I hadn’t gotten much sleep. Daytime appointments and engagements can be difficult when working a fulltime graveyard shift. Regardless, it was time for Uba, the sleek, slinky black Witch-cat that she is, to see the veterinarian. The ringworm she had on her skin was starting to spread, and it seemed the right time to make an appointment both for a checkup, and to get prescribed some medication to stop the fungus from spreading any further.
I woke up, washed my face, cleaned a fresh piercing with some saltwater, threw on some clothes and eyeliner, grabbed Uba, and was out the door. After a series of wrong turns—my brain wasn’t turned on just yet—I found my way to the veterinary clinic. My Priestess, my friends, and myself prefer this particular vet not only because she’s a knowledgeable middle-aged hippie (I’ve also heard that she’s Wiccan!), but because she rarely charges for animal checkups, shots, advice, and even medicine… a kind and kindred soul.
Cat and medicine in hand, I headed for the car and stuck both inside. “Great job, Uba Nabibi Mudada, you were so good for the doctor!” Just then, I noticed a dog behaving strangely outside of the clinic. A fellow with sunglasses, in his mid-30s, snubbed a cigarette and stood before the dog. I couldn’t hear what he was saying. The dog had short, brown fur and looked to be about 60 pounds. The dog’s head was slanted 90 degrees to the left, and his right eye was missing. He kept walking in circles, one after another, tongue hanging out over bits of missing hair. I was somewhat reassured by noticing that the dog was “all smiles,” so to speak; the doggie-grin he wore was ear-to-ear.
“Is he okay?” I walked up to the gentleman.
“No… no, he’s not.” I instantly sensed an overwhelming sorrow. “This is it.”
“What do you… oh…”
“Yep,” the man’s voice was trembling; his sadness couldn’t be contained, “it’s the end of the road. He lost his eye a while back, and he’s just disoriented and… he’s done for.” I instinctively placed my right hand on the man’s left shoulder and rubbed his back a bit. At that exact moment, I felt his pain. A very deep, soulful pain. I knew his mutt was a dear companion—there was Love there.
He started to weep a bit more, not trying as hard to hide the pain. I sensed that he was the type of fellow who usually hid his emotions—a sad reality for many men in American culture. Still, I sensed that he was the type to his pain simply because he didn’t wish to burden others with the emotion.
“Yeah,” I replied, “it’s hard. Really hard.” Tears swelled in both of my eyes. I had empathically absorbed a good portion of his misery—not because I consciously tried, but because I was there.”
“I just can’t be selfish anymore. I’ve been selfish too long. It’s time for him to go.”
“You took him here so he can leave?”
I removed my hand from his back, worried that he might feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, male-to-male touch is also a taboo in American culture, even though that particular taboo doesn’t exist for the majority of other cultures in the world. Either way, he didn’t seem to mind the touch, the conversation, or my unconventional appearance, and actually seemed to appreciate the support from a stranger.
“He’s happy, you know,” I told him, “very happy.”
“Yeah, he is. I know. He’s had a really good round.”
I replied, “He’s had a good incarnation; he’s happy, and now he can leave his body.”
He walked over to his dog, who had made a series of circles nearing the street traffic. The owner rerouted the mutt, whose drooling grin and tilted head hadn’t moved an inch, and the vet came outside to greet the dog and console the gentleman. I patted the dog on the back, sensing his happiness despite the obvious physical pain and delirium he was experiencing. Tears reached the labret piercing beneath my lower lip—a different type of cleansing saltwater than the kind I had used an hour earlier. I thought to myself for a second, “When humans are in pain, myself included, we so often get attached to the sensation and its accompanying fear. Animals just accept it and keep on going.”
“Have a good journey,” I told the beloved pet. The owner and the vet started talking intently, and they and the dog went inside the clinic. The man didn’t remove his shades.
I sat in the car and allowed myself to cry for at least five minutes, feeling the deep pain of loss the fellow was experiencing. For a time, I just sat with the emotion, letting it express itself through watering eyes and an expression of tragedy. After a few minutes, I realized that I had empathed much of his sorrow. I absorbed this heavy bit of it and had to figure out what to do with it. I felt so sorry for the fellow, wishing I could help him more.
“Okay,” I said to myself, “I absorbed this for a reason. I’m an Empath for a reason. Now I need to do something with this.” I first envisioned a soft, white light surrounding my face and head, quelling the tears and providing reassurance. To me, the white light represented a sort of “force from beyond,” a comfort from the Other Side. I allowed this to permeate my head and quickly wash over my body while I took a deep breath. I felt more composed—not due to emotional suppression, but due to constructive energy work—and visualized this same healing light going to the man and the mutt. I sensed that the dog didn’t need much of this energy; his emotions weren’t suffering. I visualized the owner surrounded in this soft light of acceptance and peace.
I sincerely smiled to myself, knowing that this bit of human comfort and compassion (a spiritual element severely missing in humanity), as well as this bit of magick, may have helped—even slightly—heal his pain.