “new beginnings.” The right side stands for “sending.” The hawk started out “alive” in the air, then plummeted to the ground, looking like it was dying, and then arose instantly, to fly south. Was the hawk sending me a message that Drake was dying? And that he’d be back?
I started sobbing at this realization, and speed-dialed a psychic friend of mine. When she answered she did not say “hello;” she did not say “it’s been a long time since we’ve talked;” but she did say “what’s going on with Drake?”
Tuning in with Drake she told me it was his time to go. He was choosing this. He’s been with me for the time he needed to be with me. Let him go. He’ll be back.
I kept driving to the vet’s office. Drake barked nonstop.
Once I arrived, she laid out my options. We’d tried everything she had to recommend for me. We hadn’t enrolled in a university study yet, something that would cost me several thousands of dollars and may not give me any information or help.
At this point she predicted that Drake would have more and more seizures, the episodes would get gradually closer and closer together, and there was no medication that would fix this. We’d tried everything she had to offer, and I tried the alternatives too — I was home-cooking his meals, giving him alternative supplements, asking psychics for help and healing and insights into what was going on, and nothing helped.
Her advice that day: it was time to end his life.
That was the last thing I thought I would be doing that day, choosing to end another being’s life.
I went back out to the car to give this news to Drake, who hadn’t quit barking. When I gave him this news, that today he would be leaving this world and going into the spirit world, he stopped. He looked at me. He lay down in his kennel and relaxed. What that meant to me: he was saying to me, “YOU are not putting me to sleep, I am CHOOSING this. I am putting MYSELF to sleep.”
We had about an hour to wait for the vet to get back from lunch at that point, so we drove to the McDonald’s drive-thru and got that last treat for him, his kiddie-sized ice cream cone. I’d hand it to him and — *gulp* — he’d wolf it right down, ice cream, cone, the whole thing, all in one big gulp. He loved those. I bought one for myself too and gave him the last few bites of mine. And then we drove back to the vet’s office.
Without barking, without humping, without biting, he got out of the kennel and out of the car and calmly walked right into the vet’s office, lay down on the floor and curled up on my lap where I held him in my arms, and relaxed. It was his choice. He knew what was going on. It felt like he was saying it was a relief to get this done. The vet put the needle in. And like that, he was gone.
I was a mess. I was heartbroken. I was in agony. I sorted back through my memories: where did I go wrong? Was there anything else I could have tried that I didn’t try? Was there a healing technique that would have worked that I missed?
For the next days I kept watching the skies. If the hawk gave me a message that Drake was about to die and then rise again, most surely the hawk would tell me when he was returning.
During those days I would drive to the office and home again, seeing no hawks. There were always hawks sitting on the fence posts or on tree branches or circling the sky along that road; sometimes I’d see two or three, five or six hawks in twenty minutes. Not seeing hawks was unusual in itself. I decided that was a sign that Drake was otherwise occupied in the spirit world.
Days passed. I washed everything in the house: rugs, towels, sheets, blankets, anything Drake had touched. I gathered Drake’s belongings and listed them on Craigslist to give them away. Over Thanksgiving when I knew there would be no family team meetings in my office I moved the furniture and repainted the front room in the office. I took care of things I hadn’t had the time to take care of while Drake was around, or things that were more difficult to do with a busy dog nearby. I went to a movie theatre a time or two. I spent hours shopping in stores, just walking around, not really buying anything. I went out to dinner. I kept watching for hawks. There were no hawks. Well, maybe there would be a hawk way, way across the sky, but I wasn’t sure if that was a hawk or not. The hawks were not getting close, giving me messages.
Over Thanksgiving I noticed it was very windy there in northeastern Nebraska where I lived on the Omaha Reservation. Those were the days when I was driving back and forth to the office, painting the office. If we’d had snow during those days, we would have had a blizzard and the state would have closed the road. As it was, it was just past harvest time in the fields that lined the roads, and dry cornstalks blew wildly across the road, west to east. Birds of various shapes and sizes hung in the air without having to flap their wings to stay afloat, facing the wind; they looked like they were having a good time. But there were no hawks. It was as if the wind was sweeping things clean.
