As appearing in the November 18, 2008 The Norman Transcript …
The Tibetan Dog Reincarnation
In Tibetan lore each Lama (like the Dali) has a Temple dog. When a Lama dies it is believed that he is reincarnated as another Temple dog. Thus he would serve two lifetimes of strict adherence to ritual worship, chanting, meditating, sacrifice, no tv, no dessert and no squeaky bone toy.
Sid saw Buster abandoned on the highway. At first she thought he was a porcupine. Covered with burrs, leaves and sticks, his hair matted in dreadlocks, he was a pitiful sight, but… he was a dog.
She pulled over, opened the door and picked up Buster. It was a hot Saturday afternoon in southern Pennsylvania. Sid drove back to the State Police Barracks and asked the location of the Humane Society.
“Don’t have one in Fulton County,” said the policeman.
“A dog catcher?” she asked.
“I saw his wife at the grocery store. He’s gone for the weekend. Be back Tuesday,” replied the officer cheerfully.
“Is there someplace I could ask about a lost dog report? Like a radio station or newspaper?”
“Nope. But you could take him to the pound in Adams County. Just don’t tell them you’re from Fulton County or they won’t take him.”
He gave Sid a pair of plastic handcuffs so she could take Buster out to pee. Bent at the waist, grasping the stiff handcuff leash she looked like a beachcomber dusting the lawn with a giant hairball.
At a strip mall in Chambersburg she bought a leash, harness, crate and dog food. This was how she arrived at her destination, the house of a friend who promptly said, “You can’t leave it here.” She put him in his crate, from which he escaped three times, the last of which was from the crate; duct-taped, bungee-corded, locked and put in the garage… in 15 minutes. Houdini couldn’t have done it better. They all agreed that Buster had adopted Sid.
Later at the dog wash, the attendant recognized the flea-bitten, moth ridden, canine flannel rag mop as a Lhasa Apso, a revered Tibetan Temple Guard Dog. Trying to recreate his recent history, they concluded that after his first life as a Lama, followed by his reincarnation as a lama’s dog, both lives spent under strict monastic guidelines, he had finally escaped.
“Free at last. Free at last,” he must have been chanting when Sid picked him up on the highway, handcuffed him, crated him, then the final indignity, had him neutered.
Which just goes to show you that the grass ain’t always greener on the other side of the Dali.
~~ Baxter Black, author, cowboy poet and former large animal veterinarian, lives in Benson, Ariz.