The Boxer, The Pit Bull, and The Racehorse

                                    The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.
                                                                            ~Arabian Proverb

    For many of us, our connection to spirit can show itself in strange and mysterious ways, making us scratch our heads, connect the dots, and often leading to a spiritual “Aha!” moment that challenges our notions of how we perceive our own definitions of The Divine. Little did I know that in April 2004, The Divine would find me; and it would come disguised as a dog. 

    That year I was fortunate enough to be able to telecommute from home, which enabled me to take full advantage of the beautiful spring weather with daily walks to our neighborhood park. April 30th was no different, and as I set out from my house around noon, I eagerly looked forward to time away from my computer and a chance to get my blood going and enjoy the sun and the light, cool breeze of the day. The walk was uneventful until I reached the far side of the park where the trail circled around a small group of live oak trees. I usually just continued on this turn-around and looped back on the trail to return home. As I was coming within 15 feet or so of the turn-around, all seemed normal, except for 3 small squirrels that hurriedly scurried up the nearest tree. As I was coming into the turn-around, I soon heard the barking and growling of dogs. I looked up just in time to see two cow dogs running like bats out of hell directly towards me. They were so fast that I realized that I had no chance of getting away from them. A voice in my head just told me to freeze and to not run. I placed my feet close together, with no space between them, looked straight ahead, and held my hands and arms as high as possible. About that time the two dogs reached me, barking, growling, and sniffing at my feet. Standing across the street at one of the houses was a man with a “mullet” and wearing a yellow tank top. He was yelling at the dogs and attempting to call them back, stopping briefly to shout in my direction, “Don’t move!” After about half a minute, the dogs finally left and ran back to the man across the street. During this whole encounter, more than fear, I felt anger at the irresponsibility being displayed by the dogs owner, and the fact that he had not moved from his own spot to retrieve his aggressive dogs. As soon the owner secured the dogs, I headed back home where I sent a complaint to our neighborhood MUD board about residents and the problem of unrestrained pets. At the time, I was not only concerned about my own close call, but realized that if a small child had come down that section of the park at that day and time, the outcome could have been considerably worse. 

    The next day (Saturday) was the running of the Kentucky Derby. I have always loved horses and fell in love with watching horse races about 17 years ago when I had a chance to watch quarter horse races at the local racetrack, Manor Downs. In 2004, one of the horses entered in the Kentucky Derby was named Pollard’s Vision, a steed named after “Red” Pollard, the famous jockey that road the great Seabiscuit to victory back in the late 1930’s. The story of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard had touched me for a very long time, being a testament to spirit, hope, courage and the special relationship between horse and rider. One of the interesting things about Red Pollard was that he was blind in his right eye, a fact that cost him at least one race in which he rode Seabiscuit. In addition, he had earned a reputation as fighter, often earning extra cash as a boxer.  I discovered in reading the newspaper and listening to T.V. news stories about Pollard’s Vision, that the horse got his name because he was also, like Red Pollard, blind in his right eye, rather unusual for any racehorse. I decided early on that I would pull for Pollard’s Vision in the derby race, strictly for sentimental reasons. When the race was run late Saturday afternoon, Pollard’s Vision pulled away early and held on to the lead for quite a while, as I screamed my lungs out at the TV in our den, pulling for him to win. Alas, he was soon passed by several other horses and ended up losing the race. I was heart broken, cried a little, but then just let it go and didn’t give it another thought. It was just another horse race, and I felt rather silly about getting so caught up in an event that was, in the grand scheme of things, pretty insignificant.

    Sunday was another bright and beautiful day, so that morning I set out on another walk to the park. As I was approaching the area of the dog attack from Friday afternoon, I remember thinking about those two dogs and hoping that I never saw or encountered them ever again. Being a little wary, I noticed that the coast was clear ahead, and I continued on. Right after I rounded the trees and started back towards home, I suddenly became aware of something behind me. I turned around and just about jumped out of my skin when I spied a white dog coming up beside me; it was as if he had come out of nowhere!  The dog was a pit bull with no tags or collar, was very lean, and was white except for a few very small, dark spots, almost like freckles, around his muzzle. He did not appear aggressive, and continued to walk jauntily beside me, keeping pace as I walked. Once he jumped up for attention, but I ordered him to get down, which he did. I then noticed that his right eye appeared clouded over, possibly due to an injury or blindness. He paced me all the way to the other side of the school, turning in to the school parking lot and headed back in the opposite direction. Although nervous initially, I realized that he had never intended to harm me and I even felt, in some strange way, that he was protecting me.

 As I got a couple of blocks away from the dog, tears flowed from my eyes as I realized that I had been given a message that I was safe, not to worry anymore, and that someone was looking out for me.  Red Pollard had just thanked me for my support the day before during the Kentucky Derby!

    Never before, or since, have I encountered problems with dogs in our local park, and I came to a new appreciation of the seemingly small, insignificant events that tie together the various aspects of our lives. Everything that we experience has meaning, but we must take the time to feel and notice all that goes on in our personal lives and the world around us. We are part of a matrix or grid, connecting all and everything that exists, and we are never truly alone; and connecting to those people, things, and events that stir our feelings and emotions in a positive way is the key.

     The difference between mere “coincidence” and that of realization of The Divine Connection is simply one of perception, and we all are given opportunities every day in deciding how we choose to perceive our reality. We can be cynics and scoffers, or we can become entwined in the magic that surrounds us, allowing The Sacred to penetrate our souls and lead us to an unimaginably beautiful destiny of our own making, that of being co-creators in the Divine.

    In the story of Red Pollard, Seabiscuit, and the pit bull, metaphor is everything. All are symbols of love, loyalty, and strength of will beyond all odds. We must see beyond the literal, the facts, and what our normal senses perceive to get to the truth by how people, things, and events make us feel.

     For me, I finally understood, on a whole other level, the interconnectedness of my life to all others, as well as why dog is God spelled backwards.

   

Suggested Reading and Links

Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand

http://www.horseracinghalloffame.com/jockeys/1982/John_Red_Pollard.asp

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/seabiscuit/mammalsevents/m_pollard.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/seabiscuit/

http://geoffandwen.com/Blind/newsarticle.asp?u_id=2120

http://www.kentuckyderby.com/2004/derby_coverage/derby_entrants/pollards_vision/




 

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