Today I'm going to make myself extremely vulnerable and tell you something I have never shared with anyone.
Recently, I started working with a business mentor. One of her techniques is to reach deeeeeeeeeeeeep within yourself to find your WHY. WHY do you do what you do? WHY do you feel the way you do about certain things? Etc.
I have been on an emotional journey trying to find my why. And along the way, I realized some things.
First, I was asking myself why do I feel this connection to animals. Why am I so passionate when it comes to dogs?
My answer brought me back to before I was 12 years old, a turning point in my life due to devastating loss.
My parents were divorced and I would go visit my Dad every other weekend. My Dad had a dog named Conan. He was a black German Shepherd with a white diamond on his chest AND HE WAS MY WORLD. No matter how many times my Dad moved, Conan was always there. He showed me the same amount of love, excitement and most of all comfort, no matter where on the map he was.
The first thing I did when I got to my Dads EVERY SINGLE TIME was run to Conan and he was always excited to see me. I would sit with him and let him give me his paw a thousand times. I would pick the little patches of shedding fur from off his hips and make mini Conans. I would scratch his neck under his collar until his back leg shook so hard it would knock him over. He was absolutely everything to me and it killed me on Sundays when I had to leave.
The last time I remember seeing him was on the weekend of my 12th birthday. We went to my Grandmas that Sunday to celebrate. When getting out of the car, someone dropped my cake in the driveway. I can't quite pin point what emotions everyone else had but I remember seeing Conan and laughing at him trying to eat the cake while my Dad scraped it off the ground.
5 days later, my father took his own life. And shortly after, Conan got really sick and had to be put down. This was my first experience with tragedy. And my entire world changed after that.
Conan was my heart dog. He was my constant when things were changing. And some of my favorite childhood memories of my Dad, have Conan in them.
Why is this so significant in what I do?
Conan was my happy place. No matter what was going on in my personal life, he made it all disappear by simply providing comfort and being that constant I always knew was there.
For many of us, that's what our dogs are. They are our refuge. They are our safe place, our comfort. We have such a connection to them because they've felt all of our burdens, our sorrows, our excitements, our emotions. They've experienced things with us that no one else has. Not our parents, not our children, not our partners. No one but them.
So while this may not be all of my WHY, it is a gigantic part of who I am and why I have such an appreciation for dogs and celebrating our relationships with them.
Here is a picture of Conan. Sadly, I don't think I have any of the two of us together.