I am not sure what lineage my teacher was from – she was a mutt. But in her short time here on earth and in my life, I learned a great deal from her. I have read that animals can be great teachers to us as humans, but I never imagined just how true that was. First, she taught me unconditional love, how important and beautiful it can be to both give and receive. No matter how cranky, how shitty my mood, she was always so delighted when I walked into a room, and no matter how bad I felt, she could always bring a smile to my face. She not only taught me that I deserved to be loved unconditionally, but that I was capable of giving it back as well, and that is a real gift. Don’t get me wrong, my wife is the most important being in my life, and her loss would be absolutely devastating. And, as I stated before, I am not a parent yet. But the purity that exists with an animal, it is an unconditional love that in my experience does not exist between humans. Perhaps that is another, greater lesson that I have yet to learn. Next, she taught me impermanence. No matter how much we want a being to be in our lives forever, this can never be. Granted, at 5 years, she died way before her time, but that is only my perception. Everything dies eventually. It may seem so wrong, the grief, for all the pain it brings, for the suffering of those left behind, but it is what it is. And it represents a necessary part of our lives, something we will all have to face, and ultimately a potential source of growth for us all. Finally, she is continuing to teach me the lesson of how attachment leads to suffering. This is a lesson that I think I will be learning in one form or another for the rest of my life. Attachment is such an inherent part of our culture, that once we start to become aware of it, we realize what a motherfucker it is to overcome. She was a ray of light, and light shines, but can never be held onto.