Sunday, February 12, 2006


The last story of my dog’s near fatal moment brings back another experience from my past. This took place almost 25 years ago, but there are some parallels.

Back then I had two Alaskan Malamutes, big strong sled dogs from my sister’s kennels. Like now, I had one old dog and a young one. It’s a good thing to have an old dog help socialize a pup, both to being a dog and how to relate to us as humans. As much as we may try to be alpha and dominate the pack, dogs still recognize our innate difference. They may accept their place as subordinate to us, but we still speak different languages at a superficial level through different bodies and minds.

There's another precognition in this parallel, that I’ve recently caught myself calling my young dog by the name of the young one back then. I suppose it’s that I see a similar bright and independent spirit in their behaviors. My name-calling preceded the choking incident and I noted it as unusual when it happened. I’m only now seeing how a pattern in my life is repeating itself, and wondering how it might be that we relive even seemingly random accidental events because we manifest a need for learning through experience. Down the rabbit hole ….

Anyway, back then my dogs had regular collars for their tags, and choke chains for being on leash. I left the chains on because I didn’t see any reason to take them off. Wrong.

First I came home one day and my old Malamute was lying on the rear porch. When I called the dogs into the house, he struggled but didn’t get up. I started to freak out, ran to see what was wrong with him. It turns out the loop on the end of the chain had fallen into the gap between two of the boards of the deck and gotten stuck. The dog simply was being held down. It was an easy fix, but a warning these were not safe. I may have started removing the chains in between walks, but eventually I got lazy and forgot about it.

Some time thereafter, I had a stray young Husky stay with us briefly until we found the owner. She and my young male Malamute were good play companions and loved to wrestle. Well, one day they were wrestling in my living room, and fortunately I was present because my Malamute somehow slipped a paw through the choke chain of the Husky as she stood over him. When she turned her body around, however, the chain wrapped a loop around his paw. The Malamute screamed in pain and began fighting to get loose.

The Husky panicked and began trying to get away. When she couldn’t pull loose, she turned again, the same direction as before, tightening the loop even further. Plus, she was now starting to choke herself.

They began fighting ferociously.

I tried to control them to untangle the trap but they were too desperate so I simply grabbed both their heads and pinned them to the floor, just totally taking control of them. I couldn’t let go of one to loosen the chain because it would simply resume attacking the other. There I was, pinning the heads of two dogs weighing a cumulative 150 lbs, their bared teeth inches apart.

Fortunately I had a friend visiting that afternoon, and I yelled at her to get the bolt cutters from the shed in the back. Now here was a miracle in itself, because 1) she didn’t know the layout of my house; 2) the shed was hidden behind another building in the rear of the property; and 3) she didn’t even know what bolt cutters were.

She was back with them in about 30 seconds! Since I couldn’t let go, I told her what to do. Two seconds and the chain was cut. The best part was she didn’t even know how she had found the cutters or what she had done with them. It all felt to her as though she had been in a trance. In fact, both of us acted completely from a sense of “doing” in the moment, driven by necessity beyond hesitation.

Those two dogs never played together again. In fact, they had to be kept separate from that point forward until the Husky was reunited with her owners. My dog limped badly for a while, and it never really went away for the rest of his short life. Since then I’ve never left a chain on a dog when I wasn’t using it on leash.

As for premonitions, here’s a quick count:

There was the thought about chains being unsafe after the first incident. Though I noted it, it didn’t make enough impression to change my actions.

In the second incident, there was the thought of the rawhide being unsafe for my old dog, but somehow it wasn’t quite enough to change my actions.

In both cases the second incident not only reinforced the earlier perception but also accelerated the consequences to a dramatic level. Somewhere my unconscious mind caught the parallel and began trying to bring it forward to consciousness, such as calling my young dog by my previous one’s name.

The mind works symbolically, using representational models. Everything that arises is a product of consciousness at some level. We employ filters to make sense of our information stream, and we call that reality. The trick is to open our filters enough to make sense of data, whether from internal or external sources; it is all perception.

How well we recognize things is the consequence of sensitivity and awareness. Filters need to be selective enough to turn down the volume of data, else we become overwhelmed, but also permeable enough to allow through sufficient bandwidth to enable us to function effectively. At the threshold between unconscious and conscious is a filter we call intuition. Everyone has it, but not everyone knows how to separate the signal from the background noise, and so things get overlooked.

In these incidents I can see the messages popping through, not as a special psychic sense but as an innate awareness available to us all. My subconscious simply rolled combinations of data based on my own patterns of behavior and resources to come up with plausible future scenarios. Whether the picture already existed in my head and I perceived it or whether thinking it created the picture that I then enacted, but in each case warnings ignored portended outcomes that could have been avoided.

But then, I wouldn’t be able to share these things with you. Such is experience.

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