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When our children grow up and leave home to raise families of their own, and the past becomes a memory of things we are no more, we are faced with inventing a new future. This is the moment when we are finally free to make choices outside the powerful tug of expectation, ambition, and struggle. We have reached what I call the age of reason. Now we can choose to live not for others, but for ourselves, and we can take time to explore a life of inner knowledge for which we were always too busy.
For me the chaos of city life, heightened by the fear of terrorism and the culture of technology that forced me to remember codes and numbers to access even my own personal information, further pushed me to reevaluate what life should be about. I realized I was inundated by information and misinformation from our leadership and the media -- and that it was slowly eroding my spirit. I was falling out of touch with my own inner truth. These realizations were slow in coming, but the important thing is that they finally did arrive.
So several years ago I decided to make my year-round home on an 8,000-acre Spanish land grant that used to be an old cattle ranch just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's a peaceful place, and sometimes deafeningly silent, with ancient energies that communicate to me in nameless ways. I live there with people who take care of me, and friends who come and stay, as well as nine dogs, three horses, ducks, platoons of birds, a pond, streams, deer, elk, bears, mountain lions, coyotes, and a host of spectacular plant life. But the most important being on the ranch is my little dog, Terry.
I "acquired" Terry in Malibu, California, where I lived for fifty years and still keep a place for meetings. She and I grew closer and closer during the few years it took me to distance myself from Malibu, with its easy access to the movie business, and to shift my life to the high desert wilderness. But as with all events that are life-changing, I woke up one morning and knew in my soul that the city part of my life was over. I was moving on to a new adventure that would lead me to realize that perhaps Terry had acquired me.
This book is about hearing a deeper song of being that has made me more optimistic about what the future of life on this planet could be. It is based on the truth as I see it, and as it has been shown to me through the eyes of a dog. More to the point, I'm having a new experience with love. I have deeply enjoyed the love of children, friends, lovers, a husband, work, creativity, fame, travel, success, money, politics, controversy, and even struggle. But the love that has come to me through Terry is an exultant confirmation that love exists in many realities and forms, all of them longing to be acknowledged through wisdom, humor, simplicity, silence, and the wordless language of the heart.
Here is an account of what Terry is teaching me, now that I am taking time to listen. Her thoughts as they come to me are not articulated in English, but in a purer, more direct form, in a language I call "humanimal." I know that I am touching deeper truths because of the knowledge Terry shares with me, so I've set down those insights into words here, in hopes that you may benefit from them as well.
This book, then, is a rumination, a conversation between Terry and me. Those of you who have an animal and live in close proximity to nature will understand immediately. If you haven't allowed an animal or nature to "acquire" you, the journey through yourself will take a little longer. Either way, this journey is the only one worth taking.
The answers we seek are ours to create.
Copyright © 2003 by Shirley MacLaine
Posted August 15, 2009
A slightly different approach to understanding our relationships with our pets, very clever. A reporting of experiences that can enrich our lives and touch deep within us on an often overlooked subject, Gods special angels who serve and protect. It has been said,(not by the author), that animals incarnate only one time and their only purpose is to love, protect, and provide companionship. Out On a Leash gives insights on how we connect and care for our pets for the short time that they are here. There are also some interesting historical facts about our relationship with our pets since the beginning of recorded time. A very fun read.
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Posted October 12, 2003
When this reviewer first read the topic of unconditional love between a human and a canine, I had two thoughts: First what a bonehead topic that I refuse to gnaw on it. Second, a few days later I was thinking of something my husband jokingly said that my significant other was my now deceased dog Max. Shirley MacLaine points out that she has found may different types of love with her children, her friends, her spouse, her work, and even politics. However, perhaps the most perfect love she has discovered is that which she shares with her four legged pal Terry. Outside of chow, Terry asks little in return as she offers endless love with no demanding return on emotional investment. <P> Ms. MacLaine insists that she and Terry once lived in ancient Egypt and now they are together again with Terry serving as her spiritual guide through the potential end days because endless love is what it is all about. Thus at times over the edge, canine lovers will appreciate this interesting soul baring account on what is love told from two perspectives, that of the author and by Terry. Clearly written for the canine crowd (owners not pets) this is an interesting take on relationships. Though Terry¿s account of his beloved¿s lifestyle is obviously a mirror of Ms. MacLaine¿s biological looking glass, those who comprehend how a canine can be a significant other will appreciate this deep look into what ultimately is a truth.<P> Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.