The days are short but the years are long. It’s been a year since my sweet dog, Taylor, left this world. I never expected my feelings for one little dog to go so deep and be so intense.

The pain is still there–I think each time we lose someone we love, a little sharp yet numb spot is carved out in our hearts and memories that we will never fully recover. But every moment of sadness because she isn’t here now is worth the lessons I have learned from having her in my life and those that followed after she was gone. 

I got Taylor when she was 8 or 9 years old. An acquaintaince adopted her then decided she didn’t want her and with that, Taylor was to back for her final week at the SPCA. I couldn’t bear it and I took her in  as a “trial.” To this day, she never really left me. We had 5 precious years together. She was there through some of the most difficult moments of my life and I hers. 

Here are the lessons my dog taught me.

1. Forgive. 

It’s something we all want to be capable of and we find very admirable in others–but when it comes down to it, it’s really tough to feel and carry out. The result in holding out on true forgiveness? We continue to play the role of the victim. 

Taylor was mistreated and abused and could have brought that disposition in to her new life. Instead, she taught me that good things come from forgiveness. Dogs don’t hold grudges. They forgive and love. And their lives are whole from that very capability. 

2. Follow Your Intuition. 


Dogs are led by and rely on their instincts. We’ve got the same inner guides but many of us are out of touch with our intuition. Often, we get a guttural feeling that something’s not right with a situation but with so many other cues being thrown at us at once, we don’t listen. Taylor seemed to know when to react, when to be scared, when to play and when to comfort. It’s important to trust in our own intuition. 

3. Stay Curious. There’s Always More To Learn.

My dog was inquisitive about the world. She was always investigating, sniffing and digging up the next big thing (for a dog). She taught me that we should always stay curious. The moment we stop seeking is the moment we stop moving forward. Life is better spend a curious student…or dog.

4. Connect. 

Relationships feed the soul. But we get bogged down with other responsibilities and distractions and the first thing to get neglected are our relationships. Dogs live for connection. They need our time, attention and love. I learned from Taylor that there is nothing more powerful than the human touch, figuratively and literally. No matter what. don’t neglect the opportunities for true connection in life.

5. Live Your Life To Serve Others. 

Perhaps one of the most important lessons I learned from my little dog was that happiness comes from serving others. Unconditionally, she followed me and gave me her loyalty and love. It was a constant reminder that the joy in my life would come from serving others the same way she did me. 

When we serve others because we want to serve them–not because we want something in return–ironically, the act itself is so much more rewarding.  Serve out of love with no stipulations or expectations of anything in return and everything will become more clear. 


I hope that I am living my life as the person my dog would have wanted me to be. She taught me that every single day is special in some way and that when we take the time, joy is always there for the taking. 


Dogs Shih Tzu Joy

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