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My life has been forever changed and blessed by the gifts I have received from the animals and all of nature. They have taught me that life is all about heart connections and the love that flows through them. They have shown me incredible beauty all around us. Through them I have learned about a profound trust in the process of the heart. That to listen to our hearts is to listen, really listen, to life all around us. That to love unconditionally is the natural state of all living beings. That the simple act of conscious breathing can reconnect our hearts to our souls. That love is more than the subject of prose and poetry. It is the language of our souls. That mankind has separated themselves from this very life-giving breath of the heart/spirit. That nothing is ever hopeless and no one is forever lost. The animals see us for who we truly are - unconditionally, without judgment - and try to show us that if we could only see ourselves for who we are that our paths would be so much easier. That the human heart is the most regulated heart on the planet. That the time has come to breathe and connect and to rejoin with the rest of Nature that we have separated ourselves from. And even more importantly, it is time to reconnect to ourselves again.
This is a time of great changes and great growth. The animals have been sharing their messages of love and hope and peace with me for many years. In the past few years they have asked me to get their messages out even more. On this page, I will share a fraction of the many messages I have received from them. Each message or story speaks for itself and offers us a profound look into the deeper heart connections that these wonderful beings have shared. I call them heart stories as they touch the deepest parts of our hearts and awaken that connection that is there.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The Story of Tucker and dogs with Aggression - Updated 2/11/12
- The Wisdom of an Old Dog - Updated 4/16/08
- The Passing of A Great Teacher - Gulliver - A Tribute from Dawn - Updated 8/12/07
- Even the Smallest Among Us Have Voices - A Message of Hope Updated 12/4/06
- Message from a Turkey Vulture - Updated 3/06
When Letting Go is the Only Path to Healing –
The Story of Tucker and Aggression in Dogs
I kept thinking, “this just can’t be happening.” But it was happening and at an alarming speed as if I couldn’t make sense of anything. My 20 month old Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix, Tucker, was standing in front of me with the softest eyes as the veterinarian showed us his radiographs on the monitor. “There is a foreign body obstruction in his intestine. Nothing but surgery can fix this,” he told us. But I knew surgery wasn’t an option for Tucker. Our options had run out. He looked at me with those loving, soft eyes and spoke straight to my heart. “Its ok to let me go now. I can’t do this anymore.” The words came out of me as if I were watching someone else say them. “We have to euthanize.” The vet knew this was a possibility if what we found on the radiograph confirmed what he thought he felt on exam. He quietly nodded and prepared the space for Tucker. Ten minutes later, as we held him in our arms, he was gone.
My heart felt like it was going to explode with grief. I wanted to run outside and scream. I knew Tucker was free at last from the past 18 months of hell he lived in. I could feel his freedom and joy. I knew it was the right thing to do. But all I could feel was that I just killed my best friend. A beautiful, vibrant, healthy young dog lay motionless before me on the floor and that was the only vision I could remember when I thought of him. Yet, Tucker was so much more than that and deserved to be remembered for his love and light and life, rather than for his pain and torment. It was a hell we walked through together. I knew someday that I could share his story, our story, and help others who were going through the same thing. You see, Tucker wasn’t euthanized because of the obstruction in his intestine, we could have fixed that with surgery. But I had to make the decision to euthanize him due to aggression that was getting worse and worse as he grew older. Nothing we could do, and we tried many things, could set him free from the hell he lived in within himself. No amount of love could heal him. No amount of money could cure him. Nothing or no one had the answers. And the only relief he could get was to move on out of the body that confined his beautiful soul to a prison from which he couldn’t get free.
No one can understand the kind of pain that comes from making this decision with a vibrant young animal unless you’ve been there yourself. If telling my story can help another, then it is worth the telling and worth the honor of my dear friend Tucker.
Myth number one: Aggressive dogs are mean dogs. It would be so much easier to understand actually if that were the case. However, Tucker, like other dogs suffering with aggression, was a loving, sweet, soft, and gentle soul. That’s what made this so unfair. Because of his issues, I became closer to him than any other dog I’ve ever had in my life. We could read each other so subtly that it was like a dance. I knew when he needed help and I knew exactly what he needed. And he knew I could hear him and that he could tell me when he was in trouble. He was such a heart dog. He loved people. He loved other animals. He loved life. And he was so easy to love. His sense of humor made me continually laugh. Everything had potential to bring on a moment of play. If he could make us laugh, you could see him light up with joy. Yet by his final days, more than 90% of his life was spent living with the demons that chased him inside his brain. It was harder for him to find his own light. He was trapped in a body from which he couldn’t get out.
