Twelve years ago today, my Bubba was born. He came home to my sister two months later, and five months after that, my sister left for the US and so began the story of Bubba and Me.
At first, I wanted nothing to do with “that dog”. But slowly, he crept into my heart and that was the first life lesson he taught me.
1. Bubba taught me to, at the very least, TRY.
By trying to allow him in my life, I opened up to a world of love I never thought possible. He taught me to try opening my heart despite the fear of what may lie ahead. He showed me the value of trying to open up to opportunities even if there was a possibility of failure. He showed me to try letting loose and having fun, even when I look silly or weird. Yes, my Bubba proved to me that if you at least try, you may be surprised at what comes your way.
2. Bubba showed me the importance of doing things that made you happy.
My Bubba loved two things: to eat and to take walks or make pasyal. And he took every opportunity to do that whenever he can and however often he could. Oh the things he ate, I tell ya. My mom and I had long arguments about one particular incident wherein he ate something no one should ever eat!
We took many walks and car rides together. It didn’t matter where we went, just the sight of his leash was enough to elicit joyous barks from him. Up to the end, Bubba loved his walks. And every time, he had to poop somewhere along his route! I learned the fine art of catching poop before it hit the ground and to dispose of it accordingly. I knew it was time to put him to sleep when, despite his strong desire and effort to push through it to take a walk, he could not get up and hobbled his way through a final walk. His desire for food dissipated weeks before his death, but I couldn’t bear it anymore when he no longer even wanted to walk.
3. Through Bubba, I learned the value of asking for what you need, but letting it be when you don’t get it.
I was lucky that Bubba was a friendly and kind dog. He was toilet trained quite easily and he was rather independent. However, he never hesitated to let me know what he needed, be it through gentle nudges with his snout, or more demanding barks in order to get me moving. Even in the depths of my darkest depression, he would ask me to get up to walk him, to bring him things, and to get out of bed. He knew, however, just how far to ask and when to just settle in and wait.
4. In the same way, Bubba taught me that it is important to let your feelings be known.
Bubba was not one to hold things in. When he was upset, you would know it. Despite him being a people-friendly and patient dog, he would let you know CLEARLY when he did not like something. He sure let me know how he felt about his brother! Hehe. When his needs were met and he was content, he was more than willing to share.
5. The most important, but most painful lesson I’ve learned through him is to LET GO OF THINGS WHEN IT IS TIME…even if you don’t want to.
Choosing to euthanize him was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. It has been the ultimate test of non-attachment and compassion. There are days when I still feel guilty for choosing to help him cross the bridge, even when I thinking brain knows it was the right thing to do. Letting him go paved the way for me to let go of other things as well. It showed me that life does go on even when your world is turned upside down, and helped me see that I am stronger than I thought I could be. More so, it is though losing him that I found that indeed, there is joy, even in sorrow.
I strongly believe that Bubba was a yogi in a previous life, and he came to my world in order to teach me things I try to learn on the mat, off of the mat. As I said in my farewell post to him right after he crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he saved my life in many, many ways. He the light that led me in the darkest nights of my soul. And now that he’s gone, there are days when that darkness creeps in, and when all seems lost, I just remind myself that there’s a rainbow out there, one where Bubba lies, waiting for me when I make it through the storm.
Happy birthday, my Bubba. I miss you extra today.