Sunday July 4th. 2010 As I write this I’m in shock and struggling to see my computer screen through the mist that keeps welling up when I think of her great life and her sudden and sad demise.
Chutzpa, our beloved and adored golden Labrador, died suddenly on Saturday morning. True she was ill and a little elderly in dog terms, so we kind of half expected that this could happen in the not far distant future, but it was so sudden. Luckily we were there in time to say goodbye and help to ease her passing for the final twenty minutes or so of her amazingly intense life. I just loved her so much…
Some of you may be wondering why I’m make such a fuss about a dog, but those of you who have been privileged and honoured to share your life with such a wondrous creature will, I’m sure, understand.
Chutzpa was every bit an equal to every human I have ever known. She had every desirable human quality, and then some. She had a very strong personality and she truly felt like part of our family. Love her or hate her, you couldn’t ignore Chutzpa.
The Buddha teaches us to embrace a path of loving-kindness, but Chutzpa needed no teacher to tell her that. She was the very essence of loving-kindness, it oozed from every pore of her body. She was herself a Buddha in the truest possible sense and she showed me how I also could find the courage to follow such a path.
Chutzpa was also the living embodiment of unconditional love and acceptance. She knew, not consciously of course, but deep down intuitively and instinctively, that love is the only thing that matters, the only thing that is meaningful, the only thing that is of any interest, and she focussed on it deeply and radiated it wherever she went. She never deviated from that and it truly made her a ray of sunshine.
Chutzpa packed everything into her ten years, seven months and one day. She never wasted a moment, she never held grudges, she never wallowed in negativity, she never blamed, hated or got angry and she would never hurt a fly. It was part of her nature that she somehow understood how to relate to people and empathise with them deeply. If you’d got to know well her you’d know I’m not exaggerating, she was a truly remarkable animal and a great role model.
I used to think that when you walk with a dog it’s about you and the dog getting some exercise, but I soon realised actually it’s a bonding ritual. It’s just one of a dog’s many ways of developing a relationship with you and vice versa, and Chutzpa was a master at building relationships – just about everybody loved her. Adults and children would come up to her in the park to stroke her. She was a love magnet and she spread her love without discrimination. She never held anything back.
When we came downstairs on Saturday morning and heard a strangulated little bark, we knew immediately she was in trouble, and when we open the door to the room where she slept and found her collapsed and spreadeagled on the floor we knew at once that we would never again be sharing a bowl of chips.
We instantly summoned our vet who arrived within half an hour, but she’d gone by then. All we could do in the meanwhile was to sit on the floor stroking her, reassuring her and telling her everything would be alright as she gradually and gently let go and passed away. And indeed it was.
When I think about it I realise I should have expected something like this because Chutzpa never did anything gradually or in half measures. For example she went from fast asleep to awake and highly alert in an instant. Or if she saw some food on the ground she’d suddenly dive after it so fast she’d almost wrench your arm out of its socket if you were holding her lead. So why would she hang around when it’s time to go?
Now she has gone to the great biscuit factory in the sky and we are faced with learning to drop our attachment and letting her go in our minds and hearts as well as in the physical body. Chutzpa was a very powerful presence and now she’s a very powerful absence. May she rest in peace and enjoy an end to all her suffering and the suffering of all humanity. Namaste.