One clear starry moonlit night, driving home near midnight on one of those nights when I’d been busy painting the office, I saw a shooting star that landed, burned up, evaporated, incinerated itself, disappeared, exactly where it looked like my home was located. I was about 25 miles north of my house when I saw it. A star! A shooting star! A bright shining star that I just happened to see! That was my first real sign of any kind of movement in the spirit world.
Was I ready for Drake to come back home to me? Yes! I was! I’d washed everything, dried everything, sorted everything, tossed everything, cleaned every last trace of his scent in the house, but kept, just for me, that one snuggly little apple-green fuzzy blanket that he loved to shred. That one, I didn’t wash. I wanted to keep his smell. I tucked that away safely inside a plastic zipper bag.
Now it was time to get him back. I decided I’d have to go out and look for him. I’d have to let him know where I am.
The Sunday afternoon right after Thanksgiving I went out walking in the town where Drake and I walked twice a day, at least. People in that little town may not have known my name, because I didn’t grow up there, but they knew me as “the white woman who walks her dog around town,” I suppose. The kids in town knew my dog and me and always wanted to pet my dog, and he was great with kids. So there I was, out walking alone, “the white woman who walks her dog around town,” only it was just me. No dog.
A guy I’d never seen before stopped me. “Where’s your dog?” he asked. He was an unusual guy, wearing clothes that looked — well, like a clown outfit, minus the too-big shoes. His pants were fleece pajama pants in a red and blue and green and yellow plaid design; his shirt was orange and yellow; he wore a green ball cap, backwards; his hair was long and black and not braided. He wore Nikes.
Of course I burst into tears, telling him the story of Drake, the seizures, the angel visitation, the nose-diving hawk, having to have Drake put to sleep, the star plunging to earth over my house — and now it’s time to find him again, obviously. I’m out looking for him. He’s coming back to me. He has to be able to find me.
He listened patiently. “You believe like we do,” he said. “We believe they come back to us.” He seemed surprised that I believed that too.
“Don’t go looking for him,” he said. “Let him find you. He will find you.”
Let him find me. I couldn’t imagine how that would happen.
And of course, here was another guy who I’d never met before, and never saw after that day, giving me the help I needed just when I needed it. He was another angel.
I decided not to go for any more solo walks around town like I’d planned. I would let him come to me. I had no idea what that would look like, but I trusted.
The next thing I had to do was drive to Lincoln, Nebraska. On the two-hour drive I noticed hawks. At first the hawks were far away, in the sky, circling. Then I noticed them perched on top of the light poles over the roadway, looking at me. As I approached Lincoln, the hawks sat on top of fence posts looking at me, and then they landed on the ground in the ditch. They were getting nearer and nearer to me. The time must be getting closer and closer!
That night when I got home I noticed a colleague of mine had called my phone but left no message. Her name showed up on my caller ID. She never called my house number about business-related issues, so that was unusual. It was after 11 pm by that time so I waited until morning to call her.
The next morning when we talked, she sounded a little reluctant to talk about it; she wondered if I was ready yet to get another dog. YES!!, I was ready. I had scheduled a trip that day to go to Omaha and back, so we agreed that she’d bring her dog to my office after work and we could meet.
On my drive home from Omaha I called another of my psychic friends and asked her what she thought of this dog I was going to meet. She thought it was the dog I needed.
“But is it DRAKE?” I wondered.
“It’s the dog you need now in your life,” she said.
“The next dog will be a golden. It will be 14 months old. You won’t have to potty-train him. He’ll fit right in. It’ll all work out. Just trust.”
As I drove north on the four-lane highway from Omaha to Sioux City, chatting with her on the phone, a hawk showed up. It flew right beside my car, flying parallel with me, for the longest time — miles and miles — in the southbound lane, accompanying me back to Sioux City. I didn’t need to talk to any psychic friends after all. All I needed was to pay attention to the hawks. The hawk was telling me “the dog is with you now.” “This is the dog.” The way I understand the world, “left” is “receiving,” “west” is “meeting yourself,” and “north” — we were heading north — is “wisdom.” I was receiving, meeting another aspect of myself, and our relationship would be about wisdom.
