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Therapy and the Human-Dog Bond

Intimacy, Nature, and the Human-Dog

Intimacy–whether between two people or between person and dog– opens people up to new experiences, it connects people, and it helps people explore new aspects of themselves.

Many years ago, I experienced a magical moment watching a beaver build a dam in a small pond in the woods in Maine. Part of what made it so magical was that I had an intimate friend with whom to share the experience, a small dog named Gita who had been my inseparable companion for several years before and for many years after this experience.

In the ear of my mind I hear myself whispering to my usually noisy and very active companion, “shh, be still.” In the eye of my mind I see the two of us sitting at the edge of the woods, trying to be ever so quiet so as not to disturb the beaver. And i also see that the twitching of her little pink nose was in dramatic contrast to her otherwise statue-like stillness.

Sitting there, sharing those moments in the silence of the woods, everything –the sun peeking through the maple trees, the smell of the leaves underfoot, and the sight of the beavers sleek head just above the water–was in extraordinarily sharp focus. I was, as I had never been, completely in the moment.

Although this was so very long ago, the memory has remained bright. I’ve tried to recapture that feeling of immediacy, of being in the moment in nature, of silent communion. But, whether walking alone or with a human companion, the experience remained elusive until very recently. I’ll write about that in a bit.

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