Tears of Joy Flow from an Open Heart

I was with my father when I got the call – the call I’d been waiting for for the past 18 days!  Oh my, oh my.  Tears of joy flowed.  I couldn’t breathe between the words I was trying to get out.  All I could say, over and over again, was “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!”

“What, what, what???? oh my god, WHAT???!!!”  my dad yelled.

I put the nice woman on speaker phone, so my dad could hear, and so she could then hear the two of us exclaim together,

‘oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!!!!”  The woman must have thought we were crazy.

Connie, the caller and her boyfriend, found Dan Dan the Man Man on January 1st, lying in the middle of the street 1 1/2 miles away from our helper’s home.  They pulled up slowly, opened the door, and invited him into the car.  Danny happily jumped in.

Connie said he was shaking, but warmed up to them quickly.  They brought him home and before long, he was best friends with their two dogs.  They decided to name this black and white, short legged, ball of fur, ‘Yogi’, because they thought he looked like a little bear.  She said she would have looked for the owner sooner, but she admitted she was hoping Yogi didn’t belong to anyone.  Connie came down with the flu shortly after finding Yogi, and since Dirt Ball Danny, aka Daniel J. Dog, aka Danny Boy, aka Yogi, is so good at giving love, she found herself falling in love with this little guy.  It wasn’t until she was well enough to return to work that she felt the need to find his owner.  Clearly this dog is loved, and his owner must be missing him, she thought.

And that’s when she saw the online posters that Chris and I had posted.  Connie wanted to make sure I indeed was the owner, secretly hoping that I wasn’t.

“Tell me something about his teeth,”  she asked.

“well, they’re very crooked, and his lower teeth stick out,”  I said.

“yup. That’s right…  What does he do before you feed him?,”  she continued to probe.

“He sits. and then right before you put the bowl down, he twirls around in circles,”  I managed to squeak from deep within, remembering how sweet he is, and how much he loves to eat.    “And when he goes down stairs, he swings his rear legs to the right as if clicking his heels in pure joy,” I went on, as the memories of happy Danny and the Wizard of Oz and the Yellow Brick Road blended together.

“oh my gosh!  I think I DO have Danny!”  she exclaimed.

We arranged to meet in the Ralph’s parking lot.

Our reunion was pure bliss.  I buried my face into his fur, and he buried his nose into my chest.  And I cried giant tears of relief, disbelief, gratitude and joy, while his tail wagged vigorous swings of love.

I’ve learned so much over the past 18 days.  Don’t ever give up; there are so many beautiful people who care and want to help.  I’ve met the most wonderful people on this journey.  Thank goodness for the internet.

Everyone needs love.  So maybe Danny was meant to spread a little love this year.  He was a little blessing to Connie at the start of the new year.  And Connie was a little blessing in his and in mine.  He helped Connie get over the flu for a couple of weeks, and now he’s back sharing his love with me.

Perhaps the greatest lesson is never take love for granted.  It’s so easy to go about my day, never pausing to express my love for the people, and creatures, in my life.  From now on, no matter how busy I can get, I’m going to take the time to notice all the little things that makes someone precious and to express my love and gratitude.  It may be with a smile, a hug, a kiss, a phone call, a text – I’m going to use my words, and tell that person or dog, ‘I love you’.







Noisy love is bliss

I’ve been given the gift of caring for little Sony, my friend’s pup.  He’s a ten-year old black pug, with a white beard, a turned up nose, and big round expressive eyes.  He snorts and snores, and is such a beautiful reminder of Danny and how easy it is to spread love.  The timing of my friend’s trip was perfect, because I needed a little noisy love in my life.  There’s noisy love and there’s quiet love – a difference on the surface but all the same inside.

Danny was quiet love.  He rarely made a peep.  That’s why I called him my shadow.  He would follow me quietly, and I wouldn’t even know he was there, until I looked down.  sometimes he’d be behind me, sometimes he’d be on my right, or left, and sometimes in front.  But because he was so quiet, it was easy to just bop along and assume he was following.  He existed like he was simply an extension of me.

Sony is noisy love.  He is always making a noise.  He breathes with purpose.  And when he’s sleeping, his breathing turns into a deep rolling snore that sometimes sounds like an extended fart that has me laughing and giggling until I can’t stop.  I ALWAYS know where he is…Noisy love is the constant awareness and reminder that love is present – we are breathing it every moment of the day and night.

Whether it’s noisy love or quiet love, it’s all the same.  We all love differently on the surface, but it feels the same inside.  It’s a warm secure feeling of acceptance and gratitude.  It’s a feeling of give and take of constant, ‘thank you’s for being in my life.

Sony is helping me heal.  He’s reminding me that even though I don’t have Danny by my side, I have this noisy little pug, and I have you.  Some of you are quiet, and others noisy, and lots in between in the way you express your love.  I have so many people and creatures who I’m grateful for, and who are grateful for me.  and that’s love. pure and simple.


Lesson #6 from Zen Master Danny

It’s been a week without a word from Danny.  Yesterday was the first day I didn’t cry when spoken to.  I’m making progress.   And I guess that was one of the lessons Danny taught me.  Life isn’t about fulfilling all my expectations, and having life be just so.  It’s about the mystery, the awe, and the unpredictable.  If I step into the universe of the unknown, then everything is a miracle.  I can pause and sniff a bush, the way Danny often would, and I can be moved by its smell, its details, its simplicity and complexities.  I can stop and experience the miracle.

