Ann's dog AbePhoto by Ann Loyola

— By Ann Loyola —

Odd things happen to all of us at some time or another. A few weeks ago, I woke up after a vivid dream about my dog, Abe. I was at the trailhead of a popular local path into the foothills, calling out for Abe, who had run off both leashless and collarless. I whistled, yelled, and shrieked to no avail. Hikers passed by, promising to search for him as they went on their way. For no apparent reason, I got into my old pickup truck and drove down a dirt road, rounded a sharp corner, and pulled up at a dead end. Who was bouncing up and down, yipping happily? Abe.

After pouring a cup of coffee and wondering why I would have such a crisp, realistic dream—except for the part about Abe not wearing a collar because he always wears his collar—I then forgot about it.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I went for a hike with a friend, my mini-dachshund Waffles, and Abe. My friend rarely hikes, so this was a new thing. She offered to handle Abe, who can sometimes be helpful pulling his human companion up steep hills. Halfway up, Abe tangled his leash around her legs, so I suggested she remove the leash. After all, Abe was such a good, good boy and would never run off. She removed the leash and the collar slipped off with it.

Four hours later, there was still no sign of Abe. I was back at the trailhead alone—the same place I had dreamed about—after taking a very distraught friend and Captain Golden Waffles back home. We had called and searched for the very good boy for hours. Yes, I recalled my dream but quickly pushed away the notion of any connection. After all, it was just a dream. After all, what would my friend think of me if I told her about it and then had her witness my fool’s errand of retracing the elements of such a dream? I was putting up Lost Dog posters and asking passing hikers to look for him, when I finally gave myself a mental smack on the forehead. I had indeed driven the old pickup truck, not the newer truck or the family SUV. I climbed behind the wheel, drove down a familiar looking dirt road, rounded a very sharp corner, headed up to a dead end, and I think you know the rest of the story.

I’m still tossing around terms like “coincidence,” “self-fulfilling prophecy,” “weird,” and “the universe speaks.” Susan thinks I should have heeded it as a warning about keeping my dog leashed and collared, which is a valid point. My friend refuses to hike with me anymore unless I have a really good dream about it beforehand. Abe is just happy.

But, but, what was it? I can’t dismiss the absolute honesty of the dream and it’s connection with what happened later in so-called “real life.” I can’t dismiss my hesitance to trust the dream and act on what I had been shown. If Abe had been leashed, the dream would have faded away into nothingness. If I had trusted and acted on it, I would have found Abe within minutes instead of hours. I believe there was a lesson I had to learn about trusting my inner self, and about my own need for strength to act without fear of being ridiculed by others and myself. As I learn more through Earthfire’s year-long exploration of Reconnection Ecology, I realize how important it is that we show support for each other as we share our diverse, seemingly unexplainable experiences.

Has anything like this happened to you? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts. Send them to ann@earthfireinstitute.org and let’s compare notes.

Ann’s history with Earthfire began 20 years ago when she signed on as a part-time fundraising consultant. She was on-hand for the birth and official IRS nonprofit designation of Earthfire Institute. After 18 years serving as Marketing and Development Director at a rural hospital, she’s come back to Earthfire as Assistant Director. Ann enjoys skiing, bicycling, fly fishing, and horseback riding.

White German Shepherd Dog

Shota | Earthfire Institute

A Heeded Warning

— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

A few days after Ann shared this story with me, I walked my beloved young white German Shepherd, Shota, down the stairs from my office in town, prepared to open the door out into the street and to my car. I always have him on a leash when I do this. But as I headed towards the door, a thought arose. Perhaps I needed to make it an attentive habit to take a firmer hold on the leash than is my wont. He is strong and impulsive. If he saw another dog, he might break free and run into the street.

Nothing happened. There was no unusual incident. But there might have been and could be in the future. Without realizing it, I was thinking differently—a practical result of Ann’s Warning Dream.

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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