The Story of Tashi Bear

When I bought the land in Happy Valley, there was a black dog living there. Apparently, he’d never been let out of his dog run. The couple I bought the house from said they couldn’t bring the dog to their new house in town where there was no yard. I don’t think they could have gotten him out of the dog run by that time, much less into the car. When I looked deep into his saucer-like eyes, it was as if he was saying to me, “Please buy this place and save my life.” The owners were happy when I said the dog could stay. I asked the man, Mr. Fred Reed, the dog’s name and age. He said he was about 2 years old but wasn’t sure and after an awkward pause said, “His name is Buckshot.” I was more than happy to let the little guy stay. At first, he was fierce with strangers, but I made friends with him quickly, using lots of treats, MANI mantras, and head pats but it still took months to coach him out of that pen where he’d spent his life so far.
When LKC came, the week after I bought the house, the first thing she said was, “Buckshot is no name for this dog. Let’s call him ‘Bear’.” She offered me many tips for training Bear and he turned into a great pet. Lama Norlha Rinpoche visited Happy Valley a few months later. One evening when Bear was barking like crazy at something in the woods, Jamdron asked me why he was barking. Rinpoche responded, “That dog sees things others do not see…he’s a Mahakala dog.”Bear had not only found a home but also a job to do. Anyone living in the woods realizes the need for a dog’s protection from snakes and other varmints coming too close to the house.
Sadly, however, I only had Bear with me for about six years. He was killed the first week of July 2011. I and others had gone to Washington DC to see His Holiness Dalai Lama, so I wasn’t home when it happened. From the evidence, we believe he was killed by three pit bulls owned by people who had recently moved into the valley.
Bear had died tragically and I was devastated. Then Lama Karma and Lama Samten moved from the monastery in New York State to Happy Valley to be the resident lamas at MOCD. This was in mid-August, just one week before the 49th day of Bear’s death. The lamas did a special fire puja offering for the old Bear and that was a major healing of heartfelt wounds. It also was a great antidote for the deep sense of loss of my beloved dog, who had always protected the house and property. Really, Bear had never left the Dharma land till the fateful day he was killed.