Dog’s Best Friend
During the middle of one of my retreats, I noticed that the dolphins had not come into the bay just outside of our house this morning. Sensing that they were down the coast in another bay, I jumped in my car to check. I arrived to find this bay populated with swimmers, divers, turtles and dolphins.
Scanning the water, I looked for the dolphins to rise up again so I could gage what there mood was. If they appeared active and playful, I would return to gather my retreat group. If they appeared quiet and in their rest mode, I wouldn’t. I felt the dolphin’s presence but did not see them for about ten minutes. I headed back to my car with the intention to leave and just at that moment, as if someone tapped me on the shoulder I heard, “turn around!” I immediately responded and faced the bay to see a large pod of dolphins rise up directly across from where I was standing. “Good Morning!” I heard them say. “Here we are, come join us” With great excitement, I jumped back in my car and headed to the retreat site to gather up my group. We quickly piled into our cars and down the coast we went.
My group respectfully and quietly entered the bay to greet our dolphin friends. Some members of my group were graced by close encounters with the dolphins and some found turtles to commune with. This bay is so beautiful, teaming with an array of majestic aquatic life, many varieties of coral and interesting lava formations. One need not go very far to find a cause to stop and enjoy whatever is in front of them. Its all so delightful.
After about an hour, the entire retreat group emerged from the water and returned to the shore to rest, dry off and share stories of the morning swim. As we began sharing our experiences with one another, we heard a variety of amazing stories of exploration and discovery. We were all huddled in an intimate circle intently sharing and listening.
Suddenly we were interrupted by a pair of dogs as they bounded through our circle to the shore line. One dog had an injured back leg. He was holding his leg up and tight against his body. His leg was shaking with pain that radiated on his face. His buddy, a healthy self-assured dog, looked out over the water then turned to the lame dog and barked to him. Together they both leaped over to a lava formation that protruded out from the shore and just above the water, giving them a better vantage point I suppose. They both held an intense focus as if they were looking for something in the water.
At first, I thought the dogs were looking for their humans, as there were a few kayakers paddling around the swimmers and dolphins about 5 yards from shore. The dogs once again looked at each other and with a bark from the stronger of the two, they simultaneously leapt from the lava rock into the water and began swimming together straight out from their departure point.
They looked so cute. Two little heads bobbing side by side as they continued paddling with “dogged” determination and apparent purpose. Assuming the dogs were swimming out to their owner in one of the boats, I watched as they passed the first kayak, then the next, then another. No acknowledgment was made between the dogs or the people in the kayaks. The dogs just kept swimming straight ahead.
Our group continued watching these dogs with amazement and curiosity. Some were concerned as they had already swum out about a quarter of a mile, which appeared to be quite a distance for two small dogs. Then like magic, a cluster of dorsal fins emerged and surrounded the dogs. It then became apparent that the dogs had swum out to be with the dolphins! And the dolphins knew it! The dolphins had included the dogs in their pod. The dogs and dolphins swam together as a group. With a slight turn they swam parallel to the shore. This was an odd sight yet they swam beautifully together. They circled and turned in unison. Wherever the dolphins went the dogs stayed right with them. It was quite a sight. Imagine these dog buddies paddling with their little heads bobbing up and down in the middle of this magnificent pod of dolphins. After about 15 minutes, the dolphins took a unified breath and dove down and disappeared from view. At the same time, the dogs made a sharp turn and began their swim back to shore.
Theories and questions were being exchanged in our group as we awaited the dogs’ arrival. The dogs caught the same wave and rode it into shore; shook off the excess water from their bodies and with smiles on their faces scampered off through our crowd and began playing in the tide pools. The dog whose leg was injured no longer showed any signs of injury or pain. This dog was now running on all fours, jumping, splashing and looked quite joyous. Whatever had been bothering him, clearly no longer was. He was perfectly fine. His buddy played with him for a few minutes. At one point we all laughed as the two dogs jumped up on their hind legs and pushed off each other’s front paws. Then the two ran off to explore the beach…off to the next adventure.
All in our group agreed that the stronger of the two dogs led his injured buddy to the dolphins. He knew that the dolphins could help him. And as we humans quiet often do, he guided his friend safely into the water in order to receive a healing from the dolphins. I felt this was an important tale to tell as this story provides a great example of inter-species communication and assistance. This story also offers more confirmation that the connection and attraction humans feel with the dolphins most likely extends out to other animals in the kingdom. Certainly if we could understand the language of these dogs, they would attest to this truth.
Copyright 2001 by Sheoli Makara