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You can learn a lot from a dog.

Whenever Jem came for work at the Centre, Leera came. Everyone took to her right away, and she never doubted she belonged to us. “I know you love me,” defined her behavior, and we reciprocated. If a car was approaching from a distance she waited until it got closer, moved forward and sat until it reached her. Sure enough, the driver would slow-down, open the door, and she would come forward for pets and scratches. Her reaction to the environment was similar. Every acre was hers to explore, to breathe into, and to unearth.

When she stayed with Fred for the winter she decided, one day, to expand her territory running across the lake to a neighbor’s. She learned about boundaries that came in the form of a long leash prohibiting her movements, and definitely stopping her from crossing the lake. However, she never grasped the fact that some people would rather she remained on the Centre’s 250 acres. She still believed the world was hers, and the minute Fred unleashed her off she headed to the neighbor’s, complete in her belief.

After that, she was always secured unless someone was by her side. You would sometimes see the lease, but no Leera, until she appeared to remind you, that person across the lake may not feel he belongs to me, even though he does, but you and I we understand we belong to each other. And each person responded.

If she felt she had been left alone too long, she was not shy about reminding Fred, with a baleful look, that there were more meaningful life experiences than working on the roof.

Besides love, joy, enthusiasm, and one-pointedness, were attributes Leera possessed. She was the embodiment of these qualities when she was running, searching for something delectable in the snow, or tracking the movement of a singular squirrel at a bird feeder. Whatever she did was with commitment, and she could not be dissuaded into pursuing some other activity. One day she was running with Fred – that is she was running, he was driving the van, watching her motion. She stopped to greet someone walking down the road and having a walking companion shifted to poking her nose into the snow exploring scents. Nothing Fred did could induce her to run with him. She ignored his entreaties. In time, catching a scent that was particularly captivating, she pulled out of the snow a frozen mouse. Perhaps it seems unkind to make this a toy, but watching her toss it high in the air, immersed in play, content, one became enraptured by her rapture.

Focus, commitment, joy, enthusiasm, being in the moment, knowing I am loved are qualities Leera reminded us of. Life is knowledge displaying itself in diverse ways for our edification and enjoyment.

“One-pointed mind is joy and all those moments when you have been very happy, if you would have noticed what happiness is, it is the mind becoming one whole. It becomes so total, so much together; then you have experienced joy in life, peace in life, bliss in life.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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