The Making of a Medicine Dog

Some animals, just as some people, have a natural born healing quality about them. They make others feel better physically, emotionally and psychologically. They are carriers of healing medicine or power. Some of course hone this ability and develop it.  Even some animals develop their ability to give healing energy to others.

Most of us know stories of animals that took on ailments or mirrored afflictions of their human companions.  This is fairly common. Some animals will “take” something from their human and release the human from it, actually sacrificing themselves in the process.

My beloved Silky, a rat terrier is one of these healer or “medicine” dogs. It was love at first sight for both of us. I didn’t know that I was bringing home a dog bearing medicine for me. Nevertheless, something in me knew immediately that this five month old dog was priceless. This story is about the healing medicine that was unknown to me at the time I brought Silky home.

Since I was a girl of ten years old and began to menstruate, I had pain, pain that increased over the years. Each Month Silky would “nurse” me through the days and nights of agony, comforting me by laying on me like a hot water bottle. She gave up many days of play and many hours of her doggie life to nurture me and give me her energy.

Several times I was in such pain I was going in and out of consciousness and Silky would bring me back with kisses and nudges, keeping me present.

If I had the flu, she was there all day in bed with me, getting up only to pee and return to me. Month after month she was so reliable, snuggling up close to radiate healing energy when that was what I needed.  At other times, Silky would sit close by, still as a statue focusing her attention fully on me. I could feel the presence of The Buddha embodied in her stillness, her attention on me fully.  For fifteen years Silky helped me endure my monthly cycles of body torment.

Silky remained my personal nurse through three house moves, my husband getting deathly ill and the loss of Silky’s rat terrier companion Sparky.  She always knew when I was in pain no matter where I was or what was going on and would attend to me.  I could feel her loving me and giving me energy each time, exactly the way I would feel it if a person were doing an energy healing treatment on me. It was like having my own personal energy master on call.

When Silky was fourteen years old we brought home a tiny six week old rat terrier puppy that we rescued.  We named him Rusty.  One of Rusty’s nick names is “busy pants” because he is a busy terrier.  When I went into my pain cycles each Month Rusty demonstrated a great desire to help but he lacked the knowledge and patience. When I would go to the floor to roll, he would get very interested and you could tell he so wanted to assist but he was so busy, like most puppies. His energy was annoying and uncomfortable to me so I would tell him “no”. I felt as though he were more in my way than an aid.

At that time I began to grieve the apparent loss of my medicine dog Silky, who had begun to back away from me when I needed her. I was unhappy that my Silky was not laying against me as she always had. I felt sad and I didn’t understand. She instead began to sit across from me or she would lay near by not right against me as she always had. Rusty wanted to do “it” whatever “it” was.  You could see and feel that he was wanting to learn how to do or give something needed, but he did not know what or how.

After a couple of month’s of this & I began observing Rusty coming to me and sitting as close as I would allow as I lay on the floor. He would look at Silky while doing so.  Silky was teaching him. I do not know specifically what or how she taught him. Nevertheless, she obviously was. She left my side to give Rusty space to gradually take her spot next to me. She always remained close and focused on both Rusty and me.

Within a few Months he learned to be still, calm and quiet next to me in those pain bouts. He became such a comfort that within a year he could lay on top of me during those periods and give me what felt like a healing “treatment”.

I didn’t like that my nurse was leaving her post, yet it was clear that she was aging and the little guy had many years ahead of him so she was training her “replacement”.

Since then I had surgery and the monthly pain is over so no one was required to nurse me every month. Silky seventeen and Rusty three, slept every night in bed with me at either side of my head. Whatever energy or messages that were exchanged between them no doubt benefited me.

Silky taught Rusty to do what she had always done. She came by her medicine dog abilities naturally and she passed on her knowing to a willing and eager apprentice.

Once my need for care ended, medicine dog Rusty switched his attention to his elderly sister Silky. Being my Velcro dog, Silky’s habit of following me everywhere became a hazard for her during the last two years of her life. She by this time had lost most of her eyesight and was at times, unstable walking either up or down the staircase from our living room to the second floor. Rusty witnessed her falling a few times and intuited what to do to keep her safe. He and I cooperated thus: I would scamper up the stairs before Silky realized that she was separated from me. Before she began to pursue me Rusty circled her and nudged her away from the stairs. If I was on the second floor heeding down, Rusty would body-block her from following me. Though I saw this over and over it awed me each time.

When Silky passed in January of 2014, Rusty grieved the loss of both Silky and his primary jobs as caretaker.  Rusty —   A second generation medicine dog! We’ll be researching a therapy dog training program for Rusty this year.




Rusty and Jacquelyne