So begins “Conversations with My Old Dog,” by Dr. Robert Pasick. And so begins our week of stories, packed with great news and recommendations on books (and some videos) about the spiritual side of our relationships with the animals we love.
“Conversations” is published by ReadTheSpirit Books. Here’s a link to the book’s website where you can read the entire three-page opening chapter of the book that starts with those opening lines. You also can click from that page to Amazon and buy a copy for yourself or a friend.
THE SOULS OF ANIMALS
Long before “Saturday Night Live” or Jon Stewart, America’s favorite satirist was James Thurber who described his own spiritual bond with animals this way: “If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven—and very, very few persons.”
This week, we’re publishing stories about the spiritual side of our relationships with animals:
- 1: Dr. Robert Pasick & “Conversations with My Old Dog”
- 2: Jon Katz & “Soul of a Dog”
- 3: Books to Help Families When a Pet Dies
- 4: Meet Dr. Laura on Rethinking Faith & Friends
- 5: Serious help—and a good laugh about pets
- 6: Four for families enjoying furry friends
WHAT MADE ROB START TALKING TO LUCY? AND TO US?
Dr. Robert Pasick’s book, which you can explore further on the “Conversations” website, is a series of “talks” or “letters” or “meditations” Rob experienced with his beloved yellow Lab, Lucy.
Who is Dr. Robert Pasick? He holds a doctorate in psychology from Harvard and has devoted his life to working with business leaders on counseling and coaching. He’s the author of other popular books, including “Balanced Leadership in Unbalanced Tmes.” You may have seen him on Oprah or the Today Show—or heard his voice on radio.
What made him start talking with his dog? And writing it all down so that we can eavesdrop? Much was changing in Rob’s family at the point he began jotting down his conversations with Lucy. His wife had begun a job that required extensive travel. His father had been forced to retire at age 78 and was slowing down. A friend at age 55 had been diagnosed with lung cancer. And Rob himself? He was about to turn 50.
To start your week off right, here’s a sample chapter from “Conversations with My Old Dog” …
Lucy, I love your one-pointed attention.
Never seeming to do two things at once, how do you get everything done?
I learned long ago to do several things at once.
My parents taught me through example: Dad could sit at the dinner table, eat, read the newspaper—always the funnies first—and carry on a conversation, all at the same time. Mom always listened to the radio and glanced at the mirror, no matter what else she was doing.
I can’t help but read while I eat, read while I use the bathroom, listen to the radio while I drive (and drink coffee), glance at the newspaper when I talk to someone and drink coffee as I do therapy.
Do you get distracted too, Lucy? Do you fantasize about your pal Remington while playing ball? Do you dream of bones lost and balls found while you hold a sit-stay?
Do dogs worry about death, vision loss, hearing loss, incontinence, cancer, poverty?
Who is going to take care of you in old age? Will you experience doctor-assisted suicide without even asking for it? Where will you go when you die?
Or are you always here in the present, alert to the opportunity for food, the chance to go for a walk, for someone to pet you?
Teach me one-pointed attention, Lucy. I long to be here fully, too.
For me, being fully present is tough: I may be in one place, but my mind is often somewhere else—in the future, in the past, in daydreams—just not here.
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(Originally published at readthespirit.com)