Myth number two: Aggressive dogs are that way due to poor training and management.
Sometimes that may be true or contribute, but it is not always the case. Tucker started out life just fine temperamentally. Then suddenly, at 6 months old, something went very wrong. It was like someone flipped a switch and we began seeing signs of aggression. First it was directed toward the other dogs and generally around food. So we separated him at feeding times and figured it was no big deal. Until one day I heard him growling and turned to see what was going on, only to find that he was staring at me with his teeth fully barred and a look in his eyes that looked like he wasn’t even home. When I called his name you could see him fight to come back. I called him again and he began to snap out of it and act normal. But I knew he wasn’t normal and something horrible was happening to my dog.
Myth number three: You can love them and train them out of it.
I believed that because I loved him as much as I did, certainly we could heal whatever was going on. And certainly, it must be something I was doing wrong or misunderstanding about him. This one took me many months to understand and accept that this wasn’t about me at all. This was about something happening inside of him. Something that he had no control over and neither did I. I never felt more desperate in my life. Please tell me this isn’t happening to me. Because I understood how dangerous he was getting and I understood that although he hadn’t bitten us, it was because we worked with him every minute of every day to read his every cue and know when we had to intervene and put him in a room by himself BEFORE anything happened. Because of this, I knew every subtle nuance of his body language, facial expressions, mood, and energy. I kept saying, wow, if this were a healthy thing, we’d have an incredible connection. And we did have an incredible connection. We connected in a way I have never connected with any other dog. But it was because I was constantly on call to know where and how he was and what was happening with him. I only realized after he was gone how very exhausting and all consuming that was for me.
Accompanying the aggression, Tucker also had an obsessive/compulsive component. He would obsessively eat rocks, and not little ones. The first time, at 8 months old, we thought it was a fluke. We’d never even seen him play with rocks, let alone eat them. But there we were having to do surgery for the removal of 6 good size stones in his stomach. Needless to say, we began watching him closely when he was outside. But 4 months later, it happened again. This time it was 3 good sized rocks stuck in his stomach. We rushed him into surgery again. This time, he had a harder time recovering. He had horrible drug reactions. He was allergic to his antibiotic and then had what we believe were horrible hallucinations on his pain meds. From this episode, he became very fly phobic. To the extent that we started to not be able to get him to go outside during daylight hours. Thanks goodness this was late fall and soon the flies were gone and the snow fell and covered any rocks. We had a reprieve and hoped by spring that he’d be better. In the meantime, we tried to find medical causes for his continuing aggression. His episodes seemingly had a seizure like component to them. He knew in advance when it was coming on and so did our other animals. Our cats, who loved to snuggle with Tucker, would sometimes suddenly not enter a room when they saw him. Each time this happened, an aggressive episode would shortly follow. Watching our cats became a good barometer. We tried drugs to no avail. We took him for a thorough neurological exam and an MRI. He was diagnosed with a probable seizure disorder in the emotional center of his brain and prognosis was very poor. But we would try one last course of meds. I had to wean him off the first med over a 2 week period, then wait 3 days, and start the new med. It was the evening before we were to start the new seizure med that he began vomiting and we knew what we were facing. We rushed him to the vet knowing that if he had another obstruction, then we had reached the end of our path together.
Nothing can prepare you for that moment. But the realization that he didn’t have to suffer anymore gradually overtook our own loss and pain. If Tucker had been a wild animal, he would have found a way out of that tormented life on his own. But being kept safely in our house, the only way out was the decision we had to be brave enough to make with him. We had to look past our own pain and allow him to find his freedom and his healing. Sometimes healing doesn’t look the way we want it to. Sometimes it doesn’t have the outcome that we consider to be the best option. But in the end, we find out that we are not the ones in charge and we cannot always make things turn out the way we think they should. For Tucker, he could not find wholeness here in the body he was in. His path to wholeness was outside of this realm.
