Dakota (“Cody”) 1991 – 2013

Dakota (“Cody”) 1991 – 2013

Last month I said good-bye to my dear friend, Dakota. He was a cherished member of our family for 10 years and we shared a very special bond. He was a strong-willed boy and it took years to gain his trust and respect, but once we crossed that bridge, he let me know that I was his best friend and the bright light in his day.

But what he gave me was so very much more. And it wasn’t until his passing, that I came to understand the true depth.

At the time, I was participating in Oprah & Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Meditation Challenge. Day 17 was about the importance of ‘play time’ and creative expression. “How many of us really have fun every day?” Chopra asks as he takes us back to our youth…exploring our neighborhood… ‘every bug, plant, rock and song you sang with your childhood friends.’ All of it was new ‘and each activity brought with it a flood of ideas and creativity.’ He explains that experiences like these are for ‘glimpses of the soul, rooted firmly in the present, and impervious to time.’

As adults, we often do not make time for such experiences – moments that are truly in the now leaving the past and future behind.

Dakota was my in-the-moment wonder. If I arrived at the barn talking on my cell phone or going through the motions with my head elsewhere, he got irritated. When I made a conscious effort to leave it all behind and to focus on him, he was in heaven – and my greatest joy. We would walk bareback in silence and marvel at the snowcapped mountains in the distance, or perk up in wonder at what could be hiding behind that shaking tree limb. Cantering across green fields made me feel like a child again and my spirit was free.

I realize now the magic of that gift. “Our spirit is our source of creativity,” notes Chopra. Dakota’s spirit put me in touch with my own. “It is through play and experimentation that some of our best ideas rise to the surface spontaneously.” I felt my best when I was with him.

I can only hope that each and every one of you has an in-the-moment wonder. A time when you embrace the present and take notice of the many magnificent things around you. When you ‘let go of rigid fixed beliefs, release your fears, and remain open to being your most creative.’

I miss my boy so very much, but I know his spirit is now free of the burden and pain that illness can bring. I am eternally grateful for his love, trust and friendship, and the many wonders he shared with me.

With love and gratitude,

Lauren Del Sarto

Lauren Del Sarto

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Comments (12)

  • Ah I am so sorry for your loss. I deeply understand..you brought tears to my eyes this morning when I read this.

  • Linda Jeckel

    Lauren I am very sorry to hear of your loss of Dakota. The animal human bond is a very special one, and my heart goes out to you and your family. Take care.

  • Michelle Soltesz

    Lauren – what a beautiful article. I’m so sorry about the loss of Dakota and as you know, can definitely relate to your pain. Your words about being “in the moment” are very inspiring to me, however, and something we should all continue to try and achieve no matter where we are in life’s journey…. M.

  • Hi, Laurie – so sorry to hear of the loss of your horse, pet, friend. One of the wonders, and one of the troubles, with animals is they can get so close to you – and you to them. Congratulations on the success of your newsletter. Please pass our love to your mother. Our best to you.

    Jim & Judy

  • Lauren, I was very touched by your article. It made me pause and recognize that too often we do not silence ourselves long enough to reach our true bliss.

    Your loss is deep, I am certain. Yet, because of your spiritual connection Dakota will certainly always be with you.

    My best,

  • Beautiful Tribute Laur – you truly gave each other a gift. I look forward to those “In the Moment” wonders. Love, Jenn

  • Lauren, I am at the Bavarian forest, Germany and just read your article here. I am so sorry for your loss – do you remember that I met Dakota while I was with you? I think of you and your family. Love Rosi

  • Joy Richardson

    Lauren…I just got your email and read the full story through tearful eyes. The loss of a dear animal is SO hard…the memories live on forever though – and – your story about you and Dakota is BEAUTIFUL!

  • Sally Lynum-Lee

    What a wonderful gift our special animal friends give us – a look, a concern, sometimes quiet pentetating eyes looking into our soul, pleading us to stop and feel the moment together, realizing all too well these sharing moments may be lost and gone before we know it. Thanks for sharing your story of the love and friendship you had with Dakota.

    • Thank you so much Sally. And also for the book recommendation. Safe travels to you, Brad, Buddy and Beebee. See you next season! Lauren

  • Lauren,

    What a loss you have suffered, yet what a gift you gained all at once. You were blessed to have him as he was you. Even more blessed are you with the enlightened awareness you possess, thanks to the gift Cody boy gave you, of the importance of ‘free spirited play time’. I will cherish his spirit.


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