Just over 7 years ago my life changed forever – I adopted my darling Asia, a 1.5 year old abandoned Pitbull Mix with a timid and unsure demeanour but a heart of gold she couldn’t hide. I fell in love instantly and began a life with her by my side, a life neither of us could have imagined embarking on together. There have been so many highs and lows, taking us from Vancouver to Calgary, but one thing remained constant and that was the bond that we shared. It is remarkable how a dog can connect with their owner in such a profound way that the relationship resembles that of a mother and daughter bond. Of course, with several differences that do not compare to a real baby, but my fur baby is genuinely and whole-heartedly my daughter. It is hard to put into words the bond we share but I thought it would be great to share with you the Top 12 things Asia has taught me over the years. So here it goes…
- The Power of Unconditional Love:
Asia is a dog that wears her heart on her sleeve and well, that sleeve is just oozing with love. There is not a single important person in my life who has met Asia and not been covered in endless kisses from her. And, if I am honest there are many strangers that have received the same treatment. Asia is the cuddliest Pitbull you will ever meet and her favourite place is to be under the covers right by your side. No matter what kind of mood I am in or how I have been to her, she will undoubtedly shower me with love. I take great comfort in my time with her and it truly is my happy place – Asia time is my favourite time.
- Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover
Asia being a Pitbull Mix has received a ton of negative attention. When I first adopted her even my closest family and friends were sceptical and asked me why I would adopt her breed. The answer: take every negative stereotype of Pitbulls and she is the complete opposite, I mean EVERY stereotype. She is a perfect example of why we should never judge a book by its cover. The other aspect of this lesson is that she had taught me to not judge others, as she approaches every human in every walk of life the same. The way that she can approach a homeless man on the street and the well-dressed businessman in the exact same way is so humbling. It makes me genuinely feel like a proud momma. Don’t get me wrong, she is cautious when she feels bad vibes, but the point is that she isn’t influenced by outward appearances. A good person is a good person and deserves to be treated that way.
- Live Fearlessly & Full of Adventure
Asia is a dog without limitations; adventurous to say the least. I will always remember the first walk after her adoption that I let her off leash. She ran like she had never touched ground before. Jumping, twisting, turning, and going full speed ahead. Which resulted in a full force sprint through some very tall grass, and suddenly… a big splash…silence…and then she emerges covered in muddy pond water from head to toe. The look on her face was priceless and there was definitely a moment of shock, but that didn’t last long. Watching Asia in new environments (especially outdoors), there is never a jump that’s too high or a destination that’s impossible to reach in her nooks. This gal just goes for it!
- Trust the Journey
Asia has been along for the ride and let’s just say that hasn’t always been a smooth ride for the last 7 years. Without question, she has trusted the journey that I have taken her on and hasn’t skipped a beat. Our journey took us from Vancouver to Calgary and several homes in between, but as long as we had one another we knew everything was going to be okay. Things happen for a reason, and as twisted as it may seem and many things I still to this day am unclear of the reason, I trust it will one day make sense to me. Asia has shown me the importance of just moving forward.
- You are Resilient
Asia is one resilient and strong soul. The true test of our strength was on a November day of last year when we got lost in the Kananaskis Mountains in below zero weather with uncertainty if we were going to make it out safe and sound. There were so many moments of weakness and self-doubt that came over me in those moments, but they were quickly transformed into power and confidence as I watched her fight through the conditions with such determination. She is one fierce warrior and her fight through many battles has proven to me that we have no excuses; we can get through anything if we put our mind to it.
- Make Time For You and Only You
Asia unapologetically takes time for herself to do whatever she wants to do daily, even just for a short time. This is something I need to still work on and often struggle with as I feel like I have to justify why I deserve time to do me. When I am with Asia and I see her taking her moments to herself and it reminds me that it is okay to do the same for myself. She puts me at ease. We all deserve time for ourselves to do what makes us happy!
- The Strongest Communication Doesn’t Come With a Voice
Oh those puppy dog eyes, they have a message to share! Asia is not a vocal dog at all – she only ‘speaks’ on command for treats and barks when she is in super protective mode and we are in danger. All of her communication comes from her eyes and her body language. They say, “Actions speak louder than words,” and she is a true example of this. I am always made more aware of my non-verbal communication after spending a day with her.
- Find Pure Joy in the Simple Things
The greatest joys come from the simple moments and just a few of her favourite things; there is no reason why it cannot be the same for us. I will admit Asia is very spoiled and has way more toys and things that she needs. But the reality it, she doesn’t need all of that. Her favourite toys are sticks and a dollarstore squeaky fish who’s missing an eye from years of play. Her happiest times are spending quality time with the people and dog friends she loves. She reminds me of the realization I came to in 2016 and my motto for 2017 – “Collect Moments Not Things.”
- Positivity Comes From Forgiveness
Asia was abandoned and lived a life before the adoption that I will never know all the details about, but I can say that it was very obvious the things that made her uneasy at first and her hesitation to trust. Over time all of those hesitations disappeared once she forgave humankind and trusted with faith that it won’t happen again. Now she has a wonderful life full of love and security; it’s truly a magical thing.
- You Are Who You Want to Be
Asia is a 70-pound, pure muscle, solid beauty – she thinks she is a 15-pound, delicate and dainty lap dog. She owns it! In her mind, she thinks we are nuts wondering how she feels this way. She’s a snuggly, loving, lap dog and no one is going to tell her otherwise. Her confidence and drive in all that she does is remarkable to watch, at times quite hilarious, and a reminder to be whoever the heck you want to be! Don’t let anyone stop you!
- The Beauty of the Nature Surrounding Us
Asia’s happy place, other than snuggling in bed, is outdoors in Mother Nature. When she gets outside she has pep in her step that is undeniable. She makes me curious and we discover hidden gems all the time living life without abandon when we are outside with no limits. There is so much beauty in the beautiful nature surrounding us, and Asia reminds me to stop and take it all in.
- That I Am Not Alone
This last statement requires no more explanation than the fact that I can confidently say that if I didn’t have Asia by my side these last 7 years, I am not sure where I would be. I owe her so much for standing by my side through it all and am so grateful to have her in my life. Fur baby love is real love, and if we stop for a moment to observe the lessons they have to teach simply through their existence, we have a lot to learn.
Asia is my heart, my soul, and my everything – she is my first baby and my rock! Momma loves you sweet girl. Thank you for all you have taught me and continue to teach me everyday!
Jody Belanger xoxo
Co-Founder of I Like Her Style Vancouver