Updated: Jul 1, 2021
In the fall of 2020 all areas began to get more and more difficult in my life; I'd left a job I loved to help my partner revive his restaurant in the middle of the pandemic, our relationship was on the brink, and it felt like the more personal work I did, the more I was slowly watching my community, friends, work and love of my life fade away. My dog, Endo, seemed to have a knowing about him in which he could tell I needed a friend, some love, and most importantly; to get outside! At the time I couldn't see exactly what was happening with Endo and what he was doing. In my mind, I thought I was taking care of a dog that was becoming increasingly needy. Below is a brief explanation of just how Endo helped me find my way back to my adventurous self.
We lived on 40 acres, with the neighboring land open and essentially he had unlimited land to run and play on. Most days we would let him out and he was free to explore! He would play with the horses in the pasture next to us, roll in horse poop to be more like his horse friends. Chase squirrels, hunt for field mice and run around like the happy ranch pup he was!
But when my life began to lose its foundation, I was struggling to find something to hold on to, in every way possible it felt as my world was crumbling beneath me. Endo sensed this and suddenly he wasn't outside exploring and being his wild self, he was right at my feet....all day! He would go to the door and paw at it, when I opened it to let him out he would go outside, and if I didn't follow him, he pawed right back at the door to be let in. He didn't want to go outside - he wanted me to go outside.
After a few hours I would begin to feel bad for the wild animal being kept inside all day, I knew he was happiest outside when he was running around and carefree, enjoying the fresh air and I hated looking at him laying around, with sadness in his eyes. So, for Endo, I would put on my shoes and go outside with him. Before I knew it, we were running through the fields together; me skipping and throwing my hands out, and Endo hopping around to touch my hands as they were out and a target for him to jump towards. Together we explored the trees, jumped back and forth over the streams, ran free in the field and raced up the steepest hills to the top, where I would collapse and laugh at myself for thinking I could actually beat him up the hill!
Slowly I began to get into the routine of taking exploring/fun runs with Endo each day on the property. I recognized that once I got back home, I felt like a new person - new, but familiar, like a person I used to know a long time ago....I wasn't sure exactly what was happening, but I liked it. Day after day, Endo wouldn't go play or explore unless I joined him.
Over time I must have shifted my energy because Endo was back playing outside on his own, and whenever I looked out the window and saw him running across the field with a stick in his mouth, I accepted his invitation, put my shoes on and joined him in another adventure. I thought I was taking care of an animal that needs fresh air, to run, be wild, loved and appreciated. I had no idea at the time how similar Endo and I were. This dog is an incredibly accurate mirror for me. We both get overly excited, need to run, be wild, be loved, and appreciated exactly how we are, and in return we love unconditionally and are always ready to go outside and play.
Anytime I feel my patience running short, and I tell myself I don't have time to take Endo out or give him the run he needs, I often recognize that those are the moments I need a run the most.
Since that time on the property, almost every aspect of my life has changed on the outside. But because of Endo, I've been able to hold strong to the wild, nature loving, genuine and adventure driven part of myself that is really my most authentic self. It's easy to lose yourself when everything around you shifts and changes. Everything I thought my identity was tied to has changed. (I mean Everything: house, relationship, job, friends, community). While the outside world shifted and changed, with Endo by my side I also underwent my own transformation: becoming more myself than I have been in far too long.
Today, Endo and I continue to get outside, run, express our wild nature, stop and smell the flowers (or bushes), and it truly doesn't matter what else is going on in the outside world, we will always have our adventures to bring us back to ourselves and each other.