It is still fresh enough for the time of year. “I’m staying home and sleep some more,” said Seamus. “I’ll join you on the shorter walk.”
We are climbing through the forest and the lochs are glistening like jewels in the morning sun. Birds are calling and singing to each other and the breeze is deceptively icy. We are wearing our coats and our companions wear woolly hats and warm boots.
We wind our way up the crag and a woman appears around the corner with a young tri-coloured cavalier spaniel on the lead. She plants her cane in the soil and appears startled.
I walk up to her and sniff her hand. The spaniel turns towards me with a wagging tail and we circle around each other for a polite sniff. Pearl gives him a sniff too and touches his nose with hers.
“Are you OK?” asks our companion.
“Yes, yes, I was not expecting to meet anyone up this high. I have been trying to avoid other dog walkers ever since Charlie got attacked. I don’t need a cane, I just bring it for self-defence.”
“Oh dear,” says our companion. “What happened to Charlie?”
“I was walking him in the park near our estate when a little boy, he could have only been nine at most, appeared with a Jack Russell. Charlie was on the lead, as usual, and the boy let the Jack Russell off the lead when he started to bark. He shot over to Charlie, went underneath him and ripped his whole belly open.
I was screaming, I didn’t know what to do. The little boy didn’t know what to do. A woman came running over and hit the Jack Russell with a chuck-it and that’s when he finally let go. Charlie’s whole belly was open with everything hanging out. It’s a miracle the vet managed to save him. I have been too scared to walk him anywhere near home and I drive for miles to find a quiet place. I always bring a cane, in case another dog tries to attack him.” The woman’s voice was trembling and tears were streaming down her face.
“What a frightening experience,” says our companion.
“I just keep reliving it over and over,” she says.
“Have you been able to talk about it with anyone or have you had any support?” asks our companion.
“I haven’t, I didn’t really know who to turn to.”
I touch the woman’s hand and look up at her. She puts the cane aside and bends over to stroke me under my chin. “You’re a sweet wee boy,” she says. “You have such a calm energy.”
Pearl and Charlie sniff some young grass together. I continue to look into the woman’s eyes from a place of love. When she accepts the connection I let the healing energies flow. She sits down and lets out a deep sigh. I continue to look into her eyes and send light into the shadow.
“I suppose I am not helping myself or Charlie by staying stuck in the past,” she says. “I have to keep my faith in the kindness and good-ness of others. I was so scared of meeting anyone. Now that I have met someone on my walk for the first time in five months it feels like the best thing that could have happened.”
Pearls eyes fill with love. She walks over to the woman and licks her face. “Thank you guys,” she says, stroking us both. “I think I’m going to be OK.”
“If there’s anyone else you can talk to, that might help as well,” says our companion.
“I’ll have a chat with our vicar when I’m next in church, ” she says. “It never occurred to me to talk to him about this, but I think I will.”
We say our goodbyes and continue to climb the winding path. Charlie looks back at us with a wagging tail until we turn towards the top of the crag to admire the view.
A dog attack can be a very traumatic experience for humans and if you know anyone who has been frightened to walk their dog after an attack please see if you can help. You can help by listening, walking with them or simply by being there for them.
We send you all so much love,
Eivor and Pearl xxx
Daily Prompt: Shadow