My parents in law came to stay over Christmas and they brought their adorable seven year old Golden Retriever who is named Sasha. I have known her since she was a puppy and have seen her enjoy different places and spaces. It was such a shame that we had so much rain over the festive period as the garden was so muddy. However, it made me realise how combining gardening with the enjoyment of animals can be so smoothing to the psyche. Someone once said that dog is actually GOD spelt backwards :) for dogs can teach us so much about the power of the now, being present and unconditional love. They don't seem to stress about the future or dwell on the past.
I do not mean to refer to God as an external agency but more as a more subtle realm of consciousness where I access a sacred place that I may call my essence.
Dog walking also reminded me how social it can be as invariably you get chatting to other dog walkers as you wander around green spaces even in cold and sometimes impersonal big cities. The spontaneity and wonderment of discovery can be fun especially as Sasha is essentially a country dog with all the sniffs and smells of the city to uncover.
Being with dogs can be very grounding. Psychodynamic theory has contributed to the holistic and integrative psychotherapeutic practitioner some useful tools such as working with the transference, free association, dream analysis (‘the royal road to the unconscious’, Freud, 1905 p111), observing slips of the tongue, projective identification, projection and boundary (frame) management. However, being with dogs can inform you so much of where you are yourself in relation to unconditional love, patience and compassion.
This article explains the benefits of getting in touch with the elements in order to stay present. I believe that dogs can help us stay there.
See also Sasha in the Garden