by Sarah Petruno, Shamana

This past year, my family suffered the loss of a friend and a loved one.

Our sweet dog, Mama.

A 65 pound German Shepherd mixed with a little bit of magic and who knows what, she entered our lives a short 4.5 years ago, at the age of about 2, as a rescue dog from a mechanic’s shop yard in Tijuana, Mexico.

and if rescue ever had a meaning, mama’s story into our lives is the most beautiful rescue story.

When she was found by the rescue organization, she was chained to a tiny outdoor doghouse, skin and bones, and starving, but somehow nursing 5 chubby puppies.

She was heavily abused, and lived in a makeshift mechanic’s shop yard, where she wore down her teeth chewing on and trying to gain sustenance from the nuts, bolts, and sheet metal that lay around her.

And yet, when the rescue organization cautiously approached this chained up, abused, and has-every-right-to-be-aggressive dog, she only had hugs, kisses, and love to offer – despite her treatment.

Mama Only Had Love To Give.

From that day forward, she was scooped up off the streets, along with those puppies, and brought into the home of a rescue worker. For 5 months, she was rehabilitated while her puppies were adopted, and she was given the personal care and attention she needed and deserved, before she was healthy and well enough to attend her first rescue event, in the parking lot of Pet Me Please, a local pet shop, in San Diego, California.

This is where I first laid eyes on her .  . . and fell in love. Without even asking my husband, I quickly made steps to fill out the paperwork to take her home and adopt her.

In just 3 days, she was ready to come home, and we met Mama again, this time with her rescuer, Jessica, at the Tijuana border crossing. She jumped right into our arms, our hearts, and our car.

At that moment – our lives and hers, were forever changed.

We hiked together, we walked together, we cuddled together on the couch, and we took trips to the dog beach, and to local lakes, rivers, and streams, for Mama to partake in the activities she loved the most, outside of hugging and snuggling – fetching balls and swimming. Ideally, combined.

mama, like many rescue dogs, taught us what it truly meant to love unconditionally, with a full heart.

She always had a hug to give when you needed one, and even when you thought you didn’t. She knew when you did – and didn’t even wait to be asked most of the time.

She touched so many lives with her sweetness and unending love, but she did share one special bond, and that was with my husband, Tom.

They Were Inseparable From Day One, Side By Side – Always.

Over the course of her time on this Earth, Mama traversed the entire spectrum, from fear to love, in a single lifetime.

From chained up, starving, and abused – to snuggling, hugging, and swimming – from fear, to love.

Mama’s physical existence in this lifetime ended. She died doing exactly what she loved with those she loved the most. In Mama’s last moments, she was hiking and took her last jump for a swim. Sadly, she fell on the way in and moments after the jump, she passed away, in my husband’s arms – with her heart full of joy and love.

With Mama’s passing, has come much reflection.

And today, I want to share with you the 9 things that Mama – and every pet – wants and wishes for their owners to know, after their Spirit crosses over.

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