If you knew your loved one only had three months to live, would you love them harder?
This is something I’m currently experiencing with my dog, Rocket.
He has three months left, and I am loving him so hard. I’m throwing the ball 40 times a day, giving him all the treats, and letting him sleep in the middle of the bed.
I love loving this dog, and it has inspired a lot of insights about loving hard.
In this episode, I share some of the thoughts I’ve had since finding out my dog only has three months left to live. Most of us don’t know when our time is or when our loved ones’ times are, but we can choose to love them harder today.
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What you will discover
- What I’ve realized since learning my dog is dying.
- Why unconditional love is the best.
- How good it feels to love hard.
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You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo episode 412.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
So, today I’m going to record a podcast that will be incredibly challenging for me to record. So, there will be lots of pauses. But I’m going to do my best to get through it. It’s about my dog. It’s called love Hard.
My dog is dying; my little guy, Rocket. So, I wanted to do a podcast on this for y’all because I’m learning so much about love.
My beloved dog Rocket is dying the vert gave him three months to live. I can’t stop crying. I already miss him, and he’s right here. I decided to take a road trip with him and Rory – okay, this is funny actually. It might have not been a good idea – from my penthouse in Austin to a dog-friendly home in Scottsdale.
And I was laughing because I’ve been on this road trip and I’ve been texting my friends and telling them, “I’m in a minivan with all my luggage in that back and the dogs.” And if you’ve ever done this drive, it’s tumbleweed. That’s what we’re talking about. It’s West Texas. It’s boarded-up towns that are out of gas. It’s scariness.
There’s scary people that have been saying scary things to me. And I took my dogs on some walks and I thought I was trying to keep them safe. And I almost had – a pit bull jumped out of someone’s yard and was trying to kill my dogs. It’s just been quite an adventure. My back has been killing me.
But it’s also been actually really good for me. My friend Tonya said, “You’re such a contrast.” She’s like, “You’re the only person I know that would get in a minivan with her dogs and drive 20 hours when you could throw your dogs in a private jet and get there in an hour.” But I just wanted to do this with them.
And so, it’s crazy. Me and my dogs, we had to stay at dog-friendly hotels, right? So, we stayed at the Marriot Suites. I can’t remember what it’s called; something Suites.
And in the middle of the night – I literally left all my clothes on. I don’t know what was happening. But in the middle of the night, the car alarm went off. And when I was planning this trip, my assistant had said to me – my travel assistant had said to me, “I’m not recommending this trip for you. I don’t think you should have all your stuff in the car while you’re staying at a hotel. Somebody could steal it.”
And so, of course, that was in my head. So, this car alarm went off in the middle of the night and I jumped up and I was sure someone was stealing al my stuff. And I ran outside half-dressed and looked for the minivan to see if someone was stealing my stuff.
I really do feel like we could be having a reality show. There should have been cameras. Because what was I about to do? Me and Rocket are running outside. Rory didn’t even get out of bed. He’s like, “It’s fine.”
Rocket and I are running outside, like, what are we going to do if someone’s trying to steal my stuff? I’m, like, barefoot, fully dressed. Oh gosh, what a scene, my friends. What a scene.
I feel like, you know, I drive a Tesla, so I forget that you have to get gas in cars. And you can’t forget to get gas when you’re on this drive because there’s so many long stretches of road with no gas.
And so, I finally made it to one and I went in and the guy was like, “Yeah, we’re out of gas.” I’m like, “What? You’re a gas station. My GPS said you’d have gas. What do I do now?”
It was very scary. It was very sketchy. I almost didn’t make it. I finally did. I’m okay. I got to Tucson and they had me staying at the Ritz-Carlton because they’re dog-friendly. And it’s just been heaven. It’s amazing here.
Shoutout, the Ritz-Carlton in Tucson is gorgeous and it has hiking trails all over the place. So, even though Rocket, he only has three months to live, right now he’s totally fine. He’s totally normal. So, we’ve been just hiking like crazy. It’s so great.
I can’t stop kissing him. He doesn’t know he’s dying. He wants me to throw his ball like 40 times, and I do. He wants to sleep in the middle of my bed, and he does. He wants lots and lots of treats, and he gets them.
I sat at lunch out on the patio with him by my feet at the Ritz-Carlton here, which is very dog-friendly. And people want to pet him and love him and tell him and me how cute he is. We hike for hours and I watch him run and frolic and chase bunnies. And then, I cry through lunch. I’m sitting at lunch just sobbing with my sunglasses on, and on hikes, and before I fall asleep.
I try to love him harder. Like, how do you love harder, to give it all to him at once? I notice everything about him, like his little teeth, his little underbite. It’s so cute and crooked. And his teeth can’t quite fit all the way in there. So sometimes, they hang out. and his pink tongue sticks out from time to time.
I notice this huge growth on his leg; the one, the inoperable one, the one filled with the poison, with the cancer. This dog loves me. He follows me and obeys me to perfection. He likes me. He licks me. He sits by me. He chases me. He never wants me out of his sight. He’s so cute.
When I come back into the room, he celebrates me every time. He’s so excited that I’ve appeared in his world. He spins in a circle. He wiggles his little button of a tail until his whole body shakes.
It’s so crazy, y’all because, as I go through this, nothing else matters to me. Not money. Not business. Not success. Not service. Not contribution. Just Rocket, his face, his ball, his treats.
I love loving this dog. I love being with this dog. It’s just so simple, you know. I thought a lot about it. It’s just unconditional love. That’s what it is. It’s like the best part of the human experience. It’s the sweetest experience we get.
I have three months to love him and to be loved by him. And then, I realized how hard I’m loving, and how good it feels and how pure it is and how amazing it is, and how nothing this dog does bothers me. And I sat and looked at him for such a long time, and I realized, you know what? We’re all dying.
We don’t know how long we have. We don’t know how long any of us have. None of us know when we’re going to lose someone. I look at Rory. He doesn’t know that Rocket’s dying. Rocket doesn’t know tat Rocket’s dying. I don’t know who has it better; me or them.
I get to know, so I get to love him harder. I get to love him more. I get to appreciate him on such a deeper level. And then, I wonder, how can we love each other knowing this? How could we love each other this hard? Look at that person next to you. Look at your spouse. Look at your kids. Look at your animals. Look at yourself.
How can you love yourself this hard? How can we drop into the pure joy and pain of life right now?
I will love better knowing Rocket, and the choosing that I’ve done to love him, the choices that I’ve made right now to be with him and to love him will make me better.
Look around. You never know. Love each other harder.
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