By Linda Duncanson Miller, Minnesota

From childhood, I always wanted a dog of my own. Although I knew I wasn’t ready for one, it seemed as if I was being prepared for this eventual gift.

For years, I even had my dog’s name picked out. I would call him Tambrin, after a local variation of tamarind, Bahamian island fruit that I loved when I was a kid. Tambrins (tamarinds) are brown, like dark apricots. After cracking their shells, I used to scoop the sweet, ripe tambrin meat into my mouth.

I often flew across the country from my home in San Diego to visit my sister Audrey in New Jersey. Her dog, Falcon, a tiny Maltese, followed me everywhere. I didn’t like that at all, but my sister said, “It’s because she loves you.”

Even so, I sensed that I wasn’t ready to receive as much love in my life as Falcon wanted to give. It wasn’t the right time yet. I needed to see a bigger picture of what unconditional love means.

Giving and Receiving

Up to that point in my life, I still hadn’t figured out the part of unconditional love that involved giving without expecting anything in return. I always seemed to have an agenda. Growing up with my family in Nassau and then New Jersey, I was often labeled as selfish because I liked being by myself. Later I withdrew from my family, moving across the country, even though they didn’t want me to leave.

After I started studying the teachings of Eckankar, it felt as if a longing bubbled up inside of me. I wanted to open my heart to more love. Every time I felt as if I needed love, I wanted to go see Falcon. My trips across the country to visit Audrey and the rest of my family were becoming a highlight of my life.

It even got to the point that I had to admit—although I enjoyed seeing my family—Falcon was the high point of my visits. Her love drew me like a magnet, and I always looked forward to being with this dog again.

Wherever I went at Audrey’s house, Falcon followed me. She even slept in the bed with me. I thought, I must really need this unconditional love. I got used to having the dog love me all the time and started to expect it.

Then on one visit, something changed. Falcon did not want anything to do with me. She didn’t follow me at all. Disappointed, I asked my sister, “What’s wrong with Falcon?”

Audrey said, “She wants to be left alone. That’s just how dogs are.” She didn’t think Falcon’s withdrawal was odd at all. For the entire weekend I was very disappointed not to get any attention or love from the dog.

I did a contemplation in which I connected spiritually with my inner guide, the Mahanta. I came to understand that Falcon had been doing all the loving in my relationship with her. I wondered if maybe it was time for me to have my own dog, my own source of divine love.

My Dream Dog

ECK Master Rebazar Tarzs visited me in a dream. He showed me who my little darling would be. The dog he showed me was a wrinkled, wet puppy, just being born. I couldn’t quite tell his coloring, but it appeared to be apricot. I noticed a distinguishing feature: the dog had a unibrow that made an unbroken line across his forehead. The ECK Master handed the pup to me, and I accepted. Then I woke up.

Now I had to find the puppy from my dream in the physical world. This took about another year because I needed to be in the right location and prepare myself for this gift.

I was certain I would recognize my dream dog because of the love he had for me. He would jump into my arms and kiss me all over. I forgot the lesson Falcon’s ignoring me had taught—that I was the one who needed to learn how to give love.

A work colleague of mine had an adorable poodle. I asked her where she had gotten him. She gave me the contact information of the woman from whom she had adopted her dog. After a couple of days I decided to call. The woman told me her dog had just birthed a litter, but it would be five or six weeks before the pups would be available for adoption. Still eager to find my Tambrin, I asked if I could stop by to see them.

She showed me two or three puppies. Within seconds of my arrival, I held a white puppy from the litter who covered me with kisses, just as I’d imagined.

Feeling an inner nudge, I picked up an apricot-colored pup. I got nothing from this guy. He was not friendly at all. When I tried to kiss him, he turned his head away. I put him down and picked up another of his littermates. This dog, too, was all over me. Now two dogs had shown me the love I craved.

I said to the apricot poodle, “You have one more chance to give me a kiss, or else I’m going with one of the other two.” The minute I picked him up, the standoffish pup started kissing me, doing the opposite of what he’d done the first time I’d held him.

That’s also when I noticed one more thing: this dog had a unibrow across his forehead.

“Hi there, Tambrin,” I said.

Tambrin’s Mission

When he was five weeks old, I brought Tambrin home. Since his arrival Tambrin has given me the spiritual growth I realized was missing in my life. This dog’s mission is to teach me how to give unconditional love. I’m here on this earth, it appears, to take care of him.

Tambrin doesn’t particularly like being around other dogs. My lap is his favorite place. Although Falcon used to follow me everywhere, Tambrin has trained me to take him everywhere, even to exercise. He’s my beloved, my comfort, my teddy bear. Whatever he needs, I try to give him.

Loving Tambrin prepared me to be a better person. Soon after adopting this dog, I met a man and got married. My husband loves me unconditionally, and now, because of Tambrin, I’m able to return his love. Having a more loving attitude also improved my relationship with my daughter and family. I am more accepting of people and less judgmental.

At eleven years old, Tambrin is still a master at receiving love. He has helped me break down my emotional walls and come out of my shell. He’s made me more willing to take risks in love. This little dog is an instrument of Divine Spirit, opening my heart to love deeply.

I dreamed Tambrin was a cat in a past life. That may be the source of his catlike behaviors. If I run around the house calling for him, he’ll watch me from under the bed without responding. All I can do after finding him is just laugh.

This little dog teaches me every day how to love as the ECK Masters love, without needing anything back in return.

I probably love Tambrin more than he loves me. And I’m OK with that.

—Photo by Linda Duncanson Miller