Featured Animal Friday: Patrón

 

Patrón’s Story:

Patrón is a total gossip and fills me in on what’s going on with all the other animals. I first discovered this element of his personality when I initially adopted him and his best buddy, Regal, from NKLA in November 2015. He would sit beside me and start to share bits and pieces of Regal’s story. Each sharing session would begin with,

“He really doesn’t like to talk about it, but…”

or

“I’m really not one to gossip, but…”

and then after divulging just enough details, he’d quickly say,

“But it’s really not my story to share. You’ll have to talk to Regal about it.”

I started to wonder if the images he was showing me were, in fact, from his life prior to being adopted. So one day, I finally asked Patrón if he wouldn’t mind sharing with me what his life had been like before we met. He happily obliged and showed me how he had been adopted once before by an older woman after her husband passed. He showed me how he was very attentive to her and would follow her all around the house. He said he particularly enjoyed sitting beside her on the couch since there was a large window through which the sun would shine and gently warm his back, lulling him into a gentle slumber. He said it was a nice life. Then he showed me other people coming over to the house. He said it put him on edge as these people always seemed in a rush and didn’t take time to acknowledge him. He didn’t care for the tone they used to speak to his person, adding they seemed bossy. He said the lazy sunshine-filled afternoons on the couch with his person became less and less. Now his owner spent more time in bed. She seemed tired and coughed a lot. Patrón then showed me how he would periodically walk around the house, checking each room to make sure all was in order. He would occasionally hop up on the couch for a sunbath, but he said without his person, it was never quite as comfy and so he would jump down and quietly join her in the bedroom. Being careful not to wake her, curling up tightly at her feet.

He then showed me her kids trying to get her affairs in order as she was ill and then trying to sort out her estate. He showed me how one day after he had gone to sleep at her feet, as usual, he awoke to find the bed empty. He searched everywhere, but she was nowhere to be found. He said the house was very still. It had been getting quieter every day since his person started staying in bed, but now it was practically silent. He said he knew she had passed. He then showed me her kids trying to sort out her estate. They were the same people who Patrón had seen before. The agitated people who had been too busy to say hello to him and who he felt had been so rude in interrupting his quality couch time. He showed me how none of the kids were interested in adopting him, and so they gathered up his bed and his toys and dropped him off at the shelter. He said not to feel too bad for him since he knew he wasn’t meant to work with any of them and, as he put it,

“Frankly, they didn’t appreciate me.”

Patrón was eventually transferred to NKLA, where he met and bonded with Regal. He was a staff favorite and was often brought home by volunteers for “sleepovers.” I first saw Patrón at the shelter. It was at closing, and he was bouncing and barking like a mad man. Later I ran into him again in the parking lot. He was wearing a sweater, and a volunteer was carrying him under her arm to bring home for an overnight. Now having heard Patrón’s story and how he was insulted by his former owner’s lack of acknowledgment, I understand why I felt compelled to formally introduce myself to him in that moment. I literally shook his paw! I recall saying,

“Well, hello, Patrón. It’s nice to meet you. You seem much calmer than when I saw you earlier.”

The volunteer told me how she often brought him home for overnights and that now whenever he saw her leaving at closing, he would start barking. In hindsight, this also made a lot of sense. The next day when I returned to NKLA for an official meet and greet session, Patrón walked into the room like a pro. He was alert but calm as he hopped up on the bench, taking a seat a safe distance from me. He looked me up and down and then scooted a little closer, still assessing my demeanor and personal boundaries. He gave me another once over and gently climbed into my lap. Perhaps he had concluded I was appreciative of doggy cuddles, or maybe he sensed that my home would be a source of lazy sunshine days with couches on which to stretch out? Whatever the case, Patrón carried himself through the adoption process and into my heart like a seasoned pro, one who had seen it all, knew the routine, and was ready to join a new family.

What’s I find especially compelling about Patrón is his timing. When we adopted him and Regal, we’d not only just lost our two senior dogs, but my Mom had also passed away just 3 months prior. Patrón entered our lives, possessing a unique skill set for being a companion to those who had lost a spouse or loved-one. He’s now my Dad’s right-hand man and accompanies him to Regal’s chemotherapy appointments. I always joke that Patrón has a serious look on his face like he knows everything, but when I stop to think about it, he actually does!

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Gotcha Day 2015: Patrón enjoying the couch with his buddy, Regal, in their new home.

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BFFs.

