A Magickal Touch with Pets
At the time of writing this, I’m currently on spring break and spending time with my sister and relatives (many of whom I haven’t seen in five years) in the Upper East Coast of the US. It’s been awhile since I’ve been out here, but my Grammy’s house still feels like home. But there’s always been something about her house, our family (both on Mom and Dad’s sides) and my life in general that’s really come to the forefront in the last couple days: pets.
I’ve only been a Witch for a few years now, but I’ve been around pets all my life. Some of my first memories are of my uncle’s first dog, Dillan, a wonderful male border collie. He and I were around the same age, year wise (dogs and cats age faster than humans) , so I guess you could say I basically grew up with him. Then there was Lita, Jazz and Zeer, the three cats my Grammy had for a long time. On Mom’s side, one of my uncles had a golden retriever named Sporty, already old when I first met him. Then came Skye, who my uncle and my then-new aunt got as a companion for Dillan. And their puppies. There were five in all, though my family kept two: Nellie, who belongs to my Grammy, and Burn, who stayed with my uncle and aunt (and her parents) .
When I was about 9 or so, my mom and dad got our first dog: a Portuguese water dog by the name of Georgie. I still remember the first night we had him home. The poor boy hadn’t had a fun time on his flight to us (he never liked planes) , and he came out of his crate scared and sopping wet at home. But it was love at first sight. We dried him up, gave him something to eat and lots of love and petting, and he cheered up. From then on, he was our “choochie.” Or “Chooch, ” as we nicknamed him later on. Sadly, Georgie didn’t live as long as we had hoped. Shortly after he turned five and a half, he began to get sick for the first time. By the time we figured out that it was heart cancer, it was already too late. Georgie was already in the terminal stages and, rather than let him suffer for a few for weeks before death, we gave him a tearful goodbye (even thinking of it now makes me cry) , and we had him euthanized. I was about 14 years old then, but I cried like a baby from losing my best friend.
Despite how much we missed Georgie, we couldn’t bear not having a dog in our lives. Mom noted how she couldn’t bear to wash Georgie’s old nose prints off the living room window. So, after enough mourning time had passed, we went to another breeder and got Annie, a border terrier who was very active in her youth. She loved us, and we loved her dearly, but she seemed lonely without another dog around. So we went back to the same breeder and got her little cousin Iggy as well. Love at first sight, once again. I remember I had just come back from camp and Mom met me and her parents (who had picked me up from camp) at a strip mall on my way home, and there was Iggy, the tiniest little thing I ever laid eyes on. He rode in my lap the entire way home. We’ve been best buds ever since (and he still hasn’t grown up) .
We still have both Iggy and Annie today, despite the fact that my sister and I are both in college and don’t come home too often (Sis lives too far away, and I love my college a lot) . They’re both getting older now. Annie just recently turned 8 and has had three different knee surgeries within the last couple years. You’d never know it if you met her, though: she’s recovered beautifully. And Iggy… I think he’s one of a couple exceptions to the “Dogs age faster than humans” concept. He’s not as small as he once was, but he still looks and acts like a puppy. By the time this is posted on the Witches’ Voice, he’ll be seven years old.
So why do I mention all these dogs and cats? Well, there are two strange stories that go along with this. One is something I figured out a while ago, the other is more recent (like, just happened in the last 48 hours recent, as I’m writing this) . Both of these happened after I came to Wicca and dedicated myself to Witchcraft. You see, as I watched Iggy grow up, I began to notice many of his behaviors mimicked that of our first dog, Georgie. He was especially close to Mom and me, as Georgie had been. He loved popcorn, jumping on the table (well, as close as he could come—border terriers are a lot smaller than Portuguese water dogs) and doing 180-degree jumps. Eventually I began thinking about reincarnation, especially in a Wiccan context.