It was not an easy journey. It was a painful process to go through. I write this now 10 months after his death. It was a process for me to accept and understand that the pain would heal. I can look at his photo now and laugh – remembering all the love and fun he brought into our lives. I still shed tears – missing him and feeling sorry that we couldn’t have had longer together. But the one thing I am most grateful for is the opportunity I had to love him. That connection – the healthiest one of all – lives on in my heart. And I know he is now free of torment. And I know his journey continues forward – renewed, healthy, and alive with new possibilities. For that, I will forever be grateful for every moment we shared together. And if sharing his story helps someone else going through the same process, then the story is worth the telling, and is an honor to a dog with a huge heart who loved to help people. A dog who shall forever live in our hearts - whole.
I was walking with my dog today and I heard someone say something about the “old dog.” As I watched him walking ahead of me, his footing a little less sure than once was, his hearing not so great, and his eyesight playing tricks on him, tears sprang to my eyes as I saw the “old dog” for the puppy he once was. They never saw him in his prime. Running and leaping and being completely goofy. Chasing leaves and retrieving sticks and rolling in the grass. That puppy now seems like a distant shadow fading in the sunset.
Just as I thought these things about him and felt the sadness in my heart, he turned and looked at me with those eyes. His eyes of wisdom, sometimes hard earned; eyes that told a story. Not just his story, but my story, and our story together. Eyes that watched me grow up just as I watched him grow old. Those eyes showed me what he knows about me. How he sees me for who I am when even I can’t. How he knows me in a way that very few others even understand. How he opened my heart to love again when it had closed from great loss. How he taught me to laugh and be silly when I thought I had to be serious. How to see the beauty in a day of rain and mud. How to walk and not worry where we were going. How to sit and watch a sunset and know that every day is a good day. How to be yourself by just being your self. He taught me all these things.
Yet as his body declines and seems to betray the soul inside, he continues to teach me that life is what it is. That the journey is always new. That his body may not be as strong, his mind not as sharp, but his love is just as pure as the day he took my heart within his. No, he is not an old dog. He is a wise soul.
I stopped walking, blinded by tears, knowing our journey together was coming to a close. And just as the puppy who once led me on new adventures, he understood my heavy heart and he heard my heart thoughts that whispered from mine to his. Although his ears may not hear so well, his heart hears just fine. He stopped, turned around to see why I stopped walking and just looked at me with those eyes. “Come on,” he said, “I don’t have all day. We need to keep moving. We must always keep moving. Don’t just stand there and get lost. We have things to do. You can remember memories later, but right now let’s keep making new ones.”
As I still stood there he heaved a sigh and turned to move on. He looked back a few feet down his path and said, “I sure hope I don’t have to come back and get you. Its not as easy anymore.” And I swear I saw his eyes shift from old and wise back to young and devilish for an instant. And I walked on to follow him and continue our walk together, understanding that he may look different but he is still the same teacher in dog’s clothing that I’ve always known. My heart still ached thinking of the day we wouldn’t walk this path together. As he kept walking he said to me, “the old dog is still moving. That’s all that matters in a day.”
When a Great One Leaves (Reflections on Gulliver's Death)
At the moment his heart stopped, I swear the earth paused for just a moment to respect his greatness. All of nature gave silent nod to one who understood, honored, loved unconditionally the earth he walked. The grass bowed in homage to a being who many times gave pause to thank the grass for all it had given to him.
His body could no longer contain his spirit, needing to fly. In one breath, one beat of his heart, he left this earth, left our touch, to take residence in our hearts forever.
Although we fear that we will feel an emptiness where once he stood. We know that the blessings he left us will fill this farm forever. His voice only silenced to our ears, will live on in our hearts. His soul, will dance in the wind, shine in the sun, and twinkle with the stars.
He has left us only in body, and we shall miss him greatly. But what he taught us is beyond his passing. He taught us to live. He taught us to love. And he taught us to always remember he is here in every beat of our hearts.
He showed us the beauty of a flower. He taught us how to see with our inner eyes. He taught us that life is alive around us everywhere, And all we have to do is see it, believe it, and trust it.
He is greater than great, larger than life, and as wise as the earth herself. And he shared all of that with us so that we could continue in his stead.
His teachings live on through us. His voice will never be silenced. His love will never be lost. And he will never be forgotten.
IN MEMORY OF GULLIVER
For the past 14 years Gulliver has been taking me on an incredible journey. Many people have been touched by his teachings at the many workshops he helped teach over the years. His contribution to my life, my heart, my spirit, and my teaching is immeasurable. And the extent to which we will all miss him is commensurate.
