Chad Michael, the Sacred Heart Ceremony Dog

Nadia Hrynkiw
7 min readJan 19, 2024

It started with the death of our dogs on October 9th of last year. I rescued those two gals from Tennessee at the height of my animal fostering days 13 years ago. One was an intentional adoption, the intended “family dog”, and the other was a foster failure that no one would have adopted due to intense behavioral issues. At that time in my life, I had a new baby, a new marriage, and my eye on law school. I had dreams of changing the world by “protecting those who could not protect themselves”. It was quite the metaphor for all the unprocessed victim energy I was still holding in my heart at that time. The space where I was making all of my decisions from. Our two dogs (a mastiff shepherd and a St. Bernard mix) traveled across the country with me twice, were houseless with us in Hawaii, and lived a lavish dog life otherwise. In their last months, they had an incredible amount of pain, cancer, and dementia — we waited as long as we could before making the call and it was the hardest one I’ve ever had to make.

In the few weeks that followed that heartbreaking experience, it became clear that the dogs were holding unprocessed emotions for both myself and my husband. I had no idea that dogs did that! They were unable to even be in the same room as one another at the end because there was aggression underlying every act. When my girls left, those emotions and aggressions were funneled right back into us for processing and suddenly there was a tremendous amount of “space”, both literally and energetically. Both my husband and I agreed that the day our dogs crossed over, we knew the marriage was over for certain. Yet, there was also an abundance of peace in the ability to let go of something that was clearly ready to move on. I never imagined those things could be so closely tied together, but with spiritual eyes, I can see that it does make sense.

About two months after their passing, and after several rituals of clearing the energy that was attached to them, I finally felt settled and at peace with not having dogs in the house. I tried to see all the positives of being a dog-free home even though my heart was heavy with grief. There was no dog hair to vacuum, no poop in the yard, and no ongoing bouts of dementia that left us without sleep for months on end. I could travel without hiring a super expensive dog sitter. It was a nice sense of completion and surrender. I had made peace with it all.

Until one day when a dog started visiting me .. in spirit.

It started with a curious feeling of having a dog in the room. When I did journeywork, I would feel him lying beside me and holding the space, comforting me in a way. I would walk into a room and feel the dog energy lounging on the bed or sofa. In my client sessions, I could sense a dog on the floor next to the people who came to work with me. I have experienced spirits in the room before, but never something that felt so tangible and consistent!

Then the gentle intuitive nudges started, indicating that a dog was coming. And not just any dog, the dog I have dreamt of my entire life. The one that I never allowed myself to hope for because you can’t find them in shelters and I felt I would be a literal monster if I didn’t rescue (or if I promoted breeding). The dog I could never afford. The energy I had never allowed into my life — a Gold Retriever. Yep, we all know the Golden Retriever energy LOL. It turns out that these intuitive nudges were just warming me up, preparing me mentally for the idea of even having another dog.

I kept telling myself that logically this dog thing didn’t even make sense. How could this be possible amidst a divorce and restructuring of my life?

But then, in came the 3D synchronicities that just blew my socks right off:

  • On December 13th there is a flyer for two golden retriever puppies at the dog park I frequent. I have been going there for over a year and have never seen a flyer before. I go to this park just to be around dogs because my previous pups could never go to these places.
  • On December 14th I am in the Costco parking lot, way in the back. A woman pulls up next to me and she is there to pick up a golden puppy from someone else.
  • On December 15th I got the message in meditation that this dog wants to be called “Chad Michael”. He has pure masculine energy that is both boyishly playful and creates a sense of deep masculine safety. He wants to help clients, community members and participants feel safe, be able to take their walls down, and open their hearts.
  • On December 24th I am invited to a brunch birthday party where two people out of the nine people present have family members who volunteer at a Golden Rescue.
  • On December 30th two people in our community embodiment ritual saw a Golden Retriever appear as their support animal.
  • On January 5th there is an emotional support dog for the general public at Bend Airport on the day that I drop my child off at his 90-day residential program. It was a heavy day for me emotionally and the comfort was deeply needed. What breed was it? You guessed it, a Golden Retriever.
  • On January 12th Eric sends me a photo of the therapy dog at his new therapist’s office and it’s a golden.
  • On January 13th we have an emergency within the Ceremony house that requires us to relocate to a new property unexpectedly. On this new property, there are dogs present and they show me what they are doing during the Ceremony (helping people lower walls, laughter, comfort, open hearts). I watch three people radically transform due to the presence of the dogs. It helps dissolve some of my resistance to a new pup that I cannot logically justify.

The key word here is logic.

  • On January 15th I dream about the dog I witnessed being abused when I was a kid. He has passed now, but he came to me in the dream asking to live with me for a few years to recover and rest from his lifetime of abuse. He wants to mend my heart from witnessing that abuse and for us to both heal together. To carry on with better things. Sob.

Need I say more?

A big part of my job is about reading signs. “What do the bones say when you cast them on the ground?” “What are a person’s actions saying about deeper emotions or desires?” “What are the plants showing us by growing _____ way this year?”

Right now, the signs point to a Ceremony dog. He is a Golden Retriever named Chad Michael. My job is to get out of the way and allow what is asking to come through.

There are two themes that arise for me right now on a personal level. The first is ego death and the second is to receive. There is a large aspect of me that is asking to die, and it is the one who thinks she must pay a price for the things she wants or needs, a price to pay to just be herself. She must struggle or hustle to get her needs met. In relationships, it has shown up as overgiving my attention, my body, or my time to receive love. In my work, it is the transactional nature of “business”. I must perform a task or duty in order to receive payment. It is even in the nature of my calling, where I give myself over to the work and I do so with no expectation because this is simply what I must do. Yet I often don’t allow for the universe to deposit payment in return. I am discovering that in this aspect asking to die, there is resistance to the bigger level of spirit who simply want to support me. There is great resistance to people who want to just give because they can or they want to. I am learning that not everyone requires something in return. That for some the joy is in support, it’s in the giving.

This leads me to the apex of this blog, where I have decided to ask the community to support me in taking on a Ceremony dog. I notice that I have many challenging thoughts and feelings around asking for support, so surely this is where I must go. It is something I have never done in the years I have run my organization. Today I have started a campaign to raise money for the initial costs associated with taking on a Golden Retriever pup. I am putting down my resistance to receiving and asking to help bring this dog into my work and my life. I am ready for it!

I will also be organizing a fundraiser upon my return from Peru, though how that will look is still unclear. I anticipate picking up our new Team Member in the Spring of 2024 — a beefy, apple-headed medium colored golden who asks to be named Chad Michael. He will train as a therapy dog and will be present to support everyone who comes through my door.

Here is the link for my campaign just in case anyone is feeling called to simply give outside of whatever fundraising event will be happening in March.

Thank you for allowing me to share and be witnessed in this space today. It has been an honor doing this work with the community and I look forward to expanding on that in 2024 with more support than I ever imagined possible.



Nadia Hrynkiw

Medicine Woman specializing in Shamanic Healing & Ceremony, Teaching, Community Building, and Founder of