Theword "Binah" is Hebrew for understanding. So when my friend, Carolyn, from Wales, asked me to talk with her friend's dog, Binah, I thought, "Interesting. I wonder what this dog will tell me."
It turns out, Binah is a West Highland White Terrier. Westies are the little generals of the canine world. They tend to be bossy and forthright and sometimes a little bit rude.
Binah is none of those things. She is the other kind of Westie, the one that is gracious and funny and excited and kind.
In fact, she got me to rethink my thoughts on the Westie, and also to give myself a little talking to about lumping a whole breed into one category. Goodness.
Binah passed away suddenly. Her Mum, Lynne, was quite distraught.
Her first question asked if Binah was okay. Binah came through loud and clear, "Of course!"
Then she wanted to know who Binah was with.
Binah showed me a big brownish-grey dog. They were in a field, with trees on the sides, birch trees. It looked like a crisp fall day. They were playing.
I told Binah's owner this, and I just heard a little gasp, and then nothing. And then I heard, "That's Calon!"
Calon was Lynne's Irish wolfhound that had passed away before.
Then I started crying.
Calon is Welsh for "Heart". So "Heart" and "Understanding" were playing in a field.
Binah's Mum wondered if there was anything that they should have done to try to save Binah's life.
Binah told us that it was her time to go, because she was going to go live with a boy in Sussex, who really needed her.
Everytime I asked Binah a question, I'd have to call her back from playing. Her mum said that Binah was like that in real life too. At the park, every other second, Binah was distracted into playing, couldn't keep her attention long at all.
It turns out Calon had a day off. He has a job in heaven. Many animals do. Calon's job is to greet new arrivals, and show them around. I think it must be lovely to be met in heaven by a big wolfhound named "Heart".
Anyway, Binah's mum's heart was put to rest that Binah was alive and happy and well and busy on the other side.
She asked one more question, "Did Binah have anything to say to her?"
Yes. Binah showed me a pastry on a plate, and her mum, Lynn, eating it.
I described this to Lynne. She didn't get the significance.
So, I said to Binah, "What does this mean?"
Binah said, "With your next dog, don't be stingy with the treats!"
Lynne laughed. She said, "Tell Binah we had to keep her trim!"
Binah laughed too.
Binah knew what would lighten her Mum's grief. Understanding is a verb.