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Saturday, January 18, 2020


  • It was a late Thursday morning in December, cold and icy outdoors.  As I sat in the dentist chair anxiously waiting for the doctor to start her examination, in walked Oliver, a gorgeous, black and white seventy pound Bernese mountain dog who obviously owned the room.  He was clearly coming in to hold space with me and comfortably arranged himself on the floor alongside (actually touching) my chair.  

    What seemed so amazing to me about this scenario was my immediate response to it.  It felt like Oliver had been prepped on my story and had come in to simply BE with me.  And it felt so good.  It felt better than that.  It felt wonderful.  Right away.  No introduction needed.

    This lovingly eccentric dentist was sharing her adored Bernese mountain dog and he was sharing his caring and compassion which were so palpable no words were needed.

    It was Comforting, surprisingly so.  And, in that moment, I wanted every dentist to have an Oliver.

    There is so much to appreciate here the delightful and generous life view of the dentist, the magical connection between her and Oliver, the compassionate aura and ambiance that travelled with Oliver and inhabited every square inch of his mountain dog persona.

    According to Wikipedia, Bernese mountain dogs have temperaments that are 
    intelligent, affectionate, loyal and faithful.  A great description of Oliver...a natural fit for his special assignment.

    As dog owners will most certainly tell you, dogs are man’s best friend, a fact supported by science writer Sedeer el-Showk who believes that humans and dogs have evolved together, co-opting “one another's social attachment systems to create a powerful interspecies bonding mechanism.” 

    But beyond this apparent scientific evolution, there seems to be an even greater spiritual element at its foundation Ultimately, the significance of my delightful encounter at the dentist’s office and the glory of the adorable Oliver is this...the presence of Compassion so profound it literally summons perception, response and appreciation and the accompanying sense of unconditional caring.

    As we move through our daily tasks and challenges may we all embrace the opportunity to give and receive the metaphorical Compassion of an Oliver in our lives.

                                                                        Marie Helena

    Image of a Bernese mountain dog from Pinterest

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