I often compared Gulliver as to the principal of a school or the head master. When he needed me to move forward or to move faster, he’d call me into his “office” for a chat. He was no light weight teacher. Yet, he taught and guided with the most gentle ways. He was direct, straight to the point, and hit direct to the heart. He was patient, yet he let me know that he didn't have time for dawdling. He was here to work with me, and to share what he needed and wanted to share, and he wanted to waste no time. Whereas Deeteza, the Arab mare who was my first master teacher, worked with me on my listening and learning better communication, Gulliver’s role was to work with me on my teaching. It was with his support, wisdom, guidance, and love, that I shifted my workshops this past year. He was pleased with the results. He participated in the full new series of workshops and then he told me his work with me was done for now. He told me this just days before I was to teach the second AWAKENING THE HEART workshop of the year. I knew then that he would be leaving soon, yet I didn’t want to hear it. His general health had gradually declined over the past year. For those of us who cared for him on a daily basis, we noticed him slowing down and he began having some joint problems. It was nothing alarming but it was degenerative in nature and he slowly declined. Yet, his teaching never wavered. If anything, he worked with me harder and with more urgency. His death was not unexpected but it was extremely difficult for us to accept. It seemed that he would be here on this farm forever. It is hard to remember a time he wasn’t here. Hard to remember a workshop I taught without him.
Gulliver was not arrogant, but he knew who he was and why he was here. Deeteza, was called the Great Voice by the animals of the farm. Gulliver, was called the Great Eyes. There was something about him that when he looked at you, you knew he had just looked to the depth of your heart and soul. Many people have been deeply affected by him in this way. His eyes were filled with the unconditional love with which he looked at the world and all of us.
Gulliver loved this earth. He taught me to look at the simplest of things, like a blade of grass, and to see the beauty of it all. Grass was one of his favorite topics to talk to people about. He loved to give deep philosophical messages about grass, because he revered grass as the life force that fed him. He was a gentle soul. Totally at peace at all times. I never saw him get angry, never felt him lose his grounding, and never experienced him shy from his truth of this world and his mission. He came to teach. He did so. He came to experience life. He did that too. And all the while he walked this earth, he touched a lot of hearts. All of you who experienced Gulliver at workshops understand the depth at which he worked, lived, and taught. I think of the number of lives he has touched, and it is immeasurable the impact he has had.
Gulliver shared a lot of teaching with me in public, and shared a lot of himself to many visitors. But he also did a lot of work behind the scenes in private. He touched my life in a way that can never be measured. He has asked that the details of his death be a private matter between himself and those who cared for him on a daily basis. But I can share that his passing was as enormous as his life. I can share some of the things that happened, as an example to the enormity of his life.
We knew a day in advance of his passing that he would be leaving. As we prepared a burial place, which he has also asked to be private at the farm, our first glimpse of what his passing would be like occurred. Margot was on her tractor mowing an area to mark the grave site when she looked across a field and saw a large bird in a tree. What was so unusual about this was that the bird was standing on the top part of this large dead tree with its wings completely spread out. She called me to come up to where she was and by the time I got there the bird was standing with wings folded in. It was a turkey vulture and we instantly knew the meaning. It had come to start the ritual of calling in the spirits for the great one that was about to journey. (See story below: Message from the Turkey Vulture). Gulliver told me that his journey would be made easy for him by many helpers. I stood and watched the turkey vulture and as soon as Margot moved back to the area of Gulliver’s grave site, it spread out its wings and bowed its head. It gave chills down our spines to see that. It was so deliberate.
All of the animals of the farm, wild and domestic, knew of his passing. There was a moment after he passed that I swear you could hear everything stop just for a moment of silence. His passing was loving and peaceful. And his eyes never once changed from seeing us to the depths of our hearts as he moved from his body to spirit. His life was complete, his mission fulfilled. He told me, “what better statement can a being make than to say I came and completed what I came to do. This is a life fulfilled.”
The following is a message that Gulliver gave to me many years ago, in 1994, when I once asked him, “Why are you here at the farm?” This was his response.
