If you follow me on Instagram then you are aware that this past week I had to say goodbye to my dog Noah. It's truly amazing how much my four legged best friend added to my life. I got Noah when I was in a low part of life. I had just finished up a miserable Freshman year of college. I went out with a bang, spending the end of my Freshman year in the hospital due to meningitis. I had made the decision to return home to Colorado from California where I had been attending college at Cal State Long Beach. Going into my Sophomore year, I would be attending the University of Denver. I believed this change would be the answer to my problem of loneliness and lack of friendships. Right around this time is when I made the best and worst decision to get the most adorable yellow lab. I selected him out of the litter because he had the most fat rolls. It was definitely love at first sight!
There I was, a Sophomore in college, spending my Friday nights at home with my dog and Ben & Jerry's. I never was one for partying and the fact that I was the biggest introvert only added to my time at home. Needless to say, the transferring to a different college did not solve my problems. To make a long story short, I eventually found my way back to Cal State Long Beach where a lot improved the second time around. Through these ups and downs I was so thankful to have Noah, my full of energy yellow lab, to come home to.
All seemed to be going smoothly for a year or two. I had come to love my school, made lots of friends and was in the best shape of my life. Then in one night it all came crashing down around me. This was the night that I found out my parents had been in a motorcycle accident together. They had hit an elk late at night in Taos, New Mexico. To keep these long stories short, that night my mother passed away in transportation to the hospital. In the midst of all this, the one anchor I had yet again was Noah.
Fast forward through years of struggling with a father who was suffering from a brain injury, his remarriage, being cut out of his life, working four jobs to make ends meet, moving (at least) yearly and attempting to find a relationship. If it wasn't for my relationship with God, my Aunt, friends who took me in like family and my constant companion Noah then I am not sure how I would have made it through those years.
I share a quick glimpse into my life to shed light on Noah's importance. He was more than just a dog, he was my safety blanket. I always had him to come home to, to cry on, to go on a walk and escape life with. I thank God for blessing me with the cutest dog with the best personality. Anyone who met Noah can attest to the fact that he was full of character. Through his goofy and loving nature Noah taught me many things that I would like to share with you.
1) Never take life too seriously. Noah was known for running into walls or doors. He was always goofy, playful and just wanted to have fun. He always managed to make me laugh even when I just wanted to cry.
2) Enjoy the good life. Noah definitely enjoyed the good in his life. He would get excited for every meal, scoop of peanut butter, game of fetch or couch time. He always appreciated what he was given and made it the most of it.
3) Love unconditionally. Noah had the biggest heart. His love was constant. Whether I had just taken him out to play fetch or he had been home alone for hours on end. He always showed me the same amount of love.
4) The closer you get to someone the more they let you in. Noah was the best at inching his head into someone's lap. If that didn't get across the fact that he wanted to be petted, he would proceed to lift up their hand or arm with his nose. Eventually all would break down and give Noah their attention. He had a way of opening people up, even when they weren't necessarily dog people (I still can't believe those people exist).
5) Always find the good. No matter what Noah was facing he always was full of love and happy. He went through radiation and countless surgeries to remove mast cell tumors from his body. Noah had more than enough reasons to mope around and be sad. However, he ultimately would be comforting and trying to cheer me up.
6) Don't care what others think. Noah, especially in his old age, had a way of letting one rip. He would do it unapologetically. Now I'm not saying to go around doing that, but I know we all could put less concern into the opinions of others.
7) Never give up. Since Noah was a puppy he had a habit of dragging a toy out, laying it in someone's lap and then sitting. He would wait semi patiently for this toy to be thrown across the room. Nine times out of ten the toy was never thrown. Yet, he would still try in hopes he would get that one person to cave.
8) Have a strong bark, but a soft heart. If someone knocked on the door or came too close to me during a walk, Noah ultimately would bark at them. Yet, within moments of meeting the person he would be wagging his tail begging them for attention.
9) Don't let anyone stop you from having a voice. I think a signature of Noah was the way he loved to talk. It wasn't that he was barking to bark, but he would bark in response to you talking to him. He loved to talk and wanted to be heard. With all my efforts to stop this habit he never lost it.
Hopefully you can take some teachings from Noah and apply them to your life. Regardless, I have to say Noah will be missed in my life and those closest to me. I am not ready to battle my cancer journey without him, but know he waited until I was in good hands to leave me! Love you Noah!