You, Your Pet, and Your Sacred Contract

Our beloved pets are so much more than just furry little friends. The bond we share with them is deep and profound. Their unconditional love and lack of ego, enables our relationship with them to often run deeper than that of our human loved ones and friends.  While we may spend countless time caring for their physical needs, grooming them and feeding them, they are continually soothing our souls and transmuting the stress of our daily lives. Scientific studies show that people who live with pets recover quicker from surgery and live longer, healthier lives.In fact, recent research shows that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present!


Let’s just cut to the chase and call a spade a spade, and acknowledge that we have “sacred contracts” with beloved pet companions. The depth of these contracts can be fascinating when we take a closer look at them.  In many ways we are each other’s spiritual caretakers. It is said that our pet’s soul has been drawn to us in order to benefit from our level of consciousness. In fact, the great master of yoga, Paramahansa Yogananda, said that animals that live with humans are stimulated to move forward in their spiritual evolution to human birth. We, in turn, have much to learn from our animal friends. The gifts each of our pets brings to our world are quite simply, priceless.


Here’s a peek into the sacred world that existed between myself and my beautiful English Cocker Spaniel, Amanda, who recently made her transition to be with the angels full time on Janurary 28th.  I guess to totally understand the gest of this evolutionary journey between Mandy and I with the intensity that I am trying to convey it, you would need to truly love to dance. Mandy did, I can tell you that. She was never a lap dog. And she would get anxious if you tried to pay her too much attention.  As if saying, “My job here is to comfort you, not to be comforted by you.” But put on some music and pick her up in your arms and dance, and that little girl was as happy as any soul could ever be.  She loved the music, the movement, and I’m quite certain she knew that the healing powers of music and sound were always at play. Her dad, the consummate musician himself, called her “the great spirit dog, Amanda,” and that she was.

(The song “The Dance” is what is putting things into perspective for me … So do me a favor right now and hear this song playing ever so softly in the background as you continue reading this …)


As one door closes and another opens, we catch our breath and try to embrace the reality of what has just occurred.  In losing my beloved Mandy (my daughter of 16 ½ years) from this 3rd dimensional world of ours, and enduring the heartbreak of missing her physical presence, I feel compelled to share with you the things I learned during our time together. That sweet dog taught me more than any MBA or Harvard PhD ever could have.


I’d been struggling for awhile with feeling unsuccessful … Feeling as if I’d taken so very many risks and that somehow they’d all just ended up in pain/disappointment/failure/loss.  The list seemed endless … failed relationships, failed marriages, failed business ventures, and on and on. Through this process I’d come to realize that I was focusing only on the “end result” with little to no regard for the joy and happiness that preceded the ‘ending’ if you will.  In other words I was throwing out the baby with the proverbial bath water … I was hating the entire book/movie/scenario simply because I didn’t like the way it ended.


While the “victim” in me wanted to stay attached to the “quote unquote” seemingly negative outcome; the more conscious adult in me, knew that the journey in between had really been quite worthwhile.  After all there was significant joy along the way … there were ups and downs … much learning … and ever so much happiness.  The truth of the matter is, none of it would ever hurt this bad if there wasn’t something absolutely incredible to miss. And I never would have participated if it was “all” that bad. Ahh, the joy of enlightenment when one finally breaks through the illusion of “failure” only to realize that so very much was learned that perhaps the final grade should be an A+ instead of the proverbial “F” I’d been superimposing on the entire experience.


And then YES, Garth Brook’s song “The Dance” reemerged once again on my radar screen … Only this time it was Dave Koz’s version, which I assure you I replayed no less than 6 times, each time singing with more and more passion as the realization of the song’s message hit deeper and deeper each time it was sung. (For now you should be very happy this is an article and not a Youtube video, as my Karaoke skills leave ever so much to be desired!) But think about these lyrics for just a moment …


Looking back on the memory of

the dance we shared ‘neath the stars above;

For a moment all the world was right.

How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye?

And now, I’m glad I didn’t know

the way it all would end, the way it all would go.

Our lives are better left to chance;

I could have missed the pain,

but I’d have had to miss the dance.

Holding you I held everything,

For a moment wasn’t I a king

If I’d only known how the king would fall,

Hey, who’s to say – you know I might have changed it all.

And now, I’m glad I didn’t know

the way it all would end, the way it all would go.

Our lives are better left to chance;

I could have missed the pain,

but I’d have had to miss the dance.

Yes my life is better left to chance

I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance!



And so I really listened to the lyrics, I sang them with intense passion, and then it hit me how much both Mandy and I truly love to dance … And in that moment I remembered all the good of all those “failed” relationships … supposed “failed” business opportunities or ventures … I remembered the joy of the dance of it all … and thought oh my God, he is so right … “our lives truly are better left to chance, for if we knew how we might fall, we might have changed it all, and in our vein attempt to miss the pain, we would have missed it all, we would have missed THE DANCE.


And girlfriend there ain’t no good reason ever to MISS THE DANCE!  The joy of the dance is priceless … the JOY of the DANCE is what makes life worth living … THE JOY OF THE DANCE is the joy of life itself.


I thank you Mandy Ann for your sage wise wisdom … I thank you for sharing your beautiful heart with me … I thank you for allowing me the extreme honor of dancing through this beautiful life of yours as your mom. I will always love you and I promise to embrace all you have taught me. For because of you, my life is ever so much richer and because I have known you, I will always remember to enjoy the dance of life itself. Thank you for that gift. Thank you for sharing this Sacred Contract and lesson with me.


“A day begins at dawn, and perpetually ends at dusk. Life begins with birth, and unceasingly ends with death.  Yet love, once ignited, lives forevermore. It is quite simply a dance with no real beginning and no virtual end … it is the circle of life itself.”

– An Epitaph, for my amazing, amazing Amanda

July 1, 1996 – January 28, 2013

I will love you, forevermore.


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