Today we had a reading with Patty Summers, an animal communicator. Patty was recommended by one of our friends who used her in the past to gain insight into her pets and animals she is fostering.
I’ve thought about doing this for a couple of years. I do believe that certain people have an ability to communicate beyond traditional methods. It was not skepticism that kept me from doing it, it was actually fear. Rocko is a very old dog, he will be 18 in just a couple weeks. My biggest fear was that I would find out he is in a lot of pain and has been hiding it from me. If that happened, I would not only feel like I have failed in taking care of him, I would also be hit with having to make a decision that I don’t want to make for a while longer.
My fears were laid to rest. My heart is happy at what I’ve learned.
First, let me say that between facebook, his blog and our website, Rocko’s life is an open book. Anyone who wants to know about him can find out with a few clicks. You, all of his fans, know a lot about him but it isn’t the same as being with him every day and knowing his personality as deeply as I do after all these years.
Now I will translate my scribbled notes and give you a recap of what I learned. I did elect to get a recording of the session so I will have it to review later, but here are the high points. My goal was to get insight into his general health and physical condition and I also had some specific questions I wanted answered.
To start, Patty introduced herself to Rocko (not on speaker phone, strictly through mental communication). She let him know that she was there to talk to him but she was not coming into the house. That’s pretty important because as you know, he hates everyone! Consistently throughout the reading when she was talking to him he would raise his head and look around, not in a scared way but more of a curious manner. And he smiled.
Patty confirmed some things I sensed about Rocko. I believe he does not know he is a dog when compared to other animals. He knows he is not a human, but does view himself as set apart from others of his kind. To him, we are partners. He acknowledged that he has been my anchor in the world. And he said I was silly. That’s very true, he is the one I laugh with and joke with. Our days are full of “how’s my bubby bub” and “hey punkin pie, what’s up?”. He said he likes the silly part.
Rocko is a stoic old guy. He told Patty he has trouble getting up, but after he stands for a minute he is ok. So very true. He tires easily. His kidneys are slow, something that happens with age. She recommended adding probiotics to his diet (we’re going to see if yogurt will work).
Since Rocko’s latest illness, I have been adding warm chicken broth to his dry food. This is something not many people know. Patty asked me if I put warm water in his food. She said he likes his food warm. This explains the recent change in his eating habits. He used to wander in and eat when he was hungry but now he turns down the food that is sitting in the bowl, I will start making it fresh as he is hungry.
I wanted definitive information on his eyesight and hearing. I know both are going but couldn’t tell how much.
Rocko has had cataracts for many years. His vet said he can’t drive at night any more. To him sometimes things appear blurry but the change has been so gradual he adjusted to it. The next part gave me an important answer to a big concern that I hadn’t voiced. Sometimes he has a problem with depth perception that will make him walk into a corner or into a wall. I’ve noticed this a number of times and I was afraid he had a stroke. Now that I know what it is, I can let it go without worrying so much.
The hearing issue was more complex. He can’t hear the doorbell any more and doesn’t always hear when someone knocks. It bothers him that he can’t keep on top of things that are going on outside like he used to. (Old family joke, Rocko would alert us of danger if a strange leaf fell in the yard.) In his mind, he feels he is failing me because he isn’t warning me about impending danger. Patty let him know that he has done his job well over the years and the world knows that he is on guard. That’s good enough.
My fear was that he would go deaf and think I had just stopped talking to him. Patty said that he knows I am talking to him even though he can’t hear much of it. Imagine stereotypical the old man sitting in his chair, reading the paper and as his wife is talking he is just nodding and saying yes dear. That’s Rocko. He nods and smiles, but he really doesn’t care that much about what I’m saying. Since most of it is silly anyway, he acknowledges me just enough to keep me happy.
He also sleeps sounder than he did when he was younger. I need to give him more time to orient when he wakes up. It would also help him if I massaged his back and hips as he is waking up in the morning to warm him up and help him get moving. Overall he is not in pain, his main issue is arthritis limiting his movement and primarily affecting his back end. I can deal with this.
Rocko also said that he misses hunting around the yard. In the last video I posted, you can see him sniffing in the leaves at Dr Boswell’s office. Patty suggested that he and I go into the yard with some biscuits and make a game of throwing out a couple to let him find them. Make it easy but fun. Another thing I can do to make his life happier.
