It’s been 365 days since I last touched his fur and felt the warmth of his wet nose against my skin. Since I last got a good morning hug and husky smile.

A year ago I was head over heels in love with a husky named Simba who’d been brought into our lives two short months prior by happenstance. I tried incredibly hard not to love him but he was my soul dog, he was the dog I didn’t know I needed at the time. For this reason, the day of November 13, 2019, will be one of the hardest days to remember.

As I stated, Simba was with us for only two months so you may wonder how “just” a dog could have such a large impact. Well, to know Simba is to know he epitomized love, stoicism, and bravery. A playful soul who was always eager to please and who wiped out people’s expectations of what a husky was.

Simba suffered for an unknown amount of time and only once expressed with a splitting Husky scream the pain he was in. A year ago Sam and I had to let our beautiful boy go in a circumstance I hope no one should have to endure except surrounded by love and kindness.

Even as I sit here to share with the world the lessons he taught me tears are spilling down my face. Being a dog mom, it’s never long enough, ever. As humans, we truly do not deserve the unconditional love that these animals give to us or the guidance they share. TWO MONTHS though is truly just soul-crushing and there are days I wonder how I manage.

The day Simba died, I dreamt that night of him. He met me in our yard, he nudged my hand and romped around to show me he was okay. Then he laid next to me in the grass and I just pat him in the sunshine. In that dream, I knew he was showing and telling me he was okay, the decision Sam and I made to let him go was the right one.

Lesson 1: Never doubt your community

  • The day we had to let Simba go I was living two hours away from my family. When I moved I suspected there were times that would be hard to be away from them but I never expected this. My mom packed her car as soon as she could to head up but I was still left to say goodbye to him almost by myself. I got in contact with my friend Amanda and asked her to be there as I wasn’t sure Sam would be able to get out of work, thankfully he was. I called my friend Shannon and she was going to come up the next day. After all, was said and done I was able to call one of my longest friends and she answered the call without hesitation. Friends who were in Italy while I watched their Sophie during all of this, called me after receiving my email that I may not be as responsive. Your tribe/community will show up when you least expect it.

Lesson 2: Those who leave us are never truly gone

  • This year I have done so much and felt so much love because of Simba. Shortly after Simba passed I was having a really really hard day and missed him terribly and just wanted to know he was there, shortly after I was in my car and a blue jay flew in front of me. Since that day, and due to a few other occurrences, blue jays forever symbolize Simba. In my yoga teacher training I was in my meditation section of it, guided by my mentor Kelly Rich, at the end of her meditation I physically FELT Simba laying next to me. It was the first time, not the last, I physically felt his fur and the weight of his body. Since that day I’ve not only done intuitive work with Kelly but varying things on my own and each time Simba comes. He shows up and says “I’m ready, let’s go”. Now I know Simba came too me in a physical form to help me on this journey of self-discovery and spiritual work.

Lesson 3: It’s not permanent, enjoy it

  • When we get an animal or bring an animal into our home, we know the time is fleeting in comparison to our own human life but you never realize how fleeting. Simba was truly when of the best symbols I could have ever been given to continue to live your life to the fullest because it is not permanent. Again, I will state I do not know how long he had the mass in his bladder however it never, ever stopped him from loving us, Dunkin, playing, snuggling and just being a happy dog. Remembering him reminds me to find joy in my every day, to take that extra minute for a hug or a kiss, to say I love you, or to even say thank you. 

Three simple lessons, although I’m sure there are more, from a dog who was only physically present for two months. Think about that, a dog had that much of an impact on at least my life. What kinda of impact are you making? What kind of impact are the people around you making?

Simba, I will forever miss you and there isn’t a single day that goes by I don’t think of you and tear up. I am grateful to have had you for the time I did and even more grateful to still have you guiding me.

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