Ode to a Little Red Dog~

A jug fills drop by drop. Buddha~

Maybe it’s because you were an urchin, the only one to survive the litter. Or, maybe it’s because you were left on our property— your mother off looking for food— and I took you away from her before you were ready. Maybe if you hadn’t been born in the year of the rabbit…

All these maybes cannot erase the fact that you are gone: dead and buried February 18, 2009; poisoned by rat bait left too close for you to resist. Whether anything would have changed the course of your history we will never know.

I remember when we found you on that rainy afternoon ten plus years ago. You crawled out from under our table saw covered in sawdust from the wood that eventually gave you your name: Kashá. Alan thought you were a wild animal, which of course you were. We dried you off, bundled you up, and took you home, thus taking responsibility for your welfare and binding our hearts forever to yours.

You watched us build this house in Punta Uva. You came faithfully each day as we struggled to get it right. When it was done you found a spot on the veranda where you could watch both sides of the house to keep guard over us. When we left to go north to work for six month stretches you were disappointed but never complained. You lived with our hired man, never forgetting who we were when we returned. Your welcoming licks and wiggling whines were enough to make me never want to leave you. Ever. You were an outside dog at first, but were so polite and such good company you became an inside dog. Spoiled, some would say.

But what is it about you that always made me have safety dreams about you? Why did I always see tragedy when I thought about transplanting you from this place to another? Now I will never have to worry, but instead I am bereft.

I have never known this house without you and now it echoes with longing. Everywhere I look, a memory flits just outside my grasp. The pain sometimes so deep I am afraid I will not come up for air. Today I took flowers to your grave out in the potreo. Out where the squirrels will run over your head teasing you to get up and stalk them once again. Yesterday, Alan and I planted a Kashá sapling that will grow tall and strong off your body. We burned incense to help you through bardo, and I will come often and spend time with you as you make the passage.

I could use a little help myself and know if you were here you would sense my sadness and try to cheer me. The Buddha says: “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” And sometimes I can see you in my mind’s eye and know you are well and don’t need my tears, so it is really only for myself that I morn. Left behind to suffer.

I have always strived to attain the Buddhist path of non-attachment, but your death has made it clear that I know no more about non-attachemnt than I know about speaking the Tibetan language. It is all intellectual, this detachment business. The pain and suffering I feel is surely what the Buddha talked about when he said: “He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.”

I am drowning, little Kashita, hunkered down in the rain. Waiting it out.

One day I will feel less pain. I will feel less empty and will not brim over with tears when I mention you. I will not, like today, realize that the banana cake we ate for dessert— a favorite of yours— was made before you died, and that I’d offered you some crumbs a little over a week ago. There will be many things like this, I know.

And perhaps we will see each other in another life. You will be going around again, I think. You came a long way in this lifetime, learning to be braver than you’d like, learning not to feel abandoned. But food was a nemesis for you, like alcohol to the addict.

I will be coming around again too, it’s clear to me now. I have not seen enlightenment. Have not learned non-attachment.

Right now I ache.

Published by SC Morgan

I grew up in Oregon and learned not everything is black and white. Now I live in the jungles of Costa Rica where the shades of gray cover the full spectrum. I shoot my mouth off on my blog, social media sites, and sometimes I get published. You can find my blog here: https://scmorgancom.wordpress.com/

8 thoughts on “Ode to a Little Red Dog~

  1. You touch my heart. I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks, remembering her winning ways. Always ready to accept a guest, show us the wonders of her world. Squirrels, ocean waves, and neat smelly things that should be shared. Sarah, when I came to see you after losing my mom you spoiled me rotten. I would wake, eat your food and lose myself in sounds, smells, and sights of your jungle home. But if I started to feel too sorry for myself, like radar, a wet nose would nudge my hand or ear urging me to action. I would stir from my misery and follow Kasha back into her world. Her friendship was generous and lovingly received.I believe that Kasha, Jessie, and Charlie are all representatives of beautiful souls. I share you loss.Connie

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  2. Hi there, Sarah,Oh, my, I’ve had a good cry reading about your loss. I’d gotten to know Kasha just a little over the years in your words. You cannot really know a dog until he pounces on you in the morning and wakes you with a cold nose and frantic licks. “Glad to find you there!”I still miss my Aleks a great deal, four years after losing him so cruelly.You can have the hand of God … I’ll take a soft paw any day!Bless!Ross

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  3. Ah, Ross. I knew this would remind you of Aleks. I am so glad you have a new companion in your life to blunt the hollow feeling of loss. We actually have two new pups– we got them last week– but I felt Kashita needed a full fledged ode to honor her before I blooged about puppies. They do help remind me that life goes on. And it is a small heart that cannot find room for another but Kashá is missed on a daily basis.I agree with you: I will take a dog’s paw anyday. It’s no accident that dog is god spelled backwards. Connie– thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Yes, she was a very special dog, as was Jessie and Charlie. They are all missed. We, the living, go on.

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  4. Sarah I am so sorry this happened,and how beautiful that you have honoured Kasha with this post.She does indeed sound a special dog.

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  5. I cry with you. I feel this deeply. Time . . . sure it will ease things, but never, ever erase the pain of loss, but the love won’t be erased wither, and it will triumph. I’m so, so sorry, Sarah.

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  6. SarahI am so very sad about the loss of your beloved dog. I never met her but I am crying. She looked beautiful. My own little Jack has heart disease & is on meds, nothing can prepare you even if you know.Thoughts are with you both.Kerry B pomsmum@yahoo.com

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  7. Sarah, a very touching post as it brought tears for me. I was sorry to hear what happened to your dog, and so very pleased to hear about the deep feeling you had.Not to discredit Buddha, but all living things are connected in the universe. To cut that connection will cause problems in your soul growth. The love for your dog is a divine connection. Kashá will be fine on her soul journey, and so will you.

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  8. To all of you who have written, to all of you dog (and cat) people out there, to all of you who know loss, thank you so much for your kind words this week. They have helped. Barbara, I often tell Alan that I see Kashita and she is fine. As always, it is those of us left behind that suffer. I think the Buddha says we should be connected to all things and yet unattached (if that makes sense). It is a hard concept for most Westerners to follow and I certainly struggle with it. I don’t think he means it in an distanced or uninvolved way, but to accept the flow without clinging to things. After all, he reasons, in order to feel deep love one must know, and feel, its opposite, hate. I think when we able to break those bonds and experience life in the moment (the only true reality–all the rest is only in our minds) will we find true peace. I like to think of it as nature itself, the ebb and flow of life cycles. That’s my read on it anyway. Our other dog was very sad the day Kashá died, but he has bounced back (far quicker than Alan or I, I might add). And now, of course, he has to protect his food from the new little beasties. ;-)Ah, Kerry. I am so sorry to hear about your Jack and his heart problems. I always love hearing from you and Jack (Woof!). Being a nurse makes it especially hard for you, I imagine; knowing what’s coming is no easier. Take care of yourself. Bless you all. s

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