Lessons From Tu Pac

imageI bet when you read the name Tu Pac, you probably thought I was referring to the original gangster rapper himself. Yes, I know there have been many questions over the years as to whether he is still alive or dead. Well, the Tupac I am talking about is my 15 year old Chihuahua & Wired Hair Terrior mix.

Tu Pac celebrated his birthday on April 4, 2015. My little guy is 15 years old. In dog years he is 105 years old. I acquired Tu Pac when he was just eight weeks old. A guy walked up to me at the Denio’s flea market in Roseville, California and asked me if I wanted a dog. He said he couldn’t keep him and that if he didn’t find a home for him he would have to take him to the pound. When I laid eyes on him, it was love at first sight. He was so tiny and so cute. When I got him home he had a bit of an attitude. I am not sure what the little guy had been through in his short life but he was feisty.

He would run up on me and bite my toe or ankle. When guests came over to my house, he would run up on them as well; letting them know he was now running things. One time he ran up on my friend, Rhonda and tried to bite her. She scream at him, little dog, how are you going to run up on me like a gangster, like Tu Pac. We both started laughing. At that point, I hadn’t named the little guy. His aggressive attitude inspired me to name him Tu Pac.

I am very excited that my little guy is still on the planet. He received a diagnosis of bladder cancer October 2014 and was given 1-2 months to live. Not only is he still here, he is happy, active, and thriving. Something happens to your psyche when you receive news of a terminal diagnosis. After I got over the shock of the news, I begin to pay more attention to him. I begin to appreciate him more than ever. Don’t get me wrong, I have always treated my animals very well. I’ve been known to treat them to special home cooked meal every now and then. However, this was different. My senses had heightened and I began to notice everything about him. I began to take note of the many valued lessons, over the years, this little being has shown me.

imageWhen Tu Pac was first diagnosed, it looked very grim. He had a lot of blood in his urine. And he had to urinate often because his bladder is consumed by this large tumor, which doesn’t give him much room to hold his urine very long. The veterinarian prescribe medication to help reduce inflammation and narcotics for pain. I couldn’t believe the recommended treatments were the same as with humans. She suggested surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I said no way! If it was his time to go, I wanted him to go on his own terms.

I started him on his meds and he had a reaction. He started throwing up and his bowels were runny. He wasn’t eating. He was laying around and didn’t have much energy. I went to the pet store and bought different types of dog food and healthy specialty snacks. But, he just still didn’t have an appetite.

My partner began giving him daily Reiki treatments. I included him in my daily meditations. He would come into the room and just sit with me while I meditated. I prayed to God what to do and that I needed a sign when it was time to let him go. After about a week of taking the medication I begin to see improvements. He no longer had blood in his urine. He was eating and drinking again. The medication seemed to be working. Within two weeks, he was be back to his old self. My mind was so consumed with the terminal diagnosis. I was always wondering when it was going to happen. Would I one day find him dead or would I have to put him down to end his suffering? I would wake up in the middle of the night to check on him. I would check on him in the morning to make sure he was ok. I started coming home for lunch to check on him. It was very time consuming.

One day I came home from lunch and when he saw me his ears perked up. He ran over to me, he has this way of sitting up on his back paws, it makes him look like a prairie dog, and he was begging. He was begging for attention. He was begging for love. Needless to say, I gave him the biggest hug. It was as if he was trying to let me know that he was ok. He was ok with this diagnosis. I however, was not ok with it. I realized in that very moment, every day is precious and that I was wasting it on worrying about when he was going to die. Instead of being fully present in the moment and enjoying the time he had left.

From that moment on, we have lived every day as if it was his last. I stopped keeping him confined to just inside the house. My boy loves to go outside for walks. Since his illness, he has not been able to walk very far as he gets tired and needs to be picked up. I went on Craig’s list and searched for a baby stroller. I found a pretty nice one for $10. I brought it home. At first he was very suspicious. He didn’t want to ride in it because he wanted to walk. I let him out and he would walk for a while and then he would get tired. When he got tired, I picked him up and put him in the stroller. This went on several times, then one day, out of the blue, he actually wanted to give the stroller a try. It was as if he transformed. I picked him up and put him in the stroller. He stood on the tray, and he looked around the stroller to familiarize himself with his surroundings. When he realized that it was ok and he was safe, he stepped up on that tray and stuck his chest out like he was Wonder Dog. He is so cute. Now, I can walk for miles with him in the stroller and he doesn’t mind it a bit. As a matter of fact, he enjoys his daily ride.

Tu Pac is my special Zen guy. He wants to love everyone. He just wants us all to get along. He wants the outcome of peace in all situations. He is also a Sun Worshiper. He loves sitting in the back yard with his face toward the sun. He is a very easy going dog and I am so blessed to have him. He will give you his last. His last bit of energy, his last bit of attention and he will give you All of his love. He has a way of making you feel like you are the only person on that planet that matters. Not only does he do this with me, he does this consistently with everyone he comes in contact with. He has never met a person he didn’t connect with. Wait, there were two men he did not like. My brother and my friend Rhonda’s boyfriend. I think he didn’t like their energy. It was the Alpha dog kinda thing. When he met them, he began barking at them. Not only did he bark at them constantly, he barked and walked them to the door. He did not stop barking until they left. It was the funniest thing ever.

imageToday, I realized that I have learned so much from my little dog. I have also heard from many who have come in contact with him that they too have learned lessons from him as well. He is amazing! I am not just saying that because he is my dog. I also have another dog, Sa Sha. She is nothing like Tu Pac. She could care less if you are safe or ok. She just wants to be fed, taken on her walks, have a nice bed with covers to cuddle up and sleep in.

Not Tu Pac, I could be up working until the wee hours of the morning. He will stay up with me. He will wait for me. He will go to bed when I go to bed. He will not eat his food until I love him up first. In the meantime, Sa Sha will have already began to eat her food. I love them both but Tu Pac is a special being on this planet and I feel so blessed that he chose me to be on the journey with him. Tu Pac will be with you if are ill, sad, mad or just need a companion. He will check on you and make sure you are ok. He knows how to ask for love when he needs it and knows the importance of giving love back to you. He will lay on your chest and love you up. There is so much more I could say about my little buddy. But, I’ll sum it up best by sharing the lessons I’ve learned from my little gangster:

Show unconditional love daily.
Every day and everyone is special…so treat them that way.
Never be too tired to be with a friend and offer support.
Every day is precious so live it to the fullest.
When there is illness in my body, I can spiritually transcend beyond my physical conditions.
How to be a consistent-dependable-loyal-show-up-kind-of-person.
How to ask for love when I need it.
Recognize when to be still and allow healing to take place.
I don’t have to be strong all the time.
Allow others to help me when I need it
How to listen to my body and know how to take care of myself.
Chivalry is alive and well.
How to be strong in times of adversity.
How to be an Alpha dog.
Show up and be consistent no matter what.
Make love not war. Can we all just get along.
The definition of a true “Ride or Die.”

I ran across this quote from Shayne Martin about “Ride or Die.”

Been lookin’ for that ride or die for years, the one who I share a smile with and even shed tears, the one that makes my day and got me feeling so proud, and not leavin’ me stranded below this dark cloud, understand how I feel, love will never depart, don’t steal nothin’ from me except my heart, let me be who I am, let me be who I be, let’s not be shackled in depression, let’s set our love free. ~Shayne Martin