It's just over 2 weeks since I returned from a fabulous road trip with one of our dogs, Django. We attended a Canine Flow Transformational Retreat in South West Wales. Usually after a break its a couple of days of feeling refreshed and then back to reality. The feelings I brought away from this break are still with me and get stronger by the day, hence I thought a little blog was in order.
I decided to do this retreat a few months back after seeing the inspirational Caroline Griffith speak at the end of the Natural Dog Expo. An event she organised as well as being the heart and soul behind Canine Flow. I have been aware of Caroline for some time, being an advocate for fresh feeding herself, a Nutritional Consultant for raw food companies and a lead voice in all things holistic. I however had quickly decided I couldnt do these retreats back then when I first saw them, with being a multi dog household, distance, yada yada yada. It just obviously wasnt meant to be. After the Natural Dog Expo, this year, I took another look and instantly knew I had to do this and Django, no question was the boy to come with me.
Not used to long drives these days, I opted to stop half way at a beautiful bed and breakfast. After an evening walk around the neighbouring park, we headed to our room. Django was finding it quite difficult to relax, missing his buddies? somewhere different? He did eventually, checking in a few times during the night though to see if everything was ok.
The next morning after breakfast we set off for the next stage of our trip. After about the half way stage I was on the look out for a place to stop. Too busy noticing the Red Kites in the sky and the beautiful scenery, we drove straight past the entrance to a cafe with a red kite viewing gallery, Doh! oh well, we'll keep looking. It didnt seem too long after this, a very smooth trip so far, we came over a hill and there in front was the sea, Cardigan Bay, beautiful!
This was to be our pitstop, only around half an hour from our destination but still worth it. We were going to land a little too early anyway. I was surprised at how many people wanted to stop and speak with Django (well he is darn handsome after all ) one gentleman in particular though, walking his old terrier (not so friendly) and an old boy, border collie, his friends dog who he was looking after while he was in hospital, stopped to say hi. The old collie was almost mesmerised by Django, so in the end I let Django go say hi. The boys had a few minutes chat, the gentleman went to move off, 'well you just made his day' talking of the old boy collie, of course, and off they went. Left me with a lovely warm feeling, such a little gesture yet it meant so much to someone. We also sampled sea salt blackberries! they were actaully very nice.
It was time to head off to our final destination for the next 5 days. Just a short 30 minute drive left. We were greeted with coffee and cake and met the first of our fellow retreaters. Django was beside himself with excitement! This however was to be his state for quite some time. Luckily what the retreat was about. The first evening we were sent off to do some one to one homework, to allow Django chance to ground and relax.
The following morning, after breakfast was the first of our meditations. Yes meditation with dogs is a thing and you'd be surprised how effective and beautiful it can be, with practice. Each day saw a transformation in Django and revealed things I hadnt noticed. We got to know each other more. I got to know me more!
The days were filled with woodland and beach walks, workshops, sharing time with fellow retreaters and eating fabuous food. It was soon time to say goodbye and head home again.
My amazing experience did not stop there. Each day I take time out with Django to sit, he loves it and he really does go into a peaceful relaxation, it is not just sleep. For me it is time to reflect, to reset, and to just breathe. My intention is to do this every day if I can. Im still working on that, life is so busy. do I really have the time, not really? Do I waste time, absolutely !! so I can find the time for this, its good for both of us.
When I planned to attend this retreat the idea was to learn something new to bring home to my dogs and the dogs that visit me. However a day or two after returning it dawned on me this was not just for the dogs but that I needed to bring this to their guardians too. Something has definitely changed!! Me wanting to teach, groups! Well just watch this space as this is something I do want to share with others, its too beautiful not to.
I have been around dogs all my life. My life changed when I decided to turn a passion for dogs into a career. I have never looked back except to see what the past has taught me.