You can frequently find Patrón’s illustration featured on my website as well as on my my information brochure’s and flyers. And he’s the most recent sticker and magnet to be featured in my shop. Click Here For More!

 


Interested in learning more about your own pet’s backstory and what they are here to teach you? You can schedule a reading with me today! Click Here!

Tempered Wings

Fear cautions us of Icarus as our Ancestors call us to the fire.

Do we dare put our feet to the flames? Yes!

For it is here we resurrect our mighty tempered wings.

 

Now I lay me down in flames.

Crimson glow dances over me.

Engulfs me.

Chars and cleanses the exoskeleton of a life made up of outgrown roles and inherited false beliefs.

 

A replenished soul like the soil after a forest fire’s rage.

Within the appearance of a barren wasteland I am in fact… renewed.

 

Spiral down to my epiphany.

When I hit the ground I will rise,

like a Pheonix from the ash of all that once was but no longer defines me.

– Libby Brittain

 

She Wrote Her Own Ending Too Soon…

This evening I learned of the passing of one of my favorite designers, Kate Spade. It’s amazing how creative energy can defy the limits of space and time and light a spark of inspiration in a complete stranger. Kate’s designs had that ability. Her creations were witty, cheeky, and inspired me. I was always amazed by how she could create a purse out of ANYTHING! An origami dinosaur, a takeout bag, a wicker teapot, you name it! Kate thought outside the box in such a way that combined simplicity and color with just the right amount of whimsy that allowed every boss lady to do lunch with her inner child. I admired Kate. She was a designer who, I felt, understood me. Which is what makes the fact that such an artist felt compelled to take her own life all the more tragic.

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As I flipped through photos of her work and old ad campaigns I was struck by the terrible irony of the stationary that read, “she writes her own story,” and the day planner with a cover that said, “expect the unexpected.” Truth is, Kate wrote the very unexpected ending to her story in a suicide note she left to her 13 year old daughter. I can’t help but wonder how Kate had come to this conclusion?

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I’ve been reading lots of comments about the selfishness of her final act and I will admit that I was struck by a wave of anger too as I thought of the 13 year old who is now without a mother. But then it occurred to me that the level of selfishness spoke to the severity of pain Kate must have been in. It goes against a woman’s biological nature to abandon her child. That tells me the strength with which depression held Kate. It had rewired her thinking and deleted all the maternal instincts in the process.

I myself have experienced depression, as have my family members…including my cousin who made an attempt to end her life in 2009. Thankfully she is still with us. In October of 2014 I lost one of my best friends to suicide. He had attempted to get help but when he told the hospital he “thought” he was suicidal he was told to come back when he was sure! My friend had a strong support system of people who loved him and made every attempt to get him help. Still, the system failed.

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From the shamanic perspective, depression is a symptom of soul loss, something that occurs after we have experienced a traumatic event or something that tells us the world we’re in isn’t safe. So the piece of us that doesn’t feel safe breaks off in search of well being. As shamans we are trained to travel to the different upper and lower worlds to retrieve these pieces for our clients. This is a standard practice in other cultures, sadly in modern western society we are told to put on a brave face, take a pill, and get over it. Obviously this formula isn’t working.

Tonight I am thinking of Kate’s family and of her little girl. I am also thinking of all my brothers and sisters; my tribe members who have lost loved ones to suicide. Often when we hear of another suicide it can bring up a lot of emotions. That is okay! Let them come out! Talk to your friends, talk to your family, talk to me! Even if it’s just a post on social media, let other’s know how you are feeling. And if you don’t know what to say if someone comes to you, that’s okay. Tell them that. Just be there and hold space for them. It’s only when we start to open up and allow ourselves and one another to be truly vulnerable that we can begin to heal. Kate was correct, we do write our own story…and we can change the ending at any moment.

Kate Spade: 1962-2018

Child of the Earth and Sky

My chest rises and falls as I allow my body to melt into the sandy arms of Pachamama; Mother Earth.

She is the Mother who has never left us.

Our heart beats synchronize.

Recalibrate as Grandfather Sun warms my shoulder blades and invisible wings.

My Brothers and Sisters of the Wind and Sea sing to me.

Welcoming me home.

A salt-filled tear streams down my face and into my Mother’s hands as I remember

I am one.

I am whole.

The Sun. The Sky.

The Earth. The Moon.

The Sea. The Wind.

The Sand. The Stars.

This is my family.

A Seagull calls, “I love you,” off shore.

My face smiles as my heart expands;

open with gratitude.

Forevermore.

by Libby Brittain