On Losing Our Dog, Malibu—a beginning meditation by Marie Cartier

When you read this FAR family, it will be the one month anniversary of us losing our dog Malibu due to we believe complications from diabetes. It was unexpected, her illness, and we are still reeling from it.

I have written before for this blog about the sacrality of dogs in a post entitled “Walking with Gods and Dogs.”

It was my intention this month to do a meditation again on the sacredness of animal companions in our lives, and especially of the loss of their presence and what it means to have had them bless us for the brief time they are able to.

I keep thinking of Mary Oliver’s poem, “Percy Six,” and of the line, “How many summers does a little dog have?” from the book Dog Songs.  

We had seven summers with Malibu, the last one during which we went on a three week excursion with the dogs up the coast of California from Long Beach into the Redwoods. I am so glad we took that trip and that she got to run on all the beaches up the coast of California.

How many summers does a little dog have?

I want to explore the spiritual component of animals in our lives, as well as relate the memorial we had for Malibu and how we buried her on our property. How friends helped. How we mourned. How dogs came over and howled with us….

It will have to wait. For now, as Malibu crosses the Rainbow Bridge this month, here are some photos of our beloved family member, Malibu, who we miss dearly.

May all beings be sacred; may all beings be blessed.



Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.  She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine. She is also a published poet and playwright, accomplished performance artist, scholar, and social change activist. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) and an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting), both from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University.  She is co-chair of the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion session of the national American Academy of Religion and co-chair at the regional level of the Queer Studies in Religion session, founder of the western region Queer Caucus, and a perma-blogger for Feminism and Religion. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified Hatha Yoga teacher.

17 thoughts on “On Losing Our Dog, Malibu—a beginning meditation by Marie Cartier”

  1. Oh, I can barely read this because of my life long companions. I have lost so many though some return as guides in dreams. Yesterday I was thinking about writing about my little Chihuahuas without whom I would be bereft – I keep putting this writing off – thinking they are only four – as if their age really protected me from their possible demise. The last dog I had before these two was a Yorkshire terrier and she died at 4 years old – too few summers – too short a life. I am wed to my animals like many are wed to other people and fear that writing about how dependent I am on them for emotional/psychological support…One thing I know. I need dogs more than they could ever need me….

    Grieving the loss of a dog is a terrible thing and my heart goes out to you…I survived the death’s of my last two dogs by writing to them every single day until it was time to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have lived with cats since my first cat, Fred, who suffered a fatal infection when my son was a baby. I crossed the country (in an airplane) with a cat in a carrier. Since 1987, my cats have been named Schroedinger (I adopted #4 three years ago) and Heisenberg (#2, who is #1 reincarnated). My first Schroedinger (a calico) lived with me for 21 years. Every time I have to make the decision that a cat’s quality of life is insupportable and it must be euthanized, I weep and mourn for weeks. I, too, am therefore touched by your loss. Bright blessings! Are you getting ready to adopt another dog?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My sincere condolences about the loss of Malibu. I firmly believe that dogs are spiritual creatures. My dog Bernadette has been with me for almost 14 years so, naturally, she is beginning to fade and get weaker with each day. I will be temporarily inconsolable when she passes, but she will have lived a life of curiosity and wonder and unconditional love. My intention is to honor her memory by adopting another dog in need and giving him or her the best life I can help to provide.


  4. My Dearest Marie,
    this Goddess Graced Planet is mourning the loss of one of our greatest teachers, the sweet faced, wet nosed, best cuddler, scrappy pants Malibu, the Bu. Some of my most favorite stories are the ones of Malibu. How Malibu came to You, to Kimberly, to our Precious Bearded Femme, to all of us…
    How you went to your kumbyya Gay Catholic Clergy retreat in Malibu filled with Love and the Divine. Blissed Out of your tree and came to have a coffee and saw a dog rescue outside the shop. You looked at all the dogs all starry eyed filled with enough Love to fill the galaxy. The Bu knew you were hers and she was yours. Into your blue mermaid bag she crawled. Over and over. You pulled her out and looked at the rest of the dogs. She was quite squirreley looking. And back in she crawled over and over X3. You left and came back. You had been claimed. Chosen. To the Mermaid house the two of you went. And there ensued total mayhem. Chaos theory was written for The Bu. She ate the drywall, the vintage bamboo furniture, jumped out a window, ate every s i n g l e one of your summer sandals, and might I add, we are Femme’s. We don’t buy $1 summer sandals. Hard to find, or purchased on our many adventures through the years filled with memories, all Italian leather, or hand beaded, or one of a kind sandals etc etc. As Marilyn Monroe says,” Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world. ” Maybe Malibu knew that as she had bits of beads and Italian leather hanging from that precious snaggle tooth that with time became so endearing to us all. I remember Kimberly in total emotionally numb blank face saying, ” My best cowboy boots, what am supposed to do with only 1 cowboy boot Yvonne?” I laugh out loud as I type it. Sorry Kim…Marie, your perfectly decorated with the slanted roof writing studio Marie. Flawlessly decorated with the hand stitched quit on the day bed for dreaming out the window with the ocean view of the next words dreamt for your newest revolutionary publishing’s. Malibu ate your works of art papers. Malibu ate your students papers that your were to grade. A new meaning to the dog ate my home work.
    Malibu taught surrender to the lessons of the greatest love. After all they were only things. Things can be replaced. A beating heart of the up most survival of things we could never imagine, obvious by her anxiety and destruction of nice things which all needed exploring therefore complete and thorough contemplation,investigation therefore indigestion.
    The Bu taught us about letting it all go. All of it. Kind and Gentle Love. Consistency. To keep coming back to the table as many times as it takes. In the complete and total purest white light love that remains when all else falls away. Turning lead into gold. And she was golden baby.
    Cheers to The Bu. Thank the Goddess for her wisdom and all that she taught us. Bless that cherub face and thank the Goddess for allowing her to come into our lives.
    I love you Marie. Your a Beautiful mother and show grace. Sending soothing Love and thank you for this post.


    1. Oh my gosh, Yvonne, here I was all teary-eyed after reading Marie’s post and then I read what you wrote and started laughing through my tears. Sounds like the Bu was an excellent teacher! I’m sorry for your loss, Marie, but I’m sure the Bu is watching over you.


  5. So sorry for your loss. Words will not help, only time will, and you never stop missing them. I lost my girl, Roxy, age 14, suddenly 10/5/2017. It will be a year in a couple months but still feels a month ago. I’ve had dogs all my life and each time they leave, the pain feels like the first time. Unbearable. As my aunt said long ago, you never have enough time with them. 5 years or 50, it’s never long enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I also share your sorrow with Malibu’s death, Marie. Sending hugs – and thank you for sharing some of your memories.


  7. I feel your pain, so strongly. In a week it will be the anniversary of my beloved Princesse’s crossing, but there are so many beloved furry and feathery friends on the other side that I feel that my body and my soul are full of scars, never healing, always bleeding. I feel your pain, I feel your pain :______(


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