Last week was the first week since starting my business that I did not write a blog post, as my full focus last week was on saying goodbye to my K-9 companion of 15 years and helping her to cross over.  The subject of this post I called "things my dog taught me" but really, I was her human more than she was my dog. She taught me far more than I taught her in the 15 years we had together. Maliika was my best friend and constant companion through so much. While it was heartbreaking to say goodbye, it's amazing to feel her sweet little spirit still with me and so happy to be free of her old fur-suit that no longer served her in doing the things that she loved in life. 

15 years together is a long time, and in that time she taught me so much. If you've had an animal love in your life, you know what teachers they are. I've been pondering our time together and thought I would share with you some important life lessons that I learned through her. 

Always live in the moment. 
Maliika was such a present creature. No matter what we were doing, where we were going, who we were with, or what the mood was, she was right there with it. While I often found myself worried about what happened or what was coming, she helped to keep me present in every moment we were together. This in itself is priceless. 

Trust your instincts about people. 
Maliika was not a dog that allowed everyone she met into her space. She had good instincts about people. She loved her people unconditionally, but there were some people that she just didn't let in when she met them. These tended to be people that would instantly approach her and want to smother her space before she got a chance to really check them out. You didn't have to do much to earn her love and affection, but you did have to respect her space to earn that. If she didn't have a good feeling about someone, she didn't give them any of her energy, she simply walked away. The people that she did feel good about, she gave her all. As someone who has always trusted people maybe too much, she taught me to have discernment and was a great example in listening to my instincts, especially when new people step into my life. 

Take in the beauty around you. 
Maliika loved taking in grand views. I've never really known another dog that loved to just sit and take it in with all of her senses.  Hiking to an elevation that offered a great view, sitting by a lakeside, or pulled over at a scenic viewpoint, this dog would seriously just take in the view and breathe in the beauty. I know that she felt the same kind of awe that I felt in those moments, and she often kept me there longer just sitting and taking it in.

Pay attention to your surroundings. 
She was always aware of what and who was around us. In our travels together, she often warned me of people or places that she didn't think we should be around when I wasn't paying attention. I know that she helped us avoid some situations, and potentially a very scary run-in with some people at one point when I was busy making phone calls and not paying attention. She's also gravitated towards meeting people that we were supposed to meet along the road or the trail wherever we went. When we are really paying attention to what's around us, we take in all the amazing beauty around us, we meet who we are supposed to meet, and we avoid those that we want to avoid. 

If you are scared of something, let your friends support you through it. 
Maliika and I have been on countless hikes together all over the western 1/2 of the US. (she's traveled with me through 19 states!) She LOVED being out hiking in the trees with me, but sometimes we would encounter a walking bridge on the trail, and she was NOT a fan of walking over bridges! She was slowly encouraged with my hand on her back reassuring her over many walking bridge trails, and she was carried over more than I convinced her to walk herself. (and she was 70lbs) She always trusted me to help her out so that we could continue our adventure. We all come up against things that terrify us on our journeys, even the journeys that bring us so much joy can bring up big fears. Having friends by our side that we trust to support us through the scary parts allows us to keep going. I was always happy to help her through what scared her, and It felt good to help her, just like it feels good for your friends to help you too. Don't be afraid to say that you are scared and ask for support. 

When you can swim, stop whatever you are doing and swim. 
A love of swimming is something that Maliika and I had in common, and we swam in countless bodies of water together. Maliika lived to was her most favorite thing, and it was hard to keep her out of the water if we were near it. There were so many times that the shore was muddy, the water was cold, I didn't want a wet dog in my car at that moment because I didn't bring a towel with, or whatever reasons I thought that she should skip her swimming opportunity for the day, but she would say screw it - I'm going in! Because she loved it. And in the end, the muddy wet dog in my car on the days when I didn't have a towel with was always worth it for the excitement & smile on her face. There are things in life that we love and that we don't indulge in enough because of reasons that aren't really very important when you think about it....what's a little mud in your car when it comes to moments of pure joy? Whatever you love as much as she did swimming - jump in! 

We communicate more deeply without words. 
Maliika communicated with me better than many people in my life. She communicated with me through energy, through the looks she gave me, through her body language, and through intuition. I'm sure I could hear exactly what she was saying sometimes, and sometimes just a look from her, or coming up to me and laying her head on me in a certain moment expressed a thousand words. We don't always need to know the right thing to say to people. Sometimes just holding loving energy with someone, looking into their eyes with your intention, or laying a hand on someone's back can speak more words than the English language ever could. 

I just realized that I may be writing a book here. The above flowed out of me without a lot of pre-thought and doesn't feel complete by any means, but I think I shared some of the more important things and am going to stop here. 

I hope that through my writing, my sweet girl has bestowed some wisdom in your life as well. 

Squeeze your fur-babies tight if you have them. They are here to love us and teach us for such a short time, and we are so blessed to have them around. 

Wishing you a beautiful week,