I remember reading in one of my books that “cats reincarnate too” along with humans. So I thought, “Well, if cats can reincarnate, why can’t dogs?” Over time, I came to the conclusion that Iggy was Georgie’s reincarnation, not only because they were so similar but also enough time had passed between Georgie’s death and Iggy’s conception (Annie was either already in her mom’s tummy or newly born when we lost Georgie) . It seemed like too much of a coincidence. I guess Georgie loved us so much that he couldn’t bear to be away from us. Frankly, if this is the case, I’m glad he came back. My life wouldn’t be the same without him.
The other story literally happened as soon as Grammy and my step-grandpa (long story—she’s still good friends with my Granddad, and I didn’t even know they were divorced until I was nine) brought me back to their house, the same house I mentioned earlier. They still have Nellie, though the rest of her family has passed on to the Summerland. Dillan lived to be sixteen, Skye lived to be thirteen, and Burn lived to be eleven. Nellie’s currently twelve, and Grammy and Grandpa Bill wanted another dog to keep her company. So they brought home a rescue dog named Candy, a little shih tzu who’s now five years old. Now, according to Grammy, Candy’s not usually fond of strangers, and she and I had never met before. However, within the space of five minutes, we bonded. She’ll come for me, she snuggles next to me on the couch, and she lets me pet her. Grammy says I have “the touch” when it comes to animals, and that I’ve become her new best friend.
But it didn’t stop with Candy. My other aunt and uncle on Dad’s side (his sister and brother-in-law) also have a border collie named Daisy. I met Daisy a long time ago, and we got along okay, but it was clear she wanted space between us. I obliged her that. Now, she’s twelve years old as well, and dealing with arthritis, but still well loved by her mommy, daddy and their two children (my younger cousins) . And now Daisy let me pet her and talk to her. Then we went up to my uncle’s house, where we were celebrating another cousin’s (his son’s) birthday. After their dogs passed on to the Summerland, they adopted two cats and recently adopted another border collie—well, Border collie mix– named Maggie (I guess border collies are popular on my dad’s side) . Within five minutes, she was giving me little doggie kisses and following me everywhere. Again, Grammy said I had “the touch” when it came to animals.
Now, I’m still not sure how I feel about Grammy saying this about me. She still doesn’t know I practice Wicca, and this feels like it’s hitting pretty close to home for someone I haven’t told. Still, she might have a point. I’ve been starting to work a little more magick with pets—I remember performing a little color magick for Annie while she was recovering from her knee surgeries—and I try to treat them with as much love and respect as I can. And I’ve begun to pick up on some of the vibes they give off.
For one thing, despite Iggy’s cuteness and love for me, I’ve realized he doesn’t like getting a lot of baby talk. Annie’s the same way, and I can’t say I blame them too much. Some of my family’s other dogs seem to feel the same way. I know they do like it when I talk to them as if I were talking to another human being, despite my sister’s objections to this idea. After reading about faeries from Ellen Dugan’s books, I’ve figured out that, whenever we think Iggy’s barking at nothing, he might be barking at brownies or other fae in our neighbors’ yards. And I’m always able to pick up jealousy vibes from my dogs—if I play catch with Iggy while Annie’s in the same room and not otherwise engaged, she’ll bark angrily and steal the ball. My parents managed to pick up on this too after I mentioned it enough. Always got to remember to give them equal treatment, otherwise one gets jealous and then chaos ensues.
So is Grammy right? Do I have a touch with pets? Are they able to detect that I’m a Witch and maybe feel more comfortable around me? Or do they just sense that I love pets and treat them with love and respect? Maybe all of this is happening. I’m not completely sure myself. All I know is that, whatever this is, I’m glad to have this connection with pets. The God and Goddess have blessed me not only with a loving family, but with a long history of loving pets, perhaps even one that came back through reincarnation to be with us. I earnestly thank them for it, and wish that this connection would stay strong in the years to come.
And to all of you and your pets, canine or feline (or perhaps something completely different) , I wish you all a heart-felt Blessed Be.