A couple of years ago I began emailing frequently with a new internet friend, a young woman from Egypt who is very close to her animals and wanted to learn to better communicate with them. Several of us were learning the art of deep mindfulness around our animals and reading an astounding little book called Kinship with All Life, a classic for animals lovers written decades ago.

Though we had only previously talked about our horses, one day my new friend told me that she sensed that I had a dog that had something very important to tell me.  I had three dogs at the time, so she described the one in question using her limited English as “light chestnut” – exactly what his color would be called if he were a horse – and then proceeded to describe clearly what I recognized as my golden retriever’s personality. So I kept an open mind and went about my business. Interesting, I thought, but what did I know about animal communication?

Not long after that another friend and I were discussing how amazing the web of life can be and how we sometimes “know” things even though there is no logical reason for what we know. We were talking about the animals and I remembered what my young friend had said about Ace.

And you know what? Suddenly inspired by the fact that this particular friend was a gifted animal communicator I walked right out the front door where I saw him peering at me through the glass while we were talking and intently watching my conversation with my friend. I asked him if he wanted to tell me something. And his answer might as well as been delivered over a loud speaker.  I felt his answer suddenly, “I just wanted to remind you that when we met, you knew me…and that I was your dog.” I felt like one of those cartoon characters who hits themselves on the head with a big “duh.”  It was a reminder of precisely the very topic of the conversation I was having with my friend in the room.

I met this loving canine soul when he moved in next door to me in town many years ago. One day his owner, a single father, asked if it might be possible to pet sit him while he took his boys away for a Christmas holiday with family. He was a perfect gentlemen, house trained, the works. How hard could it be?

Hmmm, a beautiful dog to lie in front of the fireplace for a few days with me, what’s not to love about that. My “Yes!” took about two seconds to leave my lips. I had missed having dogs in my life since losing my first dog Chad so many years before. In fact being so busy with four young children it just wasn’t practical to have an animal but I wanted one so bad it almost hurt.

So into my life walked Ace, the Wonder Dog. My reaction was stunning and immediate. “I KNOW this dog,” I felt. “He’s MY dog.”  It was as clear as that.

The next thought after this one – you know those “rational” thoughts you use to talk yourself out of a sudden intuitive insight – was that perhaps his energy reminded me of my childhood dog, a black lab. Similar “retriever vibe?” Or maybe he represented what I WANTED in a dog.

No, I got another strong hit that he was MY DOG. I told his owner that if he EVER sold Ace or had to let him go to please let me know. He assured me that Ace would always be in his family and that his boys would never under any circumstances want to let him go.

Two or three years later I got a sudden phone call. “I have to move, the boys are living with their mom now, and am leaving town in an hour.” my old neighbor said.  “If you want Ace, he’s yours, but you have to be here within the hour.”

Needless to say I dropped everything and drove across town – I was now living on my horse farm – to pick up “my” dog.

Well I took him straight to the vet as I knew my friend’s idea of hygiene and mine were different. By this time I had another dog at home to protect. So he got a good bath and some shots and was tested for heartworms.

The heartbreaking news was that he was riddled with heartworms.  I was so angry at my friend that he didn’t spend $10.00 a month to prevent this. Because he was a large dog at 100-plus pounds, and was already 9 years old, my vet said that the traditional treatment of arsenic would likely kill him.

“Take him home and let him live a comfortable life and enjoy what time you have,” said my vet.

We decided to give him a preventative for new heartworms which prevented the babies from maturing but wouldn’t attack the adults, which could kill my sweet boy. So I resigned myself to do exactly that. Just accept whatever length of time we had together.

“I may not have long with him but I’ll love him,” I thought.

This simple decision at the most basic spiritual level is called “holding sacred space.” If we become a vessel for love and maintain a prayerful intention for good it often happens.

Thus began a years-long love affair with this darling dog. He soon discovered he loved the water and cooled off in the creek regularly, his previous owner’s admonition to the contrary notwithstanding. He accompanied us on walks and ten mile bike rides through the countryside. And he became the Morning Greeter of Neighbors, along with his buddy Kash, making the rounds daily to bring sunshine to each one.

I took him in to the vet several years later and he tested negative for any heartworms.  The vet was amazed.  He even joked that he wouldn’t have taken a nickel for Ace when I first brought him in. And I shocked him when I told him that for a long time he even ran with my warrior many miles a week.

Today this lovely dog is losing strength in his spine and back legs at the age of almost 16. Yet he still literally BOUNCES (pretty hard in his body) like a puppy, happy to see me every morning on our trips to the barn to feed his larger farm mates.

Yes, he has a good life. And I love this dog. My dog.

{Allison Peacock Photo: Our beloved Ace died at age 16 a couple of months after I wrote this blog post, the week before we sold our horse farm to move to Austin.  The kids called him “lion dog” because they were sure he was more lion than canine.}