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Mr Bruce meets the ocean

At the end of a week where my husband spent six days in hospital – half of these expected, the other half not - we escaped to the beach for three nights, grabbing some normality before the next hospital admission. With us came Mr Bruce, the three-year-old rescue dog we adopted from the Lort Smith Animal Hospital a month ago. He’s an American Staff (AmStaff to the initiated); 30kg of pure muscle and boisterous affection. We are besotted with him, and the feeling appears to be mutual.

Because he hasn’t spent time with other dogs, however, when we are in town, we cannot let him off the lead, even in our local dog park. So, one of the main reasons for our beach mini-break was to liberate Mr Bruce from leads and collars and let him run wild and free on generous expanses of sand. We wanted to introduce Mr Bruce to the ocean.

The experience more than lived up to expectations. At first he was bemused - looking cautiously around – what is this – this wide expanse of gleaming dampness, this crashing water on one side, this high cliff on the other? He quickly got the hang of it, however, as we ran around, encouraging him to race from one of us to the other, picking up speed, exercising his mighty muscles, tearing happily after seagulls, plunging into the waves, leaping and cavorting, coming out and shaking the sea from his sleek coat.

Mr Bruce is an animal, mostly a content one, so he dwells in the moment in a way that even the most enlightened humans find difficult. I’ve recently read the spiritual best-seller ‘The Power of Now’ – a strange, esoteric, dense but compelling book.

I need to read it again to even begin to grasp it, but I think the essential point the author, Eckhart Tolle, is making is that we human beings spend so much energy fretting over past and future, when in reality, all we have is the present moment. He weaves quotes from all the major spiritual giants, most from Jesus of Nazareth, into his thesis.

Mindfulness is the flavour of the month (literally in May) with people of all religions and none touting its healing properties. Right now in my own life, the future is scary, as my husband is in the middle of heavy duty cancer treatment. My anxiety levels can sky rocket with very little effort and I am having a crash course in savouring moments whenever I can – moments of togetherness, beauty and contentment that are perfect in themselves.

Watching non-human creatures helps me do this. I am inspired by the birds fossicking in our garden beds and singing their little hearts out in the trees, the possums merrily scampering along the electricity lines in my street. Most of all, watching Mr Bruce meet the ocean was a lesson in utterly focussed and uncomplicated delight.

Published in The Melbourne Age on 23 July 2017

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Though never one for dogs (we get stereo barking here at home most nights), I appreciate the importance of Mr Bruce to the Boyd-Macrae family at the moment, in these times, in this year, in these daze. And I can apprciate how writing about Mr Bruce can be rewarding, difficult, cathartic. Take care.

July 26, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVin

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