Notice the next time he is at the studio as you enter the reception area. It’s not your feet or torso he looks at, it’s your eyes. Immediate connection through eye contact occurs between you and this being. It may be fleeting or deep, though in that moment, if you’re paying attention, you’ll realize information is being exchanged. Many students immediately connect with the honour and privilege that it is to be around and make contact with this amazing creature. Beausoleil (Beau) is MYBW’s ‘studio dog’ and is cared for by myself and studio manager Meg Walsh. Beau is just over four years old and is certified as a Therapy Dog.
If you practice at the studio frequently, he will likely recognize you, though this doesn’t mean he will always approach you. There are some of you who he makes a beeline for, remembering you as having the scent of dog treats on you (please don’t give him any). There are some of you he moves immediately toward because of his familiarity with you and past exchanges of affection. Your connection with him through affection is not simply each of you enjoying the touch that occurs. Like making affectionate contact with humans or other receptive animals, what is also occurring is the language of heart-opening and is a lost opportunity if taken for granted.
It’s possible that upon seeing you, he will approach and press himself up against you. Imagine how you would respond to your own simple, animalistic drive to connect with someone you feel drawn to and immediately feel safe with. In your presence and lack of stories you would likely press up against them out of wanting to feel their safety and groundedness. Sometimes though, it may be you who is experiencing such a want, for which he can sense from you, and may respond.
There is a common belief that angels, being bodiless and of pure spirit, will show up in the form of a dog to fulfill a mission on Earth—silently protecting us in ways which we may never be aware of. This soft, furry, friendly angel gifts us students with his warm and gentle presence each day. We’re convinced he was born to help in the healing of those who come to practice at MYBW, and this is evident by all the appreciation, affection and connection he both gives and receives. Whether it’s his direct eye contact with you, the trust he exhibits by pressing up against you, or the distance he may need to take from you, this incredible spirit is here to help us learn.
Do not take it personally if he doesn’t move toward you or stay in your company. He’s the perfect teacher when it comes to noticing our own feelings around not receiving the contact we would prefer, and our thoughts that we may create from such an experience. Like each of us, there are times when he simply doesn’t feel like moving or is not interested in your friendliness or outreach. Encounters with dogs are similar to our encounters with other people, in that they present us opportunities to see ourselves and how we choose to interact (or not), though usually with much less judgement.
If you’re comfortable enough to be in his presence, you can experience the most subtle yet profound exchange of energetic awareness. Whether he’s familiar with you or not, the opportunity for connection exists simply because of his innocence. Unless he’s intentionally moving away from you, there is acceptance, based on what he feels in that moment. If he’s willing to lay down and close his eyes near you, his trust in you has deepened.
In the spirit of Beau’s natural generosity, MYBW is happily directing all July Karma Class funds to the Lions Foundation DOG GUIDES outreach program. May more furry angels walk among us.
See you in the practice room,
Originally published in July 2019: Letter from the Director by Don Christensen