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What my 10-year-old dog taught me about life.

It is true that dogs are a man’s best friend. I honestly never understood what that meant until I had a dog of my own and was able to experience it for myself.

I often feel like no one is as lucky as I am and able to experience the kind of love I share with my best friend Makila even though I am sure that every dog owner feels the same way.

Makila is a name that originates from the Lingala dialect which finds its origins in the central African country of Zaire now known as DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). It means “Pure Blood” but the meaning I give it in this instance is more along the lines of “Pure Soul”.

It started about 10 years ago when a colleague of mine had a litter of about five of the cutest little puppies I had ever seen in my entire life. I remember instantly falling in love with these little creatures and immediately committing to adopt one of them. As I was playing with these little munchkins, I noticed that one of them had tucked himself comfortably in between my legs and had no intention of moving. This tiny thing had somehow managed to nibble on his tail and had no hair left at the tip of it, he was the outcast and that’s how I knew this was my guy.

Unfortunately, I would’ve had to wait another couple of months before I could take him home. But I visited him regularly up until then and every single time I walked into my friend’s house, there comes my guy, full of life, anxiety, and love with a little more hair on his tail on each visit. I found that every single time I left, he and I both grew a little more fond of each other and a little more anxious about seeing each other next. I don’t think he could really understand what was slowly taking place, that soon enough he would have to be removed from his comfort zone, his four other siblings, and his mother to go onto a new exciting adventure with his newly acquired friend.

In an untimely turn of events, I had to frantically leave the US to get back home to France where I had to face some unfortunate news that someone more than dear to me had passed. I was sad and broken, it was very unexpected and I was not at all prepared to handle such pain, it felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and tossed into a fire. I was lost and confused as to why life had chosen to take this insanely amazing human being, this role model and outstanding figure from my family and me at such an early age. I was overwhelmed with sadness and sunk into a depression that would last a long while before I was able to recognize it for what it was.

Eventually, I had to return back to my other home in Las Vegas and live through that tragic loss on my own, although I was surrounded by supportive friends, no one could understand the level of pain I was under and the array of questions that tormented me day and night. It was hard to let go and to admit that life had turned the tables on me while leaving me hanging with no justification as to why that was. In retrospect, no answer would’ve been able to justify the loss that we had encountered or the reason why it had to happen. I didn’t know how to feel better or what could contribute to my happiness any longer.

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen”. -Orhan Pamuk

It hadn’t been but a couple of weeks since I had gotten back when the day came and I received an early morning text message from my friend greeting me back into the country and asking if I would get over to his home. I remember not being very open to the idea of seeing people just yet but somehow managed to get myself together and head over to his house. And that’s when I found my smile back as if all of my worries and pain were nonexistent, he came running into my arms. The little guy I had left was impatiently waiting on my return, joyful, ecstatic, and compassionate. He proceeded to obsessively kiss my entire face and no pushback was taken as he kept jumping right back on my lap every time I would gently push him down, demanding that I let go of my pain and surrender to his love. And I did just that, gave him all the love I could, and took him home that same day.

Over the last ten years, Makila and I have been on numerous trips, have flown across the country, and have gone out shopping or to restaurants together on multiple occasions. Needless to say that I have found a best friend in him and him in me. The genuine infatuation that my friend is under when he sees me come home after running errands or a long trip away is something like no other imaginable kind of love. The bond we have developed is like no other I have ever experienced. I now, because of him understand these few things about life :

  • Pain is temporary and you don’t need to find attachment in your sorrow, being open to letting go of darkness is the only way you can embrace the light.
  • Life is not what you make it, it is your ability to allow everything around you to transcend you into the being you aspire to become that makes life pleasurable.
  • Loyalty isn’t just about honesty, it is about being compassionate and trusting toward yourself in order to find that in others.
  • Vulnerability is not about feeling weak in the face of a challenge but knowing to bend when the wind blows in the direction of growth.
  • A dog is more than a companion, it is a teacher, a mentor, and even a guru.
  • Unconditional love isn’t complicated, it is gentle, it is pure and honest, and it is simple and authentic and it can lick your face if you let it.

Thank you for reading.

I am on a mission to serve and empower as many people as possible until I can’t do so anymore (999,999 + 1 to be exact). I am not a writer, but I am a passionate human being who likes to share his thoughts through writing and speaking forms. Follow me on this journey and let’s enjoy the ride together. Please connect with me if you have any comments or suggestions, as I would be glad to receive any of your feedback.

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Manu Kiza

Contrarian thinker, challenging the way we see the world and finding roots in being an outcast.