Once I got to the office and parked, there he was! He was big and black and furry and HUGE! He was 14 months old; he was a black GoldenDoodle. And he came home with me that day. The name his first mom gave him was Snickerdoodle; the name his second mom gave him was Charlie; I needed to give him a whole new name. I named him Kona. Kona Makamaka.
My colleague introduced us, and my main question was, “is he actually Drake?” I expected Drake to return. There was so much overgrown hair in his eyes, I couldn’t see his eyes, and he didn’t respond to his name Drake. He didn’t behave at all like Drake. I wanted so badly to believe he was Drake. It was clearly time for him to stay with a new family. My colleague wasn’t quite ready for what she was proposing, that I keep him that night, but I kept him. It was hard for her, letting him go. She told me the stories about how things just weren’t working out well for the dog, or her family, and to keep the peace at home she thought it would be best to find this dog a new home. And I needed a new companion. It was a good match.
Eventually I let go of the need for Kona to be Drake, and accepted Kona for his own goofy lovable love-everybody self. Kona was not Drake. Kona was Kona. Kona was the star that fell out of the inky-black sky, onto the top of my house, one late autumn night in northeast Nebraska, to light up my heart.
I had to have a dog at my office. It was a requirement. And my new dog had to fit right in immediately. There was no time for puppy training. He had to start his job immediately. And so he did.
We’d go for walks to the little park near the office, when I first adopted him, and waiting at the corner for the light to change, people would stop and roll down their windows and yell at me “THAT IS THE MOST GORGEOUS DOG!!!” It happened so many times! People, just random people out on the sidewalk walking around town, admired him so much.
One day we were just leaving the office to head to the little park for a break. I opened the outer office door to walk down the handicap ramp. Up bounded an English Springer Spaniel, a dog just a little bigger, with spots just a little darker than Drake’s had been. Drake was a Brittany Spaniel. I looked closely at this dog. Was this Drake, returning to me?
We walked together, Kona on a leash, the English Springer Spaniel walking with us like he knew us, with Kona and the new dog playing and having the best time. The three of us walked to the little park, walked all around the park, and walked back to the office, at which point the English Springer Spaniel disappeared.
It worried me, first, that here was a gorgeous dog that was out on its own; and second, I was ready to keep him. I called my friend at the Animal Control office. There had been no reports of a stray English Springer Spaniel in that part of town, and she’d let me know if they found one.
Then I started having Drake sightings. I’d be driving through traffic and notice a faded bumper sticker on the truck bumper ahead of me, with the word Drake on it — for Drake Plumbing and Heating. I’d drive past a street sign and notice it was Drake Street. Kona and I drove one day way up into northern South Dakota for a mediation job I was doing in a town where I’d never been before, and there, just before we got to our destination, was the Drake Motel.
I asked my psychic friends about this. “Drake’s checking in,” they said. He found the body of the beautiful English Springer Spaniel that day, his spirit jumped in to take a little ride, and he walked with us just like he’d walk with me to that same park every day. He knew exactly what he was doing: he was saying hi, I love you, I’m fine, let’s play one more time. And then he slipped back out of the borrowed body when our walk was over, and let the dog go back home to his family. He was making sure I noticed the word Drake wherever I went. It was his way of staying close by me, of saying, “I’m still here. You’re never going to get rid of me. I’m only a breath away.”
They told me that Drake was helping Kona learn what it was to be a dog on earth at this time; Drake was serving as Kona’s spirit guide. Drake had been here many times and was definitely an earth being. He knew his way around. He knew how it worked. He’d been with me in every lifetime I’d ever had. Just knowing that helped me understand why it was so hard for me to let him go.
And that explained the dream I’d had in the 13 days between Drake’s death and Kona’s arrival. I dreamed I saw Drake as the Brittany, the brown-and-cream quintessential hunting dog he was, and Drake as a Dalmatian. He first came to me in 2002 in the form of a black-and-white Dalmatian, a hunter par excellence, and died in 2005 at about age 9, then came back to me a month later as a Brittany puppy. So I saw the Dalmatian standing there, and the Brittany — and also a black furry dog that looked like a Scottish Terrier, like George Bush’s dog Barney. That, obviously, was Kona. I didn’t realize how big Kona was, in the dream.
