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The Wilderness Spot

by Jocelyn Joy Thomas 6 days ago in dog

Moments suspended in time

Jocelyn Joy Thomas

I once had a dog named Juneau. He was a husky malamute mix, he was opinionated, endlessly energetic, a great conversationalist and he was my best friend. Many, many days Juneau and I went out to wander, walking through the different neighborhoods we would live in the fifteen years we shared together. One of our favorite places to go was a place I called the wilderness spot.

When Juneau was young, we lived in the suburbs. For a city girl, I loved the slower pace, and it finally meant I could get a dog, a lifelong dream. We had a large backyard, and close by there was a wonderful neighborhood park with long walking trails. Juneau and I would walk the kids to school and then take the long way home through the park. I loved a particular oak tree, large and wise-looking. I’d always stop in front of it and put my hand against its bark, I called him Father Oak. Juneau would be impatient wanting to go he was always reminding me that there were things to do and places to see.

Every day after school we would return to the school to pick up the kids, and their classmates would mob around Juneau petting him. “He looks like Demon in Snow Dogs.” Some kid would always say. Juneau loved the attention and I loved that he made the kids happy. The bond that humans share with dogs is one of the most special and sacred of all. Juneau knew those kids wanted a little piece of him, to touch him, or walk along with him, and he was always happy to give this to them.

Those days were pleasant but eventually, we moved to a place with much more nature. The mountains. We lived near a large lake in Northern California. Here Juneau and I could wander properly. We could walk through residential neighborhoods, parks, and wooded areas that led to hills and mountains. Mainly we stayed in the flatter areas but we would walk along trails and find animals, plants, and nature in a way we never had before.

We went on car rides, Juneau with his head out of the window to view the more rural areas of our new town. Juneau loved to see cows, horses, and the occasional donkey. I’d often park the car and start walking with him. It wasn’t unusual to look up in the sky and see a golden eagle or a turkey vulture. Down on the ground, we often spotted wild turkey, peacocks, rabbits, and deer. Juneau and I were discovering an entirely different world.

As much as I loved our excursions out and about one place was my absolute favorite, and I think Juneau’s too. Just on the edge of our property was a thick cluster of woods. I set a little bench out right on this edge. Our home was perched atop a hill, and the woods wrapped around half of it. If you sat on the bench looking out toward the woods, you could easily forget you were around any houses or people. In the day there were birds chirping and squirrels busily working away. At night, the sound of crickets filled your ears and if you looked up at the clear night sky, it was filled with stars, occasionally we would see a falling star. It was in a word, magical.

Most days at some point Juneau and I would make it out to the wilderness spot, even if we had been out wandering. It was where we meditated, relaxed, and let go of the outside world. We enjoyed the sights, smells, and sounds together, witnessing the grandeur that is nature all around us.

When the time came to move, it was this spot I would miss the most. We didn’t move far, only across the small town, and I would often drive with Juneau back to the neighborhood. We would get out of the car and walk around in the woods, we couldn’t go to our old spot exactly but we were in the same woods. He loved the bonus car ride too.

I don’t really think it was the places we went to so much or even the sights we saw. It was more about being together. We had a natural bond, I so enjoyed spending time one on one with him. I felt he did with me as well. Sometimes, when we were in the wilderness spot I'd sit right next to him on the ground and put my arm around him. We would sit and look out at the woods together, it’s one of the happiest memories of my entire life.

Juneau forever changed me into a more compassionate, appreciative, and nature-loving person. So go the soft pawprints on the heart of every person who has shared their life with a dog.


Jocelyn Joy Thomas

Writer, spiritual development teacher and travel enthusiast. Enjoying the journey!

Read next: All My Kittens

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