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A Karmic Tale

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Earlier this year I wrote a story that seemed to touch many people’s hearts. It was about my friend Pamela and her beloved Brigandi, a wise soul in the outward form of a chow.

After 16 years of constant companionship, Brigandi had to depart this world.

To know him was to understand what deliberation meant. He understood his mortality, but more to the point, he understood how difficult his absence would be to his best friend. So he determined that somehow, some way, he would find a means to manifest his bond with her after he had gone.

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Call it karma or what you will. Brigandi figured out a way to guide to his Pamela another little soul in need of love. Her name is Bramwell—and as you can see, she is strong, Welsh, and overjoyed to be with her new companion.

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Love never ends. It just has new beginnings.

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In Memoriam

Brigandi standing

Brigandi Glintenkamp (1991-2007)

To say that Brigandi was a dog (a chow, to be exact) seems to be entirely beside the point. Those of us who love and observe animals closely will understand. Each creature has its own way of being and moving through the world regardless of its species.

Brigandi was a philosopher. He was born in Lancaster, California in the summer of 1991. It is there that he first met my friend Pamela, who had come to visit the breeder and the puppies on offer. For years Pamela had so wanted a chow, but circumstances had conspired against it until that moment. She had read everything she could get her hands on about the breed.

And when she appeared before Brigandi and his siblings, she sat down on the dirty floor, wanting to see what would happen. Brigandi wasted no time, leaping with enthusiasm into her lap. He recognized a kindred spirit: someone who is thoughtful, deliberate, and empathetic to other species.

Pamela took photos of Brigandi’s mom, dad, and siblings, and posted them around his food bowl so he wouldn’t feel too lonely. He soon grew up to be a magnificent and arresting figure who would attract attention wherever he went. Often people would ask if he was a lion. On a typical day in the park, he might have his photo taken 20 times.

He lived a colorful life, including time at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, where he loved chasing animals larger than himself, like deer. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, furniture was flying through the air, and Pamela called out to him. During this crazy Wizard of Oz moment, he hurled himself over a flying lamp into her arms. The next day, one of his whiskers turned gray, though he was only three years old.

The Southern California climate was too hot for such a furry creature, and Brigandi shared Pamela’s passion for the climate and culture of London. It was their dream to walk in St James’s Park together, and that dream came true when they moved and became ex pats in that great city.

Since he was a pup he and Pamela had taken a natural approach to his health care, shunning chemicals in favor of acupuncture, homeopathy, and chiropractic treatments. It paid off. Despite advanced age (well beyond life expectancy for a chow) and arthritis, he enjoyed life to the end. Pamela would even take him through the streets of London in a blazing red Radio Flyer wagon, turning heads all the way.

Brigandi in wagon

Brigandi was Pamela’s constant companion, watching out for her with the dignity of the most loyal Palace guard. And in turn, she let him know that she appreciated and loved him without reserve. They “got” one other, and were each enriched by the other.

Brigandi aptly got his name from the stereo photographer Philip Brigandi. A stereo photograph is actually two perspectives on one subject, merged into one image through a stereo viewer. I think this captures the essence of the relationship of Brigandi and his Pamela. With their two perspectives on the world and one another, they showed us the potential we can achieve through the simple power of love.

Pamela and Brigandi

To see more and to add comments for Brigandi’s scrapbook, please visit his tribute video.

See postscript added in March, 2008.