I had always looked at people with three dogs (or more) and thought they were nuts! Especially if they had three large dogs! "Too much commotion, one more dog than I have hands, not enough attention for each one…." On and on and on.

Alas, one of the downfalls of being a professional animal communicator is that you are able to clearly hear what your animals are telling you. And my two Golden Retriever gal pals were clearly telling me one night, "There’s another dog out there for us."

My not so embracing response was, "You’ve got to be kidding me!"

Having just completed several long years of caretaking of my Alzheimer’s afflicted mother, I was in no shape mentally, physically or logistically to even consider for a moment getting another dog. Never!

Of course, anyone familiar with the loving gaze of Golden Retriever eyes knows that I had little chance against four beautiful brown orbs telling me, "Really, there’s a dog for us and you need to take a look!"

I had been through this drill before [see my June 2006 Edge Life article "One Dog’s Roadmap to Her Forever Home"] so I dutifully made my way to the computer and the Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota website (www.RAGOM.org). If they were talking about another dog, we all knew it had to be a rescued Golden.

Both of my Golden girls were puppy mill rescues, so it made sense to look for a mill dog. They are also 9 years old, so getting a young dog was out of the question. I know that seniors are especially hard to place, so I focused on the 8 year old and above group. And there he was. A 9- (soon to be 10) year-old gentleman who had spent his entire life until last September in a puppy mill in Missouri.

My new love

My heart went out to him as I read his story. I couldn’t understand why he hadn’t been adopted yet. He seemed like such a mellow fellow. They had even named him Cooper because, "It was decided that an older gentleman of his demeanor should be given a true movie star name. We have decided there is no better representative of a gentile movie star than Gary Cooper – so Cooper it is."

This guy stole my heart at first glance, and it was on pins and needles that I waited to see if he had already been adopted and they simply hadn’t updated the website yet. Lucky us, nobody had snapped him up yet! Suddenly my edict against having three dogs was a distant memory.

Many people have asked me how I knew which dog was the right one, because the RAGOM website is replete with beautiful Golden (and not so Golden!) faces and stories to choose from. Oddly enough it was one of his pictures that drew my attention, because in that photo he looked exactly like one of my other dogs. She had also come from a Missouri mill. The thought crossed my mind that they could be long lost siblings! Imagine my surprise when we finally met Cooper and saw that he actually looks nothing like my other dog. (I think the Universe planted that photo so I would be drawn to Cooper in some type of bizarre, dog-human match-making scheme!)

A magical day

Ironically on the day we went to fetch him, the girls and I stopped at the Battle Creek off-leash park to stretch our legs before the drive. There was only one other person there, a woman with a Golden Retriever. My two girls went over to greet their "cousin" and the woman and I began to talk. Lo and behold, she was the former president of RAGOM and had been involved in the rescue of the puppy mill dogs last September in Missouri! She even remembered Cooper and was surprised that he hadn’t been adopted yet. (I assured her that he was waiting for me, of course.) It was wonderful to get first-hand information about him and his rescue.

Cooper was being fostered in La Crescent, Minn., which fortunately for us required a gorgeous drive down the Mississippi River Valley along the famous Highway 61 stretch. It was one of the first beautiful days of spring and a magical day of anticipation. The presence of faeries and the devic realm hidden among the bluffs and trees along our way was evident. They were guiding us to our new family member.

Robin, is that you?

From the first hug I felt a strange pull at my heart from this dog Cooper, who by now had renamed himself Mystic. (Most rescued animals appreciate having a new name when they find their forever home.) I can’t describe it, but there is a spot in my heart that is stimulated in a special way by Mystic that has only happened one time before – with my previous Golden mix, Robin. I started to notice other similarities, as well. Now I am certain that Robin’s soul made a deal with the soul that had previously been in Mystic’s body so that he could take over and come back to me. I had encountered this phenomena before in a few animal communication sessions for clients, but had not experienced it myself. I have no idea how this happens logistically, but am very pleased to have Robin back in my life again.

Happily ever after

My three pack of senior Goldens with their white "Kabuki" faces gets many looks when we are out and about. I also get a lot of comments about how calm and well behaved they are. When one woman found out I had recently adopted Mystic, she got a pained look on her face. With great sadness she asked, "How can you do it?" Even though I thought I knew what she was getting at, I feigned ignorance so she would explain it more. She said, "How can you do it when you have so little time left with him?"

I paused to think about how to answer her, and in the meantime she came up with the perfect answer herself: "I guess adopting an older dog helps us to do what we should be doing anyway – living life to it’s fullest every moment."

And that’s what my pack is doing as we live happily ever after with our new dog named Mystic.

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Lena Swanson is a professional animal communicator, psychic, shamanic healer, past life regression facilitator and Reiki master. She is known for her accuracy and wonderful rapport with both people and animals. Lena does phone consultations, teaches a variety of animal communication and shamanic journeying classes and is also available as a speaker for special events. She has spoken often at Edge Life Holistic Expos.

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