Sydney, the Three-Legged Mindfulness Ambassador


I would like to introduce you to one of my greatest Mindfulness teachers.

Sydney lost one of his hind legs when he was perhaps 4 months old.  He was left overnight (tied to a post) in the parking lot of a local animal shelter with his left rear ankle missing and ligature marks just above the wound.  He was undernourished, and he had probably been tied up and entangled somewhere for so long that his entangled ankle became necrotic.  We’re not sure how it happened, but our vet thinks that he may have saved his own life by chewing off his own ankle.

The wonderful folks at the Richmond Animal Care and Control  secured funding and veterinary assistance through Helping Hands, and within hours, they were able to successfully amputate his leg and put him on a course of antibiotics that saved his life.

He was taken very good care of by the staffers at RACC during his recovery, until my partner rescued him less than a week later.  It took him a little while to recover, but in just a few weeks, he was playing, running, and, of course, jumping up onto the couch when he hadn’t been invited.

Despite all that this amazing dog has been through, he is the happiest entity I have ever known.  He can be tranquil and quiet for long stretches of time, qualities which make him an excellent meditation assistant.

He practices the art of balance better than anyone I know.

He takes good care of the temple of his body, eating healthy foods.

His expressive eyes share that he is absolutely present for every encounter that we have with him.

And, he never misses an opportunity to engage in life’s most meaningful pleasures.

He is happy wherever he goes, whatever he does, and with whomever he happens to be. He is confident, joyous, curious, loving, compassionate, and extraordinarily kind.

He is now fully healed, and he has a full life. He plays with other dogs almost every day, he goes hiking and camping with my partner, and he relaxes like a lapdog champ–all 70+ pounds of him.

I sometimes wonder what he must have gone through, and my imaginative empathy is carried away to events no one should have to imagine.  I have, on more than one occasion, filled with rage that anyone could do such a terrible thing to so beautiful a being.

But, Sydney himself reminds me that no pain is permanent, and that joy, love, and happiness can come from the most unlikely places.  He reminds me to have compassion for those who harm others, for they have surely been harmed themselves.  And, he reminds me that  Love is expressed in its highest possible resonance by Being Fully Present in the Moment.

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33 Comments

Filed under Animals, Mindfulness

33 responses to “Sydney, the Three-Legged Mindfulness Ambassador

  1. This reminds me of a koan:
    —A monk asked Joju “Does a dog have buddha-nature?” Joju replied “mu” (does not have, empty). So, does a dog have buddha-nature?—
    I think you have a fantastic response to that koan.

  2. Wow! This is an amazing story of survival. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love this so much. What a beautiful and touching story. And the puppy has such soulful eyes. Much love to you all, and thanks for sharing this wonderful story ♥

  4. I LOVE THIS POOPER DOG!!! Beyond adorable. My favorite animal post ever! 🙂

  5. Well that made me cry! Dogs are just the best teachers of all that is important in life. So happy to have found you, your gorgeous blog and beautiful soulful Sydney. Much love to you xx

  6. I actually read this last night and it left such an impression on me. What a beautiful story of a beautiful dog…Give Sydney an extra big hug from me will you?

  7. A wonderful story. Such mindlessness from the ones who abandoned it. We should be grateful for the ones who saved his life. What a wonderful friend to have around. I wish I had him by my side now.

  8. Love Sydney’s story! It’s amazing how very resilient a dog can be – coming back from unimaginable trauma to absolute trust and devotion. Both my dogs are rescues and my Freyja came from a puppy mill with so many fears (of sometimes such incongruous things) it breaks my heart to think what happened to her to cause them. As awful as it must have been for her, it also means her trust and love are even more meaningful gifts and I cherish that daily.

    Extra pats to Sydney,… he’s a beautiful boy!

    • “…it also means her trust and love are even more meaningful gifts…”–so aptly put!! Love to your dogs, too–it warms my heart to know they are now in a loving home amongst someone who cherishes them! Hugs to your pups, too!! And, thanks for reading. I’m a HUGE fan of your poetry

  9. My own 3-legged dog passed on not that long ago and I still miss her very much. They are amazing teachers. I am awed by their power to move forward with their lives and not dwell on setbacks or heartbreak. This is a lesson I myself am still working on. 🙂

    • I really understand and feel your loss– my deepest sympathies. Animals have a way of resonating at the depths of our soul-selves; they are magnificent friends and teachers. Peace and thanks so much for your comment.

  10. Such a touching and beautiful post. Sydney has much to teach us… and I have no doubt that your love and positive presence has nurtured him toward healing. May he be a light in your life eternally! RL

  11. Pingback: The Webb in the Egg | Zen Being

  12. Andrea

    I am extraordinarily moved by this post and by Sydney! He exudes positive energy just through his photos….I can imagine the joy and blessing it is to actually have the opportunity to be around him. Thank you so much for your insight and posting this awesome text!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you for reading and for your comments! Indeed, Sydney is a blessing to us. We have learned so much from him, and he brings such love, joy, and fun to our lives. He is about as positive a being as I’ve ever known!!!! Hugs!

  13. Tina Fields

    Hi! I found your blog because you found mine – thank you; well met. Here’s a lick for Sydney! I also wrote a piece on dogs’ dharma nature – “All Sentient Beings.” http://indigenize.wordpress.com/about/spiritual-ecopsychology/all-sentient-beings/

  14. I love this story, and agree that Sydney is indeed a beautiful spiritual teacher! Thanks for sharing it. From one dog-lover to another!

  15. Reblogged this on dreamprayact and commented:
    My wife Dallis and I met a woman at the local dog park, who had recently rescued a 3-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, whom she named Willow. She said something that spoke volumes about the joy of having a dog in one’s family: “When I’m having a bad day, I know that all I have to do is go home.” I can so relate!
    This is my first time to Reblog another blogger’s post (hope it works!). I was very touched by this story of Sydney, a gentle wounded teacher who lives fully present in each moment!
    May Sydney’s story bless you too.

  16. So very lovely. Pain does not remain. Oh, this photos and your words touched my heart. Thank you. 🙂

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