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Aligning with our Soul Purpose

by | May 10, 2022 | Thought Leaders, Winter 2022 | 0 comments

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you they will be there long before any of us.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer

If there’s one thing my regular beach walks repeatedly remind me of, its how much we can learn from dogs about unconditional love, loyalty and living joyfully in the moment.

What’s my purpose, I pondered today as I walked Findhorn Beach on a cold, grey, wintry morning that turned out to be invigorating and a perfect place for introspection and appreciation.

My role, I decided, is about living consciously and being part of helping raise human consciousness. And I can best do that by being the best me I can be. Being openhearted, honest and vulnerable. In my everyday life and in my writings.

With that in mind I share this chapter from a forthcoming book entitled FREE and my gratitude for a shared relationship with a canine friend that touched me profoundly.

Was it chance or Divine guidance that encouraged me to watch the movie A Dog’s Purpose on an international flight between London and Cape Town?

I was enchanted by the storyline of a pup named Bailey in search of meaning on a journey through many lifetimes. So many questions, like what’s the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? Why does food taste so much better in the trash?

Canine reincarnation and a doggy search for meaning. Why not!

The movie invited laughter, tears and offered some sweet messages: When you rescue a pooch, it also rescues you.

And Bailey’s observation: “With each new life, I was learning a new lesson … if I can get you licking and loving, I have my purpose.”

Pivotal to the plot is an enduring friendship and love between the pup Bailey and a boy named Ethan. And then, later, a love affair between Ethan and his childhood sweetheart Hannah. Proof too that three can be company and not a crowd.

If you haven’t seen A Dog’s Purpose, it is essentially about love and eternal connections. Naturally, I recommended it to my pal Dell and was taken aback by the intensity of her emotions. She cried through much of the two-hour film.

“Why did you suggest this movie,” she demanded through her tears.

The emotions we both experienced reminded me of my great debt to various furry friends. They are unconditional love and joy. Especially on a beach. And I like to believe they are much more than most of us appreciate.

Many with animal friends as companions would agree. And probably relate to sentiments expressed by wildlife photographer, writer, and TV personality Roger Caras, who famously observed: “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly my favourite piece of fiction in recent years has been Watchers by best-selling novelist Dean Koontz.

By the author’s own reckoning he might never create a better story than Watchers that introduces us to a remarkable and super-intelligent dog named Einstein.

I’ve read it four times in a decade and can’t recall turning the pages of any other book quite as often, save perhaps for some of my self-help favourites.

Koontz has written more than 100 novels, his suspense thrillers diving deep into fantasy while frequently incorporating elements of horror, science fiction, mystery and satire.

Clearly, he also understands the bittersweet experience of loving a fur-faced friend. “Dogs’ lives are short, too short,” he laments. “But you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price.”

In my life I’ve been privileged to know several dogs well –  and perhaps none more so than Dell’s friend Ruby, a border collie that taught me so much about unconditional love, devotion, independence, living in the moment and being a free spirit.

Ruby stepped centre-stage into Dell’s life when she and I were changing the nature of our relationship from a romantic partnership to an amazing friendship.

“I decided to upgrade and trade Geoff in on a dog and unconditional love,” she quipped. Well, I think it was a joke.

Fact is Ruby became a pivot in many lives and an icon in her Cape Town neighbourhood. Everyone knew her name and many were lucky enough to be visited by her regularly.

While Dell was at work, she could come and go through a hinged flap in the fence, always choosing how she’d spend her day and with whom. Dell’s mom Thora, sister Viv and several nearby neighbours were on her regular visiting list.

Living alongside a substantial body of water was a bonus. It meant there were always new friends, along with her regulars. They fished, picnicked, threw a ball, or simply relaxed at the water’s edge.

“Where’s Ruby,” they’d ask, often appearing at the low fence to Dell’s home, wanting her to come out to play.

Children adored her and many had grown up with her from puppyhood to elderhood. She featured in a local WhatsApp group and one family commented: “She made us welcome when we first came to the area and was a constant in our lives.”

If we believe the basic premise of A Dog’s Life, she’s probably lived many lives and peed on more plants, bushes and lawns than you could ever count.

For much of her life I was based overseas and yet I was always instantly recognised and enthusiastically welcomed back into her world.

A favourite activity for both of us was our early morning beach walks when I’d hurl a ball and marvel at her speed and agility. More often than not she’d catch the ball in the air or on its first bounce. And never tire of the game, even when she was panting and thirsty.

Naturally the years took their toll, and our beach walks became shorter and more leisurely. Eventually they were a painful plod, her exuberant athleticism dulled and diminished by time. She limped and wobbled more and was sometimes toppled by a wave, or her deteriorating sense of balance.

Her curiosity and restless spirit of adventure remained until the end though.

Euthanasia was always a consideration, although her days were prolonged by intense love, care and expensive medication, including cannabis oil as an effective painkiller. But her deterioration was relentless, the pain and suffering inescapable and obvious.

Eventually the unthinkable became real. I approached my animal communicator friend Aukje Van Willigen in the Netherlands to conduct a remote consultation. The results astonished us. Ruby’s concerns were all about Dell and being there for her as a friend and protector, rather than her own painful predicament.

In an act of supreme love, it was decided to end Ruby’s suffering. And not to do so in a sterile medical environment. Rather in one of Ruby’s favourite places on the lawn at home overlooking the water.

Dell recalls: “On the day the vet was coming, Ruby came several times and just leaned against me. That wasn’t like her. I’m pretty sure she was more than ready to go. So, I don’t know whether she was wanting support for what was coming, or she was reassuring me.”

I was so choked with emotion when the vet arrived that I couldn’t speak. And I was in awe of Dell’s love and courage. Lying down on the grass so that she was at eye-level with Ruby, and with their faces just centimetres apart, they stared long and intensely into each other’s eyes. There was complete understanding. Their gazes never faltered. The lethal injection was administered. The light went out in Ruby’s soulful eyes. Her body slumped. And she was gone.

Words deserted us afterwards. And were unnecessary anyway. Dell and I clung to each other. Our tears were an honouring of a magnificent life and of a perfect Being of unconditional love.

(This draws heavily from a chapter in the forthcoming book FREE by Geoff Dalglish)


Geoff Dalglish

Geoff Dalglish

Odyssey's 'Pilgrim at Large'

Geoff Dalglish is a writer and spiritual and ecological activist dedicated to raising consciousness. He has walked more than 30 000km with climate change messages about treading more lightly and lovingly upon the Earth. He is an ambassador for the Findhorn spiritual community and ecovillage and is Odyssey’s ‘Pilgrim at Large’.

To connect with Geoff email [email protected] or visit www.findhorn.org

Geoff Dalglish

Geoff Dalglish is a writer and spiritual and ecological activist dedicated to raising consciousness. He has walked more than 30 000km with climate change messages about treading more lightly and lovingly upon the Earth. He is an ambassador for the Findhorn spiritual community and ecovillage and is Odyssey’s ‘Pilgrim at Large’.