I have come through other dimensions through fields of time that only vaguely resembled wisps of grass blowing in a gentle breeze on a bright sunny day. A Spirit sprung forth from the light of the Great One. Waiting to see when I would be called by the small voice. The one who knows not quite what they have or who they are. It is my message to reconnect them to our Mother. As the Great Voice has paved the way before me, now I the Great Eyes must show them the way. As I traveled on to a body awaiting my presence, I soaked in the light to take with me. The awaiting body brought to them by so many caring hands ‑ the brigade of ghosts as they call themselves. Old friends that continue to take post over the place I will now call my home. As I descend through times and emotions and take up my place in this physical form, I bring with me all of the knowledge, wisdom, beauty, and love which flows forth from Her heart. I will connect with them in the way the Great Voice prepared for me with her brilliant heart and heartfelt words. Her words were also from the Mother of All Life. Just as through my eyes they will see Her and connect with her. I bring with me Her visions. Her hopes. Her very beauty and the eyes with which to see them. I know they will see me for who I am. I will trust in them to acknowledge my form. The Great Voice is still a part of the place which I will live. Her voice I know I will hear in the trees. I will hear it in the grass. And as Our Mother makes her way through us to live here also we shall all rejoice together. This is my gift and one that I so freely long to give and shall give without hesitation to all who come and look with me through my eyes.
For those who care to come with me on journeys only thought to be dreams, we can fly to what you believe to be distant places. To the highest of mountaintops, the deepest of valleys, and the longest of waters. There are only tomorrows when you are not enjoying today. A look through my eyes will connect you with Her. With all of the beauty, love, and nurturing of the universe itself. A deep look through my eyes will show you that all journeys are based in realities. There are no non‑realities, only misconceptions of Her love. Hiding places. Alone. You will not be able to hide in my eyes. For I have seen too much kindness. Felt too much love. And helped give too much hope. There is never a dark day, only a diversion away from looking to the light. My journey continues now through my eyes, through Her eyes. And as I take this form now I shall truly love all who come to me. My heart represents a much bigger heart. My breath is the breath from a much deeper place. My blood, the blood from the veins of all of life. My love is but a reflection of those who have invited me to come. And like a beacon, together we will all call to all who need to come home. Their hearts are aching. My eyes shall see them come as the Great Voice sings her songs and beckons them to our waiting embrace. With this I shall be proud to take up residence in this fine physical form and be with all of my blessed friends, in a stable, once again one with the ages.
As I reread that now at the end of his life, it bears repeating his last message to me about his life. “Mine is a life complete. I achieved what I came to do. I now leave complete.”
His eyes have opened many, many hearts. His voice will never be silenced because he teaches on through all he has touched. I, for one, will forever be grateful to the teacher who taught me to teach. To the friend who taught me to love. And to the master who showed me that all that he taught me is clearly in my heart and to trust that heart he taught me to hear.
“Even the smallest among us have voices, if only you would listen.”
I heard this as I walked through our barn one morning. We had just found a mouse that had fallen into one of our horse water buckets during the night and drowned. We felt horrible for the mouse and I thought how horrible it must have been for the horse to watch the mouse drown. The statement hung in the air with a certain profound heaviness but I needed to continue with my routine and moved on.
The next day, just at sunset, barely any light left to see very far in front of me, I was to hear it spoken again. At the farm we all carry walkie talkies with us to communicate from the various buildings should there be an animal emergency. It has kept us all connected as a whole but it has its downfalls as well. One of them being that it is a public channel and we are not the only ones on it. In a twist of fate (or not), some local deer hunters use the same channel on a neighboring property. Our nature sanctuary is bordered by a hunting coop. Out of the near darkness, I heard a gunshot ring out across the landscape and a chill went down my spine. Over the walkie talkie one of the hunters talked with great excitement. “Hey boys! Sign me up for the hunter of the year award! I got another one down.” Another hunter answered him with great excitement. And the first hunter yelled again over the radio – “this field is full of deer. They are everywhere. Loaded!!!” The other hunter advises him to “start shooting. Just shoot!” The first one, being all too realistic says, “It’s too dark. I can’t see a thing.” The response rang out as loud as the gunshot did, “shoot anyway!” No further shots were fired that I could hear. But then I heard the final chilling words of their hunting expedition.“Was it a buck or doe?”
“I don’t know, I couldn’t tell. It’s not dead yet but we’ll get the four wheeler and take care of the thing after I pick you up.”
It was at that moment that a heaviness filled my heart and I heard the words again: “Even the smallest among us have voices, if only you would listen.”
I wasn’t sure where it was coming from, but I responded anyway. “I’m listening.”
“I’ll be with him as he goes so that he is not alone.” I knew that the ‘he’ being referred to was the deer that lay dying somewhere in a field in the dark. I could suddenly feel the deer and feel his fear. I knew it was a young buck, probably just his first or maybe second season. He was young. He was full of life. And he was in pain. Left there without any acknowledgement, respect, or consideration for his life or his death. I felt sick inside.
