It is with great sadness and awe that I witnessed the very unexpected passing of my beloved soul companion Indie. The greatest Dachsund that every lived died peacefully in my arms on 3/26/16 at age 14. My heart is broken but my spirit is shining as I remember the 14 years of adventure this brilliant dog(GOD) brought to my life.
My little dude came to me via a friend who had a rescue and Indie landed up there when he was about 6 months old after he had been abandoned. Skittish and fiercely independent from the start Indie developed into one of the kindest, bravest and wisest dogs I have ever met.
I can honestly say that I am now acutely aware of how closely connected the two of us were. We spent almost every day of last 14 years together. Because of Indie’s size I could travel everywhere with him. I snuck him onto about 40 plane flights, he went to Broadway shows with me in his travel bag, so many dinners under my feet or on the chair next to me, camping, hiking, to sweat lodges, spiritual ceremonies, concerts, workshops, he moved with me 13 times in 14 years, rode horses with me, got acupuncture with me, so many incredible events.
Then there was the dog trainer side of things. Indie was quite the balanced leader. He was a calm, cool being who let puppies know the boundaries and knew exactly how to teach older or bigger dogs the meaning of respectful, clear boundaries in dog language and showed them the way to walk confidently in life with a calm confidence. Indie trained about 75 puppies with me and taught hundreds of dogs how to be at ease in the world when their behaviors were a bit unbalanced.
In all my years of training over a thousand dogs I have never met a more loyal, emotionally intelligent, calm and collected dog. I don’t say that because he was mine, I say it because I was so lucky to experience the energy of a dog that through training developed into the most balanced and clear Alpha male dog I have yet to come across.
He was pretty fearless and saved my life when I had no desire to be on this planet any more, then when I was laying on the ground from a horse fall with 13 broken bones and could not move from a coyote who stood 30 feet away. And I swear when we were living in Santa Barbara and were walking on the beach one day I could see two lions walking beside him as he strode confidently along and corrected a 130 pound Great Dane puppy who approached him too fast.
Indie taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and partnership of being so close to another that you shared your very thoughts without saying a word, the sense of comfort at knowing how loved you are and never having to question it. He was my protector, my sidekick in training and one of the great loves of my life.
He was not sick. He actually was acting more like a 7 year-old lately which I attribute to his acupuncture and chiropractic sessions. I fed he and my new rescue Kota a can of food. Both of the boys threw up within an hour and a half of eating. But when Indie through up it felt like it was from such a deep place beyond just his stomach. He seemed ok the next morning and was walking around but I had a gut feeling that something was not right. My amazing chiropractor worked on him the next day as he seemed a little more sluggish. By the evening I was giving him water as he was not drinking and by 6:30 am on the 26th I made the call to bring him in to the emergency vet for some fluids thinking that we would get the fluids in him and he would be coming home with me.
At 7am he received subcutaneous fluids. But something felt not right. It’s almost as if he got worse and by the time I was putting on his jacket to leave the vet he had gone limp in my arms and although I was in shock at what was transpiring a part of me had the knowing that when Indie went limp in my arms his spirit was leaving. So we rushed him back into the exam room and started him on IV fluids. His body began filling with fluid and he felt stronger but as I sat there for 2 hours holding him in my arms while I asked the vet to increase certain portions of the IV drip, it became clear to me that my sweet amazing boy’s spirit was not coming back into his body.
He arched his head back once and I felt his heart stop and his body go limp. I could not quite grasp this as his heart started to beat again and his eyes blinked and for a moment I thought he was just checking out the other side and decided to stay here. Then a few breaths later he arched his head back and in that instant his spirit left his body. I knew everything that was happening and yet it was so completely surreal as I had no preparation for this at all.
