As I looked out my window one morning I saw two dogs I did not recognize crossing the street, and one was limping badly. I remarked to a friend that they looked lost, and he replied, "Well. if they need you they know where to find you." (I have a reputation as a needy animal magnet.)

A half hour later I opened my front door to find both of them on my porch.

The black dog allowed me to examine his sore foot, but did not respond to any overtures of friendship. Dusty, tired, and thin, he appeared to be suffering from depression as well as being footsore. I received a very clear message that they were lost and could not find their way back home. I offered them both food and water. They both drank some, but the black dog did not touch the food even though I could see his ribs beginning to show. Whatever his sorrow, it went deep, and I could feel my heartstrings twang again and a surge of desire to keep him safe and loved came over me, but I fought it down and went back in the house.

Later I saw that they had camped on the lawn of an elderly couple who were kind to animals. I talked with the couple and they shared that they had called the city to pick the dogs up. I went into alarm state, I knew what happened to dogs at this city pound. Something inside me just could not let that happen, especially to the black dog. Something about him exerted a pull I could not resist and I began figuring out how to integrate both dogs into my crowded household without mayhem ensuing, until I could find their old home or another new one.

Against my better judgement, I signed the papers designating myself responsible for the care of the two dogs. The kindly elderly couple offered their house for the dogs to stay at in the meantime, and I would come over to feed and walk them.

That night, I made friends with the coyote dog, but none of my approaches to the black dog elicited anything more than depressed resignation to whatever I did for him. Any attempt to communicate with him only yielded strong emotions of sorrow and loss. I told him that I would do all that I could to find his old home, but he did not respond.

The next morning a description of two lost dogs matching the two found appeared in the paper. Eagerly I called the number, and a young woman answered. When I explained who I was and why I was calling she was practically incoherent with joy. Apparently her husband had left her six months ago. Her three-year-old son and she were inconsolable over the loss of the two dogs, she told me that she felt that the black dog was all she had left to rely on for comfort. Their little family was poor, but loved the dogs dearly. Her mother had told her that "no one ever read the lost dog ads, and she would probably never see them again."

I hurried over to the elderly couple’s house to let them know the good news. Together we awaited the arrival of the small family. The black dog was still curled up in a sorrowful heap on the sofa, when the sound of an old engine in desperate need of repair was heard and both dogs jerked to attention. The black dog rushed to the front door followed by the coyote dog, and when the young mother came through it she had to kneel in the doorway as both dogs did their absolute best to smother her with kisses. And as she knelt I watched the black dog lick away her tears of joy and felt my own well up in my eyes.

And then it happened. While the coyote dog and the young woman continued to hug by the front door, the black dog broke away from the joyful reunion, and for the first time EVER, approached me. The black dog leaned hard against my leg and stood there looking up at me, and then he said, "THANK YOU." The words were so loud and clear that I responded automatically, OUT LOUD, "You’re welcome." And then I thought, "Oh my god, the neighbors are going to think I’m crazy." And maybe they already did because they never said a word about it. But I KNEW what I had heard.

And as I watched the small, but loving family drive away together, I thought that never in all my times of giving had I ever received so much joy from two small words.

©Rose De Dan, 2004. All rights reserved.

This article is excerpted from Rose De Dan’s book "Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism.” The events in this story took place in Worcester, Mass. several years before the author took any formal training in animal communication.

A video of this story, “Two Dogs, a story of compassion and animal communication,” as read by author Rose De Dan to her dog, Puma, is available on YouTube. Inspired by the Dalai Lama and his focus on compassionate living, the video lovingly portrays the miracles that can happen when you communicate from your heart.

Author's Bio: 

Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a longtime Reiki Master Teacher, animal healer/communicator, shamanic practitioner and author of Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki & Shamanism" In practice since 1996 and in partnership with her animal companions she teaches Reiki and shamanic classes in Seattle, WA and offers private consultations for both humans and animals. For individual sessions and phone consultations visit her website or call (206) 933-7877.