Patty recommended some natural flower essences that I will look into. I’m going to check Green Hope Essences for their Run and Play essence and the Senior Citizen mix. There’s also a New Beginnings scent which leads to the next issue I wanted advice on.
Rocko hates for anything to change. Absolutely hates it. If I move furniture to vacuum he leaves the room. When I painted the walls a different color, he wouldn’t look at them for a week.
Now we are preparing for the biggest change we can make – we are looking for a new home. We have steps everywhere. Two flights of steps to get from the sidewalk to the front door. Steps to get down into the back yard. Steps to get from the yard into the garage. Every day we deal with steps down into the bedroom and back up in the morning. If he was 25 pounds I could carry him, but he is around 65 pounds and I just can’t lift him. Well, I can get him up into my arms if I have to but to try to navigate steps while carrying him would put our safety at risk.
I’ve made up a new word. Other people are down-sizing, I am flat-sizing. I am dreaming of a home where Rocko can move from room to room without dealing with steps. I want a back yard where I can put in a small ramp and he can just walk out the door. I want a garage for our biscuit operation that is close to the house so he can walk back and forth whenever he wants. (Side note: our garage has been converted into a commercial kitchen with ovens and the other equipment to make Rocko’s Rewards.) More and more he is staying inside while I work on the biscuits because it is so hard to get him back and forth. That is against everything I have built, my happy place is making biscuits with Rocko asleep at my feet. I feel bad leaving him inside, it seems so close but so far away for him.
Patty gave me pointers on how to make the transition. Sending Rocko mental images is very important. When I find our perfect home, I should picture him moving freely through the house and how happy we are going to be. She talked to him about the big change. He expressed that if I was happy, he was going to be happy.
Now for the hard part of the reading. I wanted to know if Rocko knew I was going to be ok when he had to leave me. Patty’s insight into this was very comforting.
Dogs do not look at death the same way people do. For them, it is just leaving the physical body. His spirit will stay with me. When Rocko came into my life, I felt safe. He was there to protect me. He was my anchor, my partner, my companion. He wanted me to know that he was proud of me, it was my own strength that overcame my fears and he wanted to reassure ME that I would be ok.
Rocko wants me to get another dog when he is gone. His spirit will guide me to the right one. On a funny note, my mother has wanted me to get another dog for years to make the transition easier for me. Patty did not know this, but she did say Rocko was really clear that he does not want another dog in the house while he is still here. I’ve said that it wouldn’t be fair, I was afraid that he would think I didn’t love him as much, but his answer is much simpler. This is HIS house and it will stay his house until his body leaves.
As we were wrapping up the reading, I thought of one more thing I wanted Patty’s help with – the camera! Rocko hates the camera. I thought maybe Patty could help with that. I asked her to explain to him that these were the memories I was going to be able to keep forever. I told her to tell him that there were a lot of people out there who loved him and they liked it when they could see his picture.
Throughout the reading, each time Patty was talking to Rocko he would raise his head and smile. This time he got his stubborn frown on his face and clenched his jaw. He did not like the idea of the camera at all. Patty did get a sense that Rocko may have been a Native American in a past life because he felt that when I took a picture I was taking something away from him.
Patty made some progress by explaining to him that he was my business partner and we needed the pictures for the business. He liked that idea and suggested a compromise. No more waiting with the camera and clicking away. I could take ONE picture at a time. That’s it. And I couldn’t make a big deal about it, just pick it up and click. No big fuss, no begging him to let me take his picture, just click and go on.
And even though Patty said I probably shouldn’t put this out there for everyone, I will anyway because it is so funny. Rocko said do you really think I care what all those other people think? I do not want my picture taken and I am not going to do it just to make them happy.
That is exactly the attitude I expected.
I feel a great sense of peace knowing that Rocko is happy and comfortable. He knows how much I love him and that he will be a part of my heart and soul forever, even when I don’t have his physical body with me. While I cherish every moment we have together, I know it isn’t going to last forever. I know I will be able to let go when that time does come.
Instead of taking a picture to include with this post, I’ll add our favorite video – The Perfect Picture. What happens when you want the perfect picture to put on a bag of dog biscuits but your dog hates the camera? Watch it and see!