In my state of shock, I decided to take Indie’s body home wrapped in a blanket to allow my other dogs to see him and understand what happened. And I wanted to do a Native American Ceremony and blessing over his body and anoint it with sacred oils to keep him safe in his afterlife. Let me just say that I am not the most comfortable person with death, this was a huge stretch for me to have just lost my boy and to now be carrying his dead body into my home and have him in the living room overnight. But what I gained from this was a new awareness on the sacredness of our physical vessel that houses and carries around our precious souls. Indie’s soul had left his body but I had the overwhelming need to honor his precious body vessel that I spent 14 years taking care of and make sure it had been properly cared for all the way to the end. It has actually given me great comfort without being creeped out and a sense of peace around death and dying.
I did it for me as well as I was not in any place to process anything at that moment to feel complete. I needed time and I guess being somewhat in shock allowed me to do something I never would have considered before.
Losing a loved one is hard and there are no words that can adequately describe the pain of the loss. Indie made this easy for me by not allowing me to know that when he threw up 2 days before that he was sick and was going to leave this world. I honestly had no idea when I went to bring him into the vet on Saturday morning for fluids that he would not be coming home with me. And this is what I do for a living.
But my gut tells me he didn’t want me to know, didn’t want me to agonize, to try everything I knew to hold on and save him. There was no choice on my part I had no control over any of it. I had no way to prepare, I just had to accept what was without any story around it- not about the food he and my other dog threw up from, about the vet, about being a victim and God taking him from me. I could only be fully present to the moments before he passed when I was grasping what was happening and let him know that this was his choice and I honored whatever he needed to do. So he was free to pass peacefully knowing that I would be heartbroken but ok with his choice.
As the reality set in I found myself moving through waves of deep sobbing and states of lucid calm. With each sobbing wave a new awareness set in. It’s an interesting phenomena to living with another being so intensely and not realize how intense it really is because you’re in it. When all of a sudden you find yourself unhooked from it, it starts hitting you that this other being was like part of your skin, part of the very breath you breathe, and every thought you think and every feeling you feel.
When I told a few friends they just could not comprehend me without Indie that’s how much of an integral part of my life this dog had been. I went nowhere without him. And he was such a great dog that he was rarely on a leash.
Losing another being that is so close to you that you feel as if you shared the same nervous system, breath, thoughts and life is a real wake up call to how much you relied on them to live your own life. For quite some time now I have found deep solace and peace in dogs. To me they are often closer than human family and are always there to unconditionally love me and to receive mine. This has caused me to experience feelings of inadequacy around humans who are not as sensitively tuned in as dogs are. And drew me more into my life with my dogs to feel safe.
Indie was such a wise and humble being. He taught me so much about moving past my fears and be willing to say YES to life.
To feel the love, devotion, adoration, loyalty, protection, safety, comfort and calmness of another being even if that being is in a dog suit that truly gets you and that you actually see for who they are in the depths of their soul is a gift I wish upon every human being.
I was reminded about 30 minutes after Indie’s passing of the simple fact that in God’s eyes everyone is equal and in the end the only thing that matters is love.
We live on a planet where we have been given such enormous abundance and resources and a place to experience the most incredible adventures and see the most exotic of species and yet we fight, we kill, we maim all because we want or believe we need more, we want more and don’t have enough. We claim to be the superior species on the planet yet we are the species that is killing our planet and extincting other life forms at an alarming rate.
What I learned from this 18 pound Dachsund over the course of my incredible life with him is that things are actually really simple and we have a choice: be grateful for all we have been given, honor and respect the preciousness of all life or kill, harm and destroy because we can. Now it doesn’t take a genius or anything more than common sense and the practicality of a Dachsund to point out the obvious.
Indie’s life has expired but mine has not and till my last breath I will follow the intelligence of my 18 pound wonder pup- treat all beings humanely, respect all life, and wag my tail everyday just because I am alive.
Rest In Peace my sweet boy. I know your spirit is with me all the time and I know we will meet again.
This Easter may we truly Resurrect the truth: Peace on Earth and for all mankind and for dog sake remember that LOVE is the most precious thing of all.