As many know, I deeply believe that animals are often our greatest teachers. They live a very different existence of being in the moment, accepting themselves without judgment and holding an incredible capacity for loving. Whether it be in nature, or in your own home, observing an animal can often give great insight on ways to live closer to your own true self.
Yesterday I watched one of the greatest teachers I have ever had pass away, our dog Kane. His life story was tragic in many ways, however because of that he was able to demonstrate to me what it truly means to live from a place of love. In honor of his incredible personality I wanted to share some of the lessons he taught me.
Forgiveness – Kane was rescued by Boxer Luv Rescue in December 2011 and was in extremely bad condition. It was clear both humans and animals had tortured and abused him, most likely as a bait dog. He went through 6 months of surgeries and recovery in which time he stole the hearts of many in the organization. We brought him home in June of 2012 and were a little cautious about how he may be with us and our other three dogs. His tail didn’t stop moving from the minute we picked him up to when he met each of our dogs. I was in awe of the love he instantly gave all of us. Many dogs (and humans) hold on to the pain caused by others and allow it to impact every relationship they have. Kane didn’t do that. He clearly let go of his past embraced the love that was standing right in front of him. In humans, this can be replicated by truly practicing forgiveness and allowing each person you come in contact with to have the benefit of your open heart. This is not an easy thing, however the benefit of true forgiveness is worth the work.
Joy – I have had many animals come in and out of my life but I have never met one so happy. If Kane was awake, he was wagging. Although not a high-energy dog, his tail never stopped moving. Every minute seemed to be full of joy for him. With the life he had he easily could have been a depressed dog, but he wasn’t. He lived in the moment and was excited for each minute. Being in the present, loving everyone you come into contact with and putting on a smile is a great way to ensure you are living pure joy every day.
Compassion – Kane displayed compassion in two ways. First, he would be excited to see any animal in the house getting pet or being played with. Many pets will either ignore you giving another animal love or will come over and try to get some love themselves. Kane didn’t do that. Instead, he would stand, watching and wagging with happiness. It is rare for any animal, or person, to display that kind of happiness for others. Another way he would show compassion is when someone was sad or sick. As with most dogs, he could sense these things. He would come to you and stand there, staring at you, wagging his tail. It was as though he was saying “It isn’t so bad, life is good.” This is something we could all benefit to remember when we are at a low point… Life is good!
You aren’t sick unless you think you are sick – Kane was diagnosed with Lymphoma and the prognosis was 4 weeks at best. He lived 7 more months with not even the slightest sign that he was sick. He played, he ate, he wagged. He clearly listened to his body and rested when he needed to, even if the others were playing, but he never acted sick. I am sure there were times he was in pain or uncomfortable, especially throughout his last day with us. But he would stand there happy and wagging as if all was well with the world. This lesson is one that humans struggle with. When we are told we are sick then begin acting or talking that way. We will all, at one point in our lives, struggle with some sort of illness, disease or pain. The way you live through it makes a difference in your quality of life. Listen to your body, take care of it, but don’t let it cause you to loose the joy in life.
There are many other things that were special about this dog and we are very grateful to have the time with him we did. Hopefully this will inspire you to look around at the animals in your life and find the lessons they are trying to teach you.
If you would like to read more about Kane’s rescue you can do so here. (Warning, some of the photos are graphic). If you would like more information on Boxer Luv Rescue and the great work they do please visit their site www.boxerluv.org