When the student is ready, the teacher arrives. So said the ancients, and so said Harry, the seemingly unredeemable street dog who eventually transformed into a bodhisattva (one who vows to help others before entering enlightenment). He had wiry brindled fur, a beard like an Asian sage and highly intelligentual topaz-colored eyes. He had no name, just a number on the yellow card of his Humane Society cell, but I was enchanted. He wouldn't drink water from a bowl; a muddy oil-soaked puddle was more to his taste. Harry was truly a wild dog.
When Harry began obedience training, he resisted the mind-numbing commands with every ounce of his soul. It wasn't until my disheartened dog trainer introduced me to a canine aggression expert that Harry and I discovered a different way to engage Harry. In time, Harry's eyes grew soft and he took on a countenance similar to the Dalai Lama. He was calm, centered and exuded a sense of worldly wisdom and other-worldly perception.
The moment that most conveyed the change in Harry was when a client (I am a psychotherapist) was crying and Harry went to her and lifted a paw, then put his head in her lap. From that day on, Harry always responded to the needs of others. He once found a baby bird that had fallen from the nest and whimpered and pawed his foot in the brush until I came over and noticed it. He wouldn't leave until I had found a child to climb the tree and replace the bird.
When Harry walked, people stopped to comment on how extraordinary he looked. "What breed is he?" I could tell they expected some exotic hunting dog breed. Other people would say, "I know that breed! He is a Hunting Griffon, a Lurcher, an Italian Spimoni, a...." Harry was one of a kind. When Harry recently died, he received notes from fans as far away as Israel, England and Thailand.
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