3 Ways to Celebrate Your Canine Companions
By Annemarie Juhlian
Yes, I’m one of those crazy dog lovers. My husband and I have a household of older and special-needs dogs, all rescued from neglect and abuse.
Throughout the years, in the dog rescue work that I do in Seattle, we have taken in many dogs, often in their final months and years. Over time, our hearts have been momentarily shattered when we have lost one of our companion animals to old age and/or illness.
Dog is truly “GOD” spelled backwards. No matter what your faith, spiritual path, or tradition, the art and joy of having a dog is a daily wonder that can be intentionally celebrated.
In with my work as a celebrant, I have found that creating every day celebrations around the dogs in my life brings me great peace and joy.
If you are a dog lover, here are few simple rituals to celebrate and honor your beloved canine companion:
Candle Lighting: Each morning, I light a candle, asking the invisible world to come to the aid of neglected, abused and abandoned companion animals and farm animals. Like so many of us, I recognize there is much chaos around the proper care-taking of animals in our world. By sending out a little grace each morning on behalf of animals, I feel blessed to be connected to a higher source and vision for what may be.
Morning Tea/Coffee: Each morning, I take one of our dogs and sit on the couch with a cup of tea and have “doggie quiet time.” Some mornings it may be just five minutes. Other mornings, it could be 30 minutes. This is my ritual time to “be,” an art mastered by the dogs in my life.
Wishes Box: Many years ago, I created a “wishes box.” This is a wood box with a carved dog on top that serves as my touchstone for requests and blessings around the animals in my life. Whether one of our dogs needs healing, a local dog needs rescue, or I hear of a situation where a dog is missing or abused, I consciously write and put my request in this Wishes Box—asking that a highest intention be served. More times than not, I am astonished by what happens.
Painted Portrait: If you have a special animal in your life, consider having an artist paint a special of your sweet one. We have several in our home in strategic places. Upon opening our front door, I see a painting of our goofy dog, Taipooh, rescued off the streets of Taiwan, and I always smile. On a wall in my office, I have a portrait of our very wise and self-assured dog, Jesse. When I look up from my desk, her wisdom from her wall portrait reminds me to focus on what is important.
At the end of the day with our dogs, it’s all about love. And it’s all about intentionally creating a “time-out” ritual within a day to honor your canine companion(s) and ultimately honor what sharing life with animals is all about.
Annemarie Juhlian is an award-winning Seattle-based celebrant who creates personalized and meaningful ceremonies for people of all faiths and traditions. marriedbyannemarie.com