In later dreams I learned that Drake has been with me as a horse, many times; he’s been a dolphin, in lifetimes I’ve had near the ocean; he’s been almost every other animal on the planet; but he’s always been my friend and companion, someone to depend and rely on.
Drake had been cremated, and I kept his ashes for several years, not having a clue what to do with them. I just kept the jar until the time was right.
Eventually it was time for me to move away from the reservation, to a place closer to my grandson. I kept trying to make the move; the move just wasn’t cooperating. I’d make offers on houses and nothing budged. I couldn’t buy the new house; I couldn’t sell my current house.
It hit me one day that I really had to let Drake go. Really. It was time to release his ashes.
It also hit me where this needed to happen.
Drake was born in Iowa, near the junction of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. His registered AKC name was Drake Kola Wakan — Drake Sacred Friend. He belonged to the prairies and plains and lands around the Missouri River.
On the fourth of my five trips to the west coast in 2014, as I drove along Interstate 90, right before crossing the Missouri River, I stopped at the rest area overlooking the river. It was a beautiful day, sunny, bright, and quiet, and the river glistened as it flowed by. I found the place where Drake wanted to rest, on the east side of the Missouri River, so he’d always have a view of the setting sun and the water. We did our ceremony, we said our goodbyes, we said our “I’ll never ever leave you”s, and I sprinkled his ashes there.
That’s when things shifted. Someone made an offer to buy my house. I accepted it. I found a house to buy. The seller accepted my offer to purchase. I made plans to move. It took about three weeks and I moved to the west coast.
I’m told Drake needed to move on. He’d been with me so closely, for so many lifetimes, and it was time for him to evolve to — whatever it is that animals evolve to, when they’re complete with their cycle of lives as animals. Some believe that animals evolve into humans. It could be. Drake was about as human as a dog could be. Is he now Drake the Ascended Master of Dogs? I don’t know; I wouldn’t be surprised.
And Kona and I are the best of friends. Kona is still testing out this whole idea of what it is to be a dog on earth. I understand that he’s about half extra-terrestrial being, half dog, and Drake has had a lot of work to do, teaching Kona how best to be a dog on earth.
Tomorrow it will be six years that Kona and I have been an item.
Kona, the star that came to earth to light up my heart.
Kona, the shooting star who found me. I didn’t have to go searching for him. I had to let him come to me.
Kona, who arrived to teach me a whole new set of lessons, to prepare me for a whole new way of being.
Drake was a professional soldier, a hunter, a tracker, a warrior dog. Drake as a Brittany puppy was “pointing” on our very first walk in the back yard, at only eight weeks old! He pointed at birds, squirrels, cats, anything that moved; anything that didn’t belong there. He would go into “stealth mode” and sneak up on the unsuspecting, and pounce. When he went into “stealth mode” I had to get ready for the “pounce,” because that’s when he’d take off sprinting.
Kona, however, does not care about birds, doesn’t care about squirrels, hunting, tracking, pointing, stealth, none of that. He’s excited about UPS trucks, though, and other dogs he wants to play with. He’s curious about cats. That’s gotten him in trouble a time or two. Cats are not so thrilled about a big dog just wanting to play, and one time two cats ganged up on him, jumped out of the tree they’d climbed, and attacked him. He doesn’t understand attacks, when he’s all about peace, love, and dancing. He loves dancing with the humans who come to my office, and can’t understand that humans — well, not all of them, but some of them — don’t thoroughly enjoy dancing with him. Kona just wants to play, to love and be loved, and to enjoy life, eat good food, sleep by the fire, snuggle, and always be with me.
Drake’s last lesson for me was “how to let go, when you don’t want to let go.”
Kona’s first lesson for me was “how to let what’s next, come to you when it’s ready.”
They both brought their angels with them. Their human angels. Who looked
nothing like angels.
And the star in my heart keeps getting brighter every day.
I turn to the Four
beginning at the east gate
gratitude, thank you
breath, water, sleep, food, shelter
connections, passion…so blessed