What I Learned From Our 14-Year Old Angel Mekah

Mekah was always there for us.  Through nine moves in four different states.  Through the loss of our first dog Chinook.  Through a marriage and two kids.  For 14 years, she was the one consistent in our life.

I remember the day we went to pick her up in Kentucky.  We pulled up to an old white trailer in the woods and immediately saw a pack of Husky pups running around the back yard.  My heart jumped in my chest when the breeder showed me our girl.  I was instantly in love.

On our way home, I remember being so excited to take her back to our apartment to meet her new Alaskan Malamute buddy Chinook.  Then we got home and it took an unexpected turn.  Upon getting there, she immediately started to snarl and attack my socks!  My immediate thought was, Oh no…we got ourselves a feisty one!

But it actually ended up not being that at all.  You see, it turns out when Mekah had to use the bathroom, this was how she told you.  Once we figured it out, it actually made potty training an absolute breeze.  And no, she didn’t continue this into adulthood as a full grown, 80-pound dog!

Instead, she turned into the sweetest dog we have ever owned.  It sounds strange after hearing about her puppy bathroom behavior, but she was so gentle and unassuming.  She was always happy just being in the background providing you love whenever you needed it.

Her one downfall.  She was a world-class escape artist in her younger years.  Mekah had an uncanny ability of jumping fences, escaping cracked doors and somehow slipping out of harnesses on walks.  She was the Houdini of Huskies when it came to escaping and running wild.

But after a few hours, we always found her and brought her back home.  She just needed the chance to run all out without any boundaries from time to time.  We just needed her back because she was an important part of our family.

Eventually Mekah settled in and became the elderly dog in our clan.  She was the one that you NEVER had to worry about around your kids.  If she didn’t like something, she just turned her head and found a place away from the action.

It’s interesting because life goes by in a flash when you are having fun.  All of a sudden, you blink and your once adorable Husky pup is now a 14-year old dog deteriorating in front of your eyes.  I guess this is life.

Then a day comes when you look in her eyes and know that the time you dreaded is coming.  You always know that this is going to happen, but it is never the same when you finally realize that she isn’t going to be with you much longer.

So, as I held her for one of the last times, I thought about how I just wanted to remember her for exactly what she was.  I knew I couldn’t keep her, but if I captured it just right, I would be able to look back and never forget what I learned from her.

You see, it turns out that dogs are often better at teaching lessons for life than we are.  They don’t complicate things like humans.  Instead, they just get up every single day with one sole purpose: to love you.

I cannot possibly capture all of the things I learned from Mekah, but I can give you the most important ones in a nutshell.  I found it interesting that the lessons I learned from this incredible creature are more than enough to live a great life.

1 – Unconditional Kindness: If there is one thing I will ALWAYS remember about Mekah, it was that she was remarkably kind. NO. MATTER. WHAT.  It didn’t matter if she had a steak in her mouth or if she was not feeling well.  She would NEVER growl or snap at you.  It was just not in her nature.  I have learned that this is VERY unique for a Husky because they are pack animals.  She didn’t feel the need to prove anything.  Well, that isn’t quite accurate.  She just wanted to show you that she loved you every single day.  I only hope I can someday live to this type of standard.

2 – Sometimes You Just Need to Go For It: I’ve already mentioned how Mekah was a professional escape artist when she was younger. When she decided it was time to go, she would find a way to escape and literally run for hours.  Meeks flat out WENT FOR IT when she got the urge to run!  It used to drive me crazy worrying about her, but I totally get it now.  She was meant to run as a Husky and from time to time she just needed to go for it.  Lucky for us the other thing she was meant to do was love us like CRAZY!  She always returned to do this for our family.

3 – You Don’t Need to Be the Center of Attention to Be Memorable: This might be the single most important lesson I ever learned from Mekah. She was not wired in a way where she needed to be in control nor did she need to be the center of attention.  She was just content being in the background ready to serve you whenever necessary.  Even when we got a flashy new, younger buddy Kira who everyone loved, she didn’t feel the need to change who she was to get people’s attention.  Sometimes I worry way too much about what things mean for me.  I need to take a lesson from Mekah and just pour into others without expecting anything in return.

4 – Unconditional Love: This one is simply a dog thing and this is what makes them so incredibly special. Mekah loved us every single day of her life.  It didn’t matter if you had a bad day.  Or if you got fired from your job.  She just loved you because you were ALWAYS enough for her.  As I reflected on this lesson, I realized that I need to do this more with my family, friends and people I work with.  Because who doesn’t want to feel cared about and loved unconditionally?!?!  This is the greatest gift you can give to someone who matters to you.

5 – Life is Short…Don’t Waste It!!!: In the final moments where I laid with my girl as she gasped for air, I learned my most powerful lesson from Mekah. Watching life run its course in the final stages is a humbling, profound process to witness.  Yet the most interesting thing happened as I observed her approaching death.  I was not overwhelmed with sadness like I might have expected in a moment like this.  Instead, I sat in awe of the process of life and felt complete gratitude that God had blessed us with this angel.  And I was just thankful that for a few moments I was the one who had the opportunity to be there just loving her with all my heart.  As she took her final breath, I was reminded of how short life is and how I don’t want to waste one single moment of it.  It’s just too precious to give it away to things that will never matter.

I remember distinctly the love that I had for Mekah the day that we brought her home from Kentucky.  That love grew every single day because of the amazing creature that she was.  As I wrote this post, I realized that Brandy and I will NEVER forget her.  It is just impossible because she was the dog that was with us when our entire family started.

She was there the day that we got married.  She was there when both of our kids arrived.  She was there when I got fired from my job at UNC.  For 14 incredible years, she was always there.  And while she may not be here now, I will always remember her for all the times she showed up to love us in what will always be one of the most important times of our life.

So I live today for you Mekah.  I just hope I can live a day the way that she lived every single day of her life.  In a way that only special dogs can do.  The only caveat is I have no plans of escaping.  I just want to be here loving the people close to me unconditionally so I don’t waste the opportunity to create an extraordinary life.

Thanks for the lessons Meeks!  We will miss you!!!