December 15, 2017

A Four-footed Miracle of Love

A four-footed miracle of love changed our lives.

Everybody’s looking for love in their lives these days, it seems.

And love is a goal worthy of pursuing because there’s no other force in all the universes of Creation that’s more powerful, fulfilling or healing to the heart than that of unconditional love.

If we’re open to it that kind of love can sometimes arrive in our lives from unexpected sources, as happened to my wife and I last year. And there’s a tale to tell about that occurrence to help bring it to life for you – maybe from a perspective you’ve experienced yourself and can already identify with – or maybe even in a way that will open up your own heart and life to go looking to find it in a similar way for yourself.

For over twenty years my wife and I have had dogs in our lives as companions and friends, and being as they were the type we refer to as bush dogs they lived in their own spacious outdoor kennel where they preferred to be.

For all of those years we had been particularly partial to mixed-breed descendants of one particular northern animal – the Tahltan Bear Dog – and we’ve had a total of four of them. They tend to live into their early to mid teens, so most of ours kind of overlapped their years together.

The Tahltan was a particularly hardy and tough strain of terrier originally developed and bred by the Tahltan Indians of northern British Columbia to use for bear hunting as their name implies, and along with their speed and agility they were also exceptionally good trackers and hunters when used for that purpose.

But they were also very excellent and intelligent pets who lovingly bonded to their masters on an astonishingly deep heart level, so it was always a tough experience to endure when their years of life came to a close and we had to say our goodbyes to these amazing friends.

We did that again with the last of our Tahltan’s in October of 2009, and as wounded as our hearts felt at the time we swore we’d never allow another dog into our lives ever again.

We’d named this last old guy Clancy Underfoot when we first got him as a puppy but always called him by his initials, “C.U.” There’s a sequel coming up as to why his name is so important to this story.

We should have known better than to ‘never say never’, because we suspect somebody Upstairs must have heard and felt our hurting words and begun to put plans in place right away to rectify our pain.

Along came spring of 2010 and lo and behold we found ourselves pining to find another furry companion to fill the huge void still living in our hearts, so we started looking around again but found no one with a similar strain of Tahltan puppy anywhere in sight. We soon became disappointed by those results and found ourselves bordering on the verge of giving up the search entirely.

Then time turned into July, and I was already away for the summer living at my fire tower location on the mountaintop referred to in one of my earlier posts, when I got a wonderfully happy cell phone call from my wife. And the story she had to tell me was exceptional in its Tlingit cultural meanings and inferences as well as in its immediate reality.

A knock had come at our door downstairs and she called out to invite entrance. When those guests arrived upstairs she saw it was one of our cousins and her little seven year old boy, who had one hand tucked secretively behind his back.

After greetings were exchanged my wife said to the little man, “Zack, what have you got in your hand behind your back?” The young fellow was smiling when he brought that hand around to place its contents into my wife’s own suddenly and instinctively outstretched hands.

Hlinukts Seew

It turned out to be a gorgeous little six week old bundle of soft and cuddly black female fur – the first female puppy ever to show up in our house, never mind in our lives – and my wife was instantly smitten beyond all possibility of redemption or revocation by the barrels of love suddenly stirred to life in her own broken heart. But she was still thinking this was the young fellow’s puppy that he’d come to show her.

“What’s your puppy’s name?” she asked Zack. “Oh it’s not my puppy, it’s yours Aunty. We got her for you”, he said. “But you can call her ‘Hlinukts’ if you want”.

This was an especially powerful name for her to hear in these moments, because in her native Tlingit language it means “Sweet” and nothing could have been closer to the truth in those precious slices of time than that single word as it related to what she held in her hands.

My wife told me of the tears that sprang to her eyes with his words as she cuddled this new treasure to her breast, and thanked him with all the power of her heart, her words and her loving hug for such a beautiful gift.

She was ecstatic and had already decided in the instant that things would be different where the life of this little girl pup was concerned. This one would be our first indoor dog and we’d be able to love her to pieces 24/7 if we wanted to.

Their happy visit soon concluded, my wife followed them downstairs and out into the porch with Zack preceding her. A few steps into that porch the young fellow stopped suddenly, put his head down for a moment and then turned around to face her and said, “Aunty, if you want, her last name can be C.U.” with which words he smiled at her and they left.

Our four-footed miracle of love had found the home she was born to inhabit and bring her healing love to.

The sequel I mentioned earlier is this – that my wife hadn’t realized until then just exactly how close young Zack had felt to our now departed C.U. – and that it was his way of trying to honor the life of that wonderful old dog whom he had bonded to so closely himself.

And the clincher to this sequel? In the Tlingit language there’s another word with a pronunciation identical to those two initials C.U. It’s spelled ‘Seew’ and means ‘Rain’ – and suddenly the powerful meaning and impact of joining those two Tlingit names together set up a resonance for my wife that forever sealed our new girl puppy’s name.

Allow me to introduce you to Hlinukts Seew – “Sweet Rain” – who without doubt or question in any form whatsoever from that day forth immediately began to drench our aching hearts in the life-giving showers of her ineffably Sweet Rain of unconditional love!

I’ve included a couple of pictures of her with this post so you can get to meet her for yourself – one in the form of the tiny puppy she arrived as and the other all dolled up in her winter gear, out braving the cold -28 Celsius  temperatures with me in our yard a few days ago.

She’s a year and a half old now and filled with a pizzazz and personality second to none – but most of all she’s filled with an amazing and healing love that’s laid a balm of remembrance upon our hearts for old C.U. – while also filling those same hearts up to overflowing with the wonder and the joy of the four-footed Miracle of Love she’s become to us.

As a good friend of mine remarked one day after a visit we’d made with Hlinukts Seew in attendance where she’d loved him up real good too, “You know Dog is just God spelled backwards, don’t you? Kinda makes you wonder sometimes, doesn’t it?”

We no longer have to wonder about that, because we know without question that the pure and unconditional love of our little four-footed tsunami of Sweet Rain comes as a gift straight from the Source of all love.

Four-footed Miracles of Love do happen in people’s lives.

Your responses to this particularly heart-felt post are welcome and can be given through the comment form below. They will be responded to.


  1. That’s our girl!

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