“Be with him in your heart. He will then not be alone. He will pass in your warmth and peace. Just breathe from your heart to his. No one ever dies alone. He was not expecting his death in this moment, so he is fighting to stay in his body. Let him share with you his life so that he may find comfort in his passing.”
I could feel him. His strength. His joy in bounding through fields. His love of the land. His love of his family. I knew things about him. For example that he had a twin sister. He was still with her and his mother when he was shot. He loved to play. He loved to chase at butterflies. He loved to smell the cool air. He liked to play in leaves. And he liked to drink from a particular stream. He shared with me how strong his body felt. The feeling of building great muscle. He was proud of his body and his height and stature. This was what he shared. And he was dismayed at how quickly and haphazardly he fell in that field. He hadn’t seen it coming. Never saw the man who shot him. But as he lay there, he felt the man’s disinterest. He felt the man’s lack of connection. He wanted to jump up and run but he couldn’t. His legs would no longer respond. I just listened to him. Witnessed him from the heart. Acknowledged his beauty and presence and wished him peace and transition. But he still was gripping that body with all his might. I felt helpless, unable to do a thing for him. I felt so small in the face of something so large. Felt like a whisper in the wind of the human existence that still cannot grasp the heart connection to all around them.
The benevolent voice spoke to me again. “Your purpose is to continue to breathe hope and love and understanding among your own. You are not a whisper in the wind and you are not small. But you must remember, even the smallest among you have voices and we indeed are listening. Tell him of your hope. Tell him that you hear him. Tell him that you know others will care about him too. Tell him that you will share his story and that it won’t be his pain that lives on, but his magnificence and beauty. Tell him his heart was heard, and then he shall pass and leave this earthly experience behind. His pain will cease. He will feel complete and whole. He will be surrounded by family of spirit. And he will again run free and he will once again know joy. Tell him. He will hear you.”
And to this deer that I had never met, who lay dying in a field not far from our farm, I told him of my hope. I told him of my heart connection to the animals and to other humans who also believe and understand the wholeness of the world. I showed him with my heart the farm and the animals who grace this land. And as I spoke to him, I could feel him stop struggling. I could feel him relax against the earth. Quiet surrounded him. But he didn’t feel alone. He told me that he was aware of a mouse nearby him in the grass. And he told me that the mouse was staying with him now and he felt comfort and understanding. He then felt a warmth filling him and his lungs stopped burning and he stopped struggling to hold on. He was aware of his herd nearby and of another herd waiting for him. And as quickly as he fell to the ground, he ascended into spirit and was free. I felt his joy. I felt him running. And I knew he was fine. But then I was aware of another presence still near his body. I could feel it and it was then that I recognized this being as the one who was talking to me. “Who are you?” I asked.
“I am a mouse who was here when he fell. I am a mouse who was here when he flew. I was the one who asked you to show him there was hope. I felt his heart, and I knew he needed to hear you. I knew you would hear me and answer.”
“But how could a mouse in a field I can’t even see reach out to me specifically like that?”
“Because, even the smallest among us have voices, and you listened. Don’t ever forget to listen. And don’t ever give up on hope.”
MESSAGE FROM A TURKEY VULTURE - March 2006
While driving on a 2 hour trip, I was completely alone on the road when I spotted a huge bird just off of the road in the grass. I couldn't imagine what it was and it looked so odd. Kind of standing with wings partially out and bowing its head in a slow rhythm. I slowed down and immediately saw what it was. It was a turkey vulture standing at the head of a deer that had been hit and killed. But the bird was not eating the deer. I watched as he just stood at its head almost in meditation of some sort. The body had not been disturbed so the vulture must just have arrived. I realized that I was observing some sort of a ritual and I drove on. But I connected with the bird and asked what it was that I just was allowed to witness. This is the message from the turkey vulture:
The first arrival always stops to pay homage and give thanks to the spirit of the animal who inhabited the body we will then eat. It was my position to be sure that the spirit was allowed to leave the body and that no part of the spirit remained there. In this case, the spirit had not yet completely disconnected as it was not aware it was out of body. It was then my place to call in assistance to help her along. All was done. Then I gave thanks. And then, and only then, was I allowed to touch the body. That is how it is always done. It is an honor. The scavengers do more than clear up old bodies. We make sure that the spirit has found its way. That is our job.