Leader of the Pack

Here I sit in my meditation chair, our morning ritual, one dog on my left hip, one dog to my right, the cat gracefully balanced on the arm of the chair with us, and the newest addition to my family, curled tightly in a ball on her dog bed next to us.  Honestly, this is my favorite time of the day.  It’s 4:30 am and most of the world around us still sleeps, so the energy is tranquil. All I feel is the contentment around me from myself and these special little beings.

Each one of these fur babies came into my world in a serendipitous way, I wasn’t looking for them, but yet they found me.  As humans we like to tell ourselves that we “rescue” animals, but frankly, I feel it’s the other way around.  There were times after my marriage ended, that I felt such extreme grief, that looking back, I don’t know how I made it through the day.  Yet there were my faithful and loyal pets, staying close to me, giving me constant love when I felt unlovable, and making me feel needed.  These beings are natural healers and I find I cannot feel sad for too long when they are near.  They fly with me as I travel, often take cross country car trips with me, go for daily rides in the basket of my beach cruiser, and even sit with me while I teach classes and give my remote readings. Each gentle (and not so gentle) soul has their own personality.  

My cat Merkaba can be a bad ass tom cat in the neighborhood, and I have seen him charge big dogs when he thinks he is protecting our little pack.  He is an indoor/outdoor cat who hasn’t needed a litter box in 10 years, and walks with the dogs daily on his own. I have had to pull animal claws out of his head from some of the scraps he gets himself into. Yet, I have seen him gently crawl into the lap of a client or a distressed friend when he could sense their pain.  I understand why witches traditionally use a cat as a familiar, because they are mighty yet sensitive beings.  He teaches me that there are times to be a warrior in life, and times to be a lover; we have both of these inside of us.

My rat terrier Buddy loves everyone.  He literally bounces out of bed every single morning and runs in circles, excitedly ready to start the day.  He seems to accept everyone he meets exactly as they are, and finds such simple joy in everything he does.  His little face seems to get whiter each day, reminding me time with him is limited, but feeling any kind of sadness around him simply isn’t possible, he won’t allow it.  Watching him in action shows me the importance of finding joy in the little things.  

The newest addition to the family is my sister Tammy’s dog Honey, who is a graceful Italian Greyhound mix, who sure can run. (Since my mother and sister lived together and Tammy often works out of town, after my mother was placed in assisted living, Honey needed to find a new home.)  Having three dogs and a cat is a lot, but I don’t regret adding her to our pack.  She is gentle and skittish, and may very well have been abused early on before she came to live with my sister.  Yet there is nothing she loves more than to roll over on her back and get her tummy rubbed.  Honey is shy and scared of a lot of things, but continues to remain sweet and vulnerable. She is like the proverbial nerdy kid in school, always wanting to tag along, a natural follower.  This vulnerability is what makes her so special, because she has much love to share, and never allows her pride to get in the way.

Becky, my other rat terrier, is my favorite. (I know I’m not supposed to say things like that, but I can’t help it.)  She is like a little cranky human, inside the body of a 10 pound dog who talks too much.  Although the smallest, she is the pack leader, an alpha all the way.  When those little eyes look at me, I know she is seeing into my soul, and I wonder if she normally comes in as a human, but decided to take a break this life.  She is observant and fiercely loyal, always seeming to know how I am feeling.  There is a comfortable silence between us. She isn’t needy and doesn’t want me to pet her, but rather just longs to stay close by.  Whether I am cooking in the kitchen or taking a bath, she is never far away, always with her back to me, guarding whatever she believes might come my way.  She knows how terribly flawed I am, and loyally loves me anyway.  Becky teaches me the beauty of unconditional love for others.

I know these fur babies were Divinely sent my way, knowing that I would be needing special support at a certain time in my life, and I will be forever grateful for this. They teach me about courage, strength, loyalty, hope and enthusiasm.  Seeing the adoration in their eyes, they make me want to be a better version of myself.  I love coming home and spending quiet days with them, and they have truly been some of the most important friends I have had in my life.  Yes it’s true we come into the world alone, and will leave alone, but the years I have spent with these special beings have made me grateful beyond belief, and I look forward to many more adventures together before they make their way across the rainbow bridge.  And when my time comes to transition, I have no doubt they will be there to meet me once again.


  1. Karen Glenn Gilbert on June 30, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    I love this Susan💜

  2. Cheryl Meegan on July 3, 2022 at 1:14 am

    This is so true. I feel the same way about my baby girl. She was a rescue and came into my life when my first son went off to college and I just did not know what to do with my self. It’s so true, she rescued me. Her name is Ava.