Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Girl and Her Dog

To steal a recent quote my best friend used in Lakota's honor ...

Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened. ~ Anatole France

During a recent meditation, when I asked my guides what advice they had for me right now, the adamant words, "Start writing again" came loud and clear.

I knew in that moment, it was time to finally listen.

You see, I'm stubborn. I take awhile to take action. This is just how I've always been and I can affectionately thank my parents for the trait <3 I've been in a state of writing "hibernation" for awhile. I've being going through some profound transformations and every time I had the nudge to write about them, I wouldn't budge. I froze. It's like, all the words have been swimming around in my mind and heart for months on end, but the moment I had the urge to write them down, the motivation would float away and I would go into hibernation once more ... I guess a part of me has just been trying to "take it all in."

While I could write about the fact I've bought a new home ... and how it was an amazingly spiritual experience for me, how it showed me just one glimpse of the immense power of manifestation, or the fact I recently graduated from my 500-hour yoga teacher training after 17 long, but wonderful months ... that's not what I'm going to write about tonight.

Maybe it's because it's "National Puppy Day," and I've been particularly nostalgic of late. Or maybe I've just been sitting on this post for far too long. But tonight, I need to write about Lakota.

Lakota — a.k.a Mr. L, Koty, Bubbaloo, Bubs, Puppaloo, Puppa ... and my favorite, Lakota Boda — was "that one dog" for me. He was that dog who had been through huge chapters of my life, who was by my side through some of my toughest moments, who went through several transitions and location changes and profound periods of growth.

Some people just will never quite get it. And that's OK. They don't have to. To some people, dogs are dogs. Pets are pets. They serve a particular purpose in the hierarchy of the family dynamic and that's that. But for me, that's never been that.

For me, Lakota was my best friend, he was one of my greatest mentors, he was my protector, he was my rock, my constant, my reminder to live in the moment, my reminder of unconditional love, my shoulder to cry on, my mirror. Lakota showed me exactly where I was in any given moment. He had the power to melt my heart with one soft look, one long sigh, one head tilt. He made me laugh. He drove me nuts. He made my heart sing. He made me face fears. He made me find my inner strength. He made me live.

To me, that's a powerful presence, a powerful gift. And I am so grateful to have had 11 years with him. I wish I could have had a few more.

A few months before Lakota passed, I began to get a funny feeling inside. Although I didn't notice anything major outwardly, sometimes, when Lakota would look at me, his beautiful, soft, wise brown eyes seemed sad, as though he knew he was not going to be around much longer. Those feelings of a slow goodbye would not go away, even when I tried to logically tell myself everything was fine, he still had a few years left.

But you see, Lakota and I, we had a very strong intuitive bond. It was that same bond that made me decide to spend a lot of money to give him back surgery when he was paralyzed from the waist down. His soul told me then, he was not ready, it was not his time. He still had life inside him. And I was going to learn a TON from that experience. I was going to grow in faith in a way I never knew I could. I was going to witness the power of collective prayer, intention and energy. I was going to witness a miracle.

And I did. Against almost all odds, Lakota not only walked again ... he ran. And our bond reached a level I will never quite find the words for.

The night Lakota passed, he had been crying out a lot. I wasn't sure if it was more seizures (he was so out of it from the anti-seizure medication, it was hard to tell) or actual pain. And there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had resigned myself to putting him down the next day, feeling in my heart this was no way to live. But as I caressed him over and over, kissing his paws, his nose, his ears, his eyelids, I didn't know that night, he would give me one last gesture of love ... by taking that decision out of my hands.

I remember talking to him about all 11 wonderful years. I thanked him for coming into my life. I thanked him for being my college roommate. I thanked him for getting along with his sister, Bella, my cat. I thanked him for protecting me, always. I thanked him for loving me, even at my darkest, most lost and weak moments. I thanked him for every single moment he had given me, every memory. I told him it was OK to go. I told him I loved him and I will always love him.

I then carried him up to my bed. Since his back injury two years prior, he had not been able to be in my bed. And I laid next to him, my arm around him, my face buried in his head and ears. And I prayed. I cried and I prayed. I sang to him, then I cried some more and then I prayed. I couldn't stand him suffering any longer. I could tell he was torn, I could tell he wanted to stay with me, but I knew it was time for him to go. And at 7:16 a.m. Jan. 20, as I witnessed him take his last breath, I kissed his head, rubbed his belly and told him it was OK and that I love him.

You see, even then, Lakota was teaching me.

He was teaching me to let go.

Lakota's spirit is with me. This I do not doubt. He has shown me sign after sign. And still visits me in my dreams from time to time.

The truth is, Lakota will always be with me. As will all of our loved ones. And as we will be, to others some day. For energy is neither created nor destroyed. And I am so lucky to have walked this earth next to Lakota's energy ... even if for just a few years.

While I miss his physical presence every day, I hold his memory in my heart. And for that, I am truly lucky.

Rest in peace, my dear Lakota. It's been quite a journey <3