Lesson #6 from Zen Master Danny:  Pause. Take it in slowly, the way you would a nice hot cup of tea.  Don’t miss what is right before you.  Look around and take it all in, with ALL your senses.  And when you do, you will be in AWE of it all.   And when you practice this over and over again, you realize you’re in the deepest place of peace, and that is simply pure gratitude.  You stop wanting to control the world, and you stop complaining about things not being the way you want them to be, you stop demanding life to meet your expectations.  You suddenly find your eyes wide open to all the beauty before you.

Lesson #5 from Zen Master Danny

Patience and Glee.  He lived in the moment and could wait for me for hours if he had to.  And when I returned there would be such joy and glee it was almost unbearable.  But that’s the way we all need to be.  Loving the moment, and never taking anyone for granted.

So when I see someone I haven’t seen in a long time, or even in a short time, I’m not going to be afraid to share my glee!  Even if it means smothering her with kisses and hugs, that person is going to know I’m happy to see her!

Lesson #5 from Zen Master Danny – Go ahead and WAG YOUR TAIL!!!  BARK YOUR JOY!  and EXPRESS YOUR GLEE!  Don’t worry about what others may think, it’s YOUR LIFE! GO AHEAD and TELL THE WORLD YOU LOVE ‘EM!!!!  EVERYDAY, EVERY MOMENT…



Lesson #4 from Zen Master Danny

Today I went to walk the neighborhood where my friend lost Danny, and for the first time I had a physical pain in my gut, opposite of the light in my heart.  I stopped at a crossing where a man sat with his cardboard sign, and next to him was a little dog in a cardboard box.  After wishing the man a good day and giving him some food, I turned back to see him giving the food to his dog and patting him the pup on the head.

My cries deepened as I experienced both sadness and hope.  I knew it may be awhile before I see Danny again, and for this I was sad.  But I also knew that Danny was being loved.  For Danny would be happy in a cardboard box so long as there was a person standing nearby.  That’s all he ever wanted…to be near a person who loved him.

Lesson #4  from Zen Master Danny.  He was happy and content wherever he was.  It didn’t matter if it was the Ritz, or the dumps.  He was happy as long he was next to a person who cared.  I remember gardening with Danny (he loved to help me, mostly because he loved getting dirty).  I had all my plants lined up ready to put into the earth, and I looked over – Danny had his head on top of the low plants, and had fallen asleep in the most awkward position with his nose nuzzled into the dirt and his ears draped over the pots.  It may have been super uncomfortable, but at least he was near me, and that’s all that mattered to him.

It’s not about the place, it’s about the people, and it’s about how he connected.  Danny loved life and he loved being near people.  He just wanted to bring joy into others’ lives because he has so much joy inside that he wanted to share.

Connect with your joy within, and share it with anyone and everyone.  That was Danny.


Lesson #3 from Zen Master Danny

Love spreads.  Danny loved to connect.  He just did.  It was his nature.  And the more he loved, the more people he touched.  He could put his head on your foot, and you would feel the instant immediate love.  He never asked for anything.  Love doesn’t demand, it simply grows and spreads, and feels so good.

Lesson #3.  Touch someone today.  Anyone.  It doesn’t have to be someone you know or someone you want something from, just touch someone.  It can be with your smile, or your laugh.  It can be with a touch of your hand, or a warm embrace.  Make someone’s day.  Share your joy like there is no tomorrow.

Be Danny for a day.

Lesson #2 from Zen Master Dan Dan the Man Man

I spent yesterday talking to local vets and animal shelters, and I must say, every single person I spoke to was the most caring, loving individual.  I’m not surprised.  People who work with animals choose to because they love critters, and people who love critters are the most spiritual, loving people I know.  Angels on earth.

My reflections and tears continue.  Danny is being loved, I know this because you can’t help but love this little guy.  He is simply LOVE, pure and abundant love.  And love doesn’t ask, demand, complain or require.  If not on my lap, Danny loved to sit at my feet with his head on my shoe.  And if we were visiting my mom, he would sit under her wheelchair with his head on the rear wheel or sometimes he would put his nose up against her footrest.  It was his way of connecting, kinda like holding your hand or rubbing your back.  He loved to visit seniors and listen to their many stories.  He loved to sit with the disabled children I teach and listen to them attempt to speak.  He was the most patient, loving listener ever.  He could hear everything, even if you couldn’t, he could.

I remember a salesperson coming to the house to sell me an air conditioner that I didn’t need.  The man was a talker and didn’t want to hear me tell him I didn’t need a unit. The gentleman had his briefcase next to the table.  Within minutes of the start of the meeting, Danny was IN his briefcase, curled up as small as he could muster himself.  Every person who encountered this sweet creature felt special.  Every person felt that s/he was the one and only one who Danny loved…he had that affect on people.  The man left smiling, without selling me an air conditioner and wanting to take Danny with him.

Lesson #2 from zen master Danny – We are here on this earth to connect with one another, even the ones we don’t know.  Take the time to listen with your heart, connect with your eyes, ears, nose, tongue and reach out and touch with your hands, or any part of your body.  Hug the way Danny would with the touch of his wet nose, his crooked teeth, his furry paw, and his snuggly head.  Hug, hug, hug and listen from the heart, where there is no judgement, no comparison or complaints, just gratitude and compassion.