The Trumpeter in the Woods
Chapter Six – A Dog With Arthritis (part two)

My studies in transpersonal psychology progressed in our monthly group meetings too. Through Caper and her arthritis, my soul purpose was emerging. Everyone tried to talk me into quitting my full time job to start a dog massage business. But I only had one weekly client, paying $30. Hardly enough to support myself! I found a couple more clients and I worked Saturdays doing dog massage, and every Sunday I volunteered a few hours in the local animal shelter to massage the homeless pets. I also contacted the local adult night school and began teaching classes for people to learn how to massage their own dogs. I was gaining experience that would prove valuable in the coming years. And I was fulfilling the guidance of the dolphin, communicating to people to help their animals.
Through the leader of the transpersonal study group, I was gaining more knowledge about Native American spirituality and my connection to the animals. He recommended two books for me: Animal Speak by Ted Andrews and The Vision by Tom Brown, Jr. Animal Speak explains Native American animal symbolism in great detail and is a wonderful reference for anyone who wants to learn more. The book provides the symbolic meaning for just about every animal. The Vision is the story of the author’s search for enlightenment by taking a “vision quest,” a Native American ritual. This book also helped me to better understand how animals can be our guides.

The more I studied animal symbolism, the more wolf showed his face to me. Wolf has many meanings to the Native Americans, depending on the individual tribe, but the one definition that spoke to me most is that wolf is a pathfinder. Wolf was speaking to me as yet another totem animal, showing up to help me find my path. Wolf and dog are often used interchangeably – dogs are thought to have evolved from wolves. Did the wolf arrive to show me that I would be working with dogs?

Content and title copyright Christine Palm Shaughness. No reproduction allowed.

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