O heart weighed down by so many wings.—Joseph Hutchinson
I didn’t choose my dog or his name. The Universe sent him and he chose his name.
It went something like this. I was preparing to move to Portland, Oregon; preparing to leave my life in California behind and embrace a new adventure. I felt both excited and anxious. I was leaving friends, a familiar landscape, favorite places—my garden, chickens and Elizabeth’s dogs. Elizabeth and I did not date long, but we stayed close friends and I had continued to share her dogs over the past two-plus years. They’d become my lifeline during a difficult period, providing routine and companionship I greatly valued. I decided that once I settled in Portland, I would like to get a dog of my own. Proactively searching for a dog didn’t feel right, and I set as my intention that my dog would find me when it was time.
Without either of us saying a word to one another, Elizabeth set her own intention. Knowing I would miss her dogs, and knowing I would wait for the Universe to send me mine, she said her own prayer to be the one that found my dog.
Two weeks passed and I get a call. “I have a puppy with your name on it.” My response: I don’t think so. I figured it was going to be hard enough to rent a nice home with two cats in tow, the last thing I needed was a puppy before I’d found a home. She said she’d found him shaking and scared in the middle of a busy double lane road and that he looked like a Jack Russell or Rat Terrier. In that case, definitely not. I didn’t have time to train a puppy and from what I knew of the breed, they should be called terrorists not terriers. There was also the question of whether he was actually abandoned or just lost.
Elizabeth was scheduled to bring me her dogs that afternoon to keep for the night, and with them came the puppy. I agreed that he was cute—okay, adorable—but still insisted that he wasn’t mine. I assured her that if she turned him in, someone would adopt him. In the meantime, from the moment he popped out of her jeep, he zeroed in on me. I lived on a big property, there was plenty to distract and entertain a puppy—other dogs, chickens, cats—but ignoring everything, he chose instead to track my every move.
When it came time to for Elizabeth to leave, I kept her dogs and she left with the puppy. Moments after she drove away I began to question if it wasn’t bad karma to ask for something and then refuse it when it appeared because it wasn’t what I expected, when I expected it. I called and told her not to turn him in, I would sleep on it. The next thing I knew, she was back in my driveway trading me the puppy for her dogs. Sleeping on it would mean sleeping with him, which of course would mean keeping him.
He wasn’t chipped and he wasn’t claimed. He wasn’t a terrorist either—enthusiastic but not wild. He was definitely mine and meant for me. The poem at the top of this post was hanging on my refrigerator at the time, and as I began to contemplate names, Artichoke was the only word that ran through my head. “Come on, I can’t name a dog Artichoke, give me something else.” No reply. Later, I would realize that he named himself and appropriately—a poetic dog with a big heart, he flies like he has wings.