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  • Freya Savage

Lessons from Bonzii my best buddy

Yesterday Dad called me, he proceeded to tell me what I needed to do to protect myself, this is a way he shows love, by teaching, or as I see it 'telling me what to do' haha... I knew something was up because he went on about hand sanitisation much more intensely than the last few calls.  Then he said "something terrible has happened, Bonzii died". Bonzii is my best friend, my dog since I was 15. I brought him home without permission, and was ready to fight to the death to keep him, but he's pretty easy to love, so I didn't have to do much fighting. I'd run home from the bus station after school in total excitement to see him, and I still feel this way when I visit Dad where Bonzii lives, the entire trip I have the urgency to speed it up so I can touch his blond fur and cup his face in my hands. I had thought about him dying, I remember feeling like if he died my heart would break, I wouldn't know how to put it back together again. Yesterday Dad put the phone video and I watched as they buried him. He died of old age, out on the green grass stretched out as if he was sunning himself. I spent most of the day yesterday in ceremony for him, I walked up my favourite mountain in Koh Phangan to the highest peak and spoke to him, said goodbye, I wrote him a letter and a poem. I thought about what he had taught me, and here is what I learnt: Love, to love for no reason at all, because it's our nature. Bonzii would always be happy to see me no matter how long I'd been gone, there was no 'where have you been' 'you haven't been there for me so I'm taking my love away' nooo none of that. Trust, to trust that things are perfect and whole as they are. Bonzii never seemed to worry about what was going to happen next, he would never plan out his day, he was always be up for whatever was going on and didn't require any preparation mentally. He never asked how far we were going to run, or where we were going, he was just happy to go along for the ride. Resilience, to be solid in yourself, that there is no choice but to keep going, to get right back up, to surrender to what is. Bonzii never complained about what he could not change (he certainly told us what he wanted when he new it could be changed). In his younger days we would drive the car while he followed it- he had so much energy, a walk or a run was never enough so we went to drastic measures- He jumped over a tree stump and cut himself open, Dad didn't realise for sometime, Bonzii kept on running behind the car but had slowed down a bit. When Dad went out to check on him he was acting like there was no problem at all, even though his whole stomach was cut open! When we took him to the vet they were able to do procedures on him with out putting him to sleep because he was so chilled about it all, pain was no big deal, he found the space between the pain and his sense of self. Boundaries and consent, to express what you want and what you don't want clearly without fear of hurting anyones feelings. Bonzii was great at this in his old age. He's tell you what was up. Bark at you to let him outside, 3 mins later he'd bark at you to let him inside again, and this would go on and on, he didn't care if you were getting annoyed, he knew what he wanted and wasn't afraid to ask. If he wanted attention he'd come right up to you and put his head on your lap and in his old age he drooled a lot so you'd quickly push him away or obey his wishes. Let it all go, to not hold onto the past and not to take anything personally. In those moments where he'd be drooling all over me, I could just push him away and he'd take the hint, he'd find someone else, or take his attention elsewhere, but he didn't love us any less for saying no. He didn't hold on to it. He wasn't afraid to ask for what he needed again and again, even if we said no 100 times, he'd ask again, he never protected his heart from a no. I remember once I was playing soccer with him (he understood the rules, he'd push the ball with his nose and we'd both chase after it) and I kicked the ball as his mouth reached for it, I kicked him square in the nose. He just wanted to keep on playing, I cried when I thought about this yesterday, hoping that he knew I didn't mean to do that, that he knew I loved him. And I know he did. He was a ball full of love. I'm so grateful that I learnt to love like that and to be loved like that. I hear some people say they don't want pets because it's too painful when they die, but the love always lives on, love is never lost. Even in a relationship that has ended in the physical world, it never actually ends, the love and beauty of it still lives on. Love you buddy xxxx

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