Four-Legged Wisdom 

 In Reflections

– Reflection Offered by Dianna Amorde

As mid-term elections approach, anxiety levels are increasing for so many. Natural disasters like Hurricane Florence and angry words exchanged between politicians and citizens pile on more stress. But help can be found in our four-legged friends.

Our pets don’t know about losses we’ve experienced in the past, the war of words occurring any given day, or upcoming events we’re worried about. They live—bless them—in the present moment.

I’m reminded of a wonderful poem by Mark Doty that speaks to the gifts a dog can bring and you might create different stanzas to speak to the wisdom your cats, fish, birds, and more bring you when you gaze upon them.


Golden Retrievals
By Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.


Selfcare is critical in these tumultuous times and one of the best selfcare practices is bringing ourselves back to what we can influence—the present moment. Perhaps the easiest reminder of this healing practice is the pet beside you or at a friend’s home, a shelter, or a dog park.

I don’t know about you, but I need to be reminded to be in the present moment again and again. It’s worth the effort and practice though. The anxiety and tension melts away when I’m right here, right now. I appreciate what’s in front of me – often a happy dog!

May the “Zen master’s bronzy gong” of a bow-wow or a meow dissipate your stress and bring you into the beauty of this moment.

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