Farley, Daisy and I live in the northern community of Whitehorse, Yukon, surrounded by some of the last untouched wilderness on earth. It is indescribably beautiful here. I came up here close to seven years ago as an ‘environmental refugee’. Always a big city girl, when environmental illness hit me hard I found that the options were to stay in an increasingly life-threatening situation, or take a chance on healing by moving somewhere clean. The requirements for healing were no industrial, urban, or farming poisons. Yikes! So here I am in the middle of nowhere. It was the right move and I’ve been healthy for a few years now…
During the difficult transitions that came with giving up all aspects of my life as I knew it, my two cats Daisy and Fern were my constants. Fern was my very special companion through my sick years, and died a few years ago from an aggressive form of cancer. I will always believe that her role was to help me heal, and her own sacrifice was to absorb the energy of illness by wrapping her comforting body around me at every opportunity. I wish I had a digital photo of her to share. She was a brown tabby, big-boned and built like a Mac truck. Her white and caramel tummy belied her nougat centre!
When Fern left me, Daisy and I were lonely. Northern culture is very much a dog culture, and so it followed that I would come to find Farley. I looked for nine months for just the right dog. I knew what I wanted and was willing to wait. Every time I went into the
would raise the roof with frantic barking. Each time I had to disappoint them. Sorry, no huskies, no big dogs, just a medium-sized gentle dog please…
The day I met Farley he had just come in to the shelter. He was a small dog, not on my list of criteria, but our eyes met and… I took him for a walk and he made me laugh so hard I knew he was mine! I had to leave him there for two more days. The day I went in to pick him up the dogs were dead quiet. I’m sure they knew I wasn’t there for them. I took
Farley out of his kennel and headed out the back door towards my truck. As we were half way across the parking lot the entire shelter went up in skin-tingling howling and barking. It was freaky! Were they saying goodbye to Farley or were they grieving for themselves?
Farley is my first-born dog, and I never knew that having a dog could be such a life-changing experience. He is everything I asked for, except for size, and it turns out that he actually is the perfect size! He, Daisy, and Fern have had much to teach me about love, and my life wouldn’t be the same without them. The Yukon wilderness has much to
teach me also. Never before I have been so connected to myself or the natural world, and I love so much about it. My illness has turned out to be a gift of healing.
Love your Musings, Susan. They often resonate with my own experiences of the wild. Thank you.—Kerry