important life lessons

5 Important Life Lessons I Learned from My Dogs

Back in February I wrote about the loss of my dog, Sadie. She was so cool and VERY laid back about things in general. Other than me needing to feed her, she was a pretty independent (and stubborn!) girl.

That was in stark contrast to my other girl, Sable.

Sable has always been high maintenance. Maria would said say she was spoiled as a puppy.

There was good reason for this… and it all started the first night I had her back at Purdue.

That night, she wouldn’t stop whining when everyone went to bed. Of course, it might have had something to do with the fact that we put her in the back room away from everyone.

I tried so hard to keep her out there. But she was so persistent! Eventually I caved in and brought her into my room. It wasn’t long after that she learned she could get practically anything she wanted by asking for it. Including sleeping on my bed!!

From that point, she became one of the most vocal dogs I’ve ever known.

 

Almost two weeks ago, on Thursday June 21st, I had to let her cross the Rainbow Bridge.

Like her sister, she had been fighting cancer for a long time. While it wasn’t until recently we found out that it was lung cancer, we did know she had developed it because she started having seizures in late 2017.

She was having a heck of a time that last week and it was so hard to make that decision as it hadn’t been that long since I lost Sadie. However, anything that the veterinarians could do was a Hail Mary at that point.

I knew I had to make the call. I never had it in me to see her suffer – even as a pup.

So she’s now with her sister at Mom’s dog park in the sky.

Love you and miss you both, Girly Girls.

important life lessons

Princess Sadie and Duchess Sable – My Girly Girls

Traveling – A Great Time to Reflect

The next day, I had to hop on a flight to San Diego to meet up with Maria in the El Centro / Mexicali area. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of weeks – so it was certainly something to look forward to.

As I was traveling down there and back, I had time to think about how I was going to memorialize Sable’s passing.

With Sadie, I wrote about the grieving process. In there, you’ll see that my grieving process includes being creative in some way as a tribute.

For this tribute, I’m going to share some things I picked up from the two of them over the years.

 

Persistence Pays Off

As I’ve mentioned, Sable had a way of getting what she wanted. Not only did she start barking at someone if she wanted something bad enough, but she’d always outsmart her sister when Sadie was chewing or playing with something.

The biggest power move she had in this situation was when she acted as if she didn’t want Sadie’s toy. She’d walk over to someone for a butt scratch. When she got it, Sadie noticed and came over too (she was a butt scratch addict!!). Right away, Sable would run over to whatever Sadie had been working on and wouldn’t give it back!

They taught me that if you want something, just become the squeaky wheel!

Forgiveness and Living in the Moment

For the longest time, I had problems forgiving people. I took a lot of hurt around with me wherever I went.

When I went to Purdue, I wanted to become a new version of myself. However, my old habits kept me in a mental jail cell which prevented me from fully experiencing life at another level. It wasn’t really until my mom passed in 2010, that I started becoming my current self. It was then that I realized you have to live your own life – despite what you might perceive others expect of you. That was something she hadn’t done. She lived in her own mental prison herself, and most of it was self inflicted.

When I was suddenly in charge of both girls, I noticed that despite all the change that was going on, they were content and happy. They lived in the moment. They weren’t concerned with what people thought of them. And they didn’t hold aggressions with neighbors who yelled at them for being on their property.

My girls were just themselves. They taught me to just be me.

 

It’s Going to Be Okay

When I was going through that transition period between losing Mom in 2010 and marrying Maria in 2013, I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I grew up. On one hand, I felt that I had to live the life I went to school for. On the other hand, I realized that most of the time I was in school, I was simply doing what was expected of me.

I was expected to have a successful career.

And to be frank, I had no feeling of what success meant. The only things I had success in I had help achieving – I had guidance. I was now in the real world… and struggling!

But whenever I was with them after getting home from a long day of work – I was at piece. As long as I lived day to day and not sweat the details, things were going to work out.

It’s truly amazing what happens when you have this perspective.

Things will work out. Maybe not the way you plan for in the beginning – but they work out.

 

Take Time for Daily Exercise

One of the things that the girls wouldn’t let me forget about, especially between 2010 and 2016 was that they needed their daily walks. During those years in particular, we’d walk in the heat and cold. They didn’t care. Between 3 to 5 pm, they’d expect their walk.

Especially Sable. She was always on a mission to get to where we were going. She barely stopped to smell scents!

While I might not have been ready to take a break yet, it was during these walks that I was able to just think about things. I’d come back even more focused to wrap up the day on a good note.

I need to start getting Max on that same schedule. Unfortunately, we’ve had a pretty hot summer and he has had very little interest in being outside for long!

 

Pay Attention to Those You Love

My last Labrador, Shadow, passed when she was 10 years old. Like Sable and Sadie, she had developed cancer. Her mass was on her shoulder and it was super unbearable. In fact, she was in so much pain that she wouldn’t even try to move to go outside.

Knowing their life expectancy was around that 10 year mark, I started paying attention to them when they got to be about 8 and 9 years old. Often, I’d wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, wondering if they were still with us.

Thankfully, they were.

In retrospect, I think because of this fear and appreciating them as they ran to the door each day as I got home, I had a lot of good quality time with them. That’s actually a comfort for me now as I grieve.

In a time when we’re all glued to our digital devices or work, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to spend this time with our loved ones.

Take the time to appreciate your close ones on a regular basis. You never know when the last time will be.

 

Action Steps

Nothing really deep here, guys. If you have doggos yourself, give them an extra strong hug for me when you see them next. Appreciate them.

For those of you who might have recently lost your own furry friends, is there anything they taught you?

Feel free to share below.

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