I miss my Soul Dog every day. Every. Single. Day.
I miss her sass. I miss her silliness. I miss the way she’d sneak into the bedroom in the morning, slide along my side of the bed, and scoot her nose up under the blankets until I opened my eyes and looked at her.
Every part of my life was sweeter with her in it.
And every part of my journey is better because we lived it together.
I said goodbye to my Soul Dog, Kerouac, on August 12, 2021. Although we had 15 1/2 amazing years together, there’s still so much I wish we would have done. So much I wish we would have experienced. So much I wish we would have lived.
I know she’s always with me. And she’s still inspiring me to do things in her memory. It’s why I’m still out here planning experiences I wish we would have had together.
And it’s why I’m sharing them with you so you can live the journey with your Soul Dog too.
“Live the journey” isn’t just an idea.
It’s a rallying cry from my soul to yours. A reminder to be present in your moments. The good, the challenging – feel it all. Especially with your Soul Dog.
Don’t waste this time. Find freedom and life through experiencing beauty with the dog you love. Go on more than a walk around the block. Run. And be wild. Let your hair loose, and spread your arms wide.
To live the journey with your Soul Dog means spending your time taking in this wonderful life, and living every moment of it.
Eager to find out how you can get started? Download the Live the Journey With Your Soul Dog guide here.
Live the Journey with your Soul Dog – A call to adventure
If I had it all to do over again, here’s how I’d live with my Soul Dog.
We’d find our wildness at the coast.
My husband, James, and I took a road trip along the Washington Coast back in 2018, and the entire time all I could think of was how much I wished we’d brought Kerouac with us. We hadn’t yet experienced the various options for dog-friendly accommodations, and Airbnb wasn’t even on our radar yet. So when planning our trip, we didn’t really see a way to include her. I know better now, so if I had it to do over, I’d definitely bring her with.
The Washington coast is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s where my soul feels free and wild and deeply connected to being alive. And I’m obsessed with photographing dogs there.
If I had more time with my Soul Dog, this is one place we’d live our journey together.
We’d spend more time in the forest.
In the 1980s, my parents built a house located in the forest and on the beach. And then I was born in it. So I grew up climbing trees, making forts in the woods, and blazing trails through ferns. I’m pretty sure most of my clothes were bedazzled in sap, slug slime, and all kinds of treasures from the forest’s floor. I wish I had continued this level of wildness into my early adulthood, and shared it with Kerouac. We went to the forest, sure, but I wish we had had more adventures among the trees and ferns together.
The older I get, the closer I feel to that wildness of my childhood. And louder is the call to return to the forest and its magic.
Had I been listening more intently to this piece of myself before Kerouac reached her final months, we would have found ourselves among the trees much more often.
We’d seek out wildflowers.
In May 2022, I spent a few days in the Columbia River Gorge visiting the wildflowers. It was my first trip out there to see them in bloom. I invited my dad along to hike and stay in this 100-year-old farmhouse for a few days. We had a blast. We saw a rattlesnake, hiked through fields of wildflowers, looked out at amazing views of the gorge, and had a picnic beneath old oak trees. The day my dad left, I met up with a couple of friends to shoot photos for my SoulDog in The Wild project. We had an amazing evening hike through the wildflowers, and the photos turned out wonderful.
A couple of months after that trip to the wildflowers, my mom gifted me a poem she had had commissioned by a friend. It was a beautiful story about Kerouac and me.
I’ve always felt connected to wildflowers. Their ability to transform a scene – to add just a pop of color or a sweet scent among any landscape – feels like the ways we can show up in life. In small ways. In big ways. Our wild, beautiful moments – however long – can change everything.
If I could do it again, I’d pack Kerouac into the car, and we’d go find the wildest and sweetest wildflowers in all the land.
We’d swim and play in water.
When Kerouac was a puppy, she loved to chase waves along the shoreline of the Swinomish Channel in La Conner, Washington. This is where I grew up, and where we lived at the time. There was one small stretch of sandy beach where Kerouac got to run her beans out. I’d take her there several times per week when she was young, and let her run and run and run. She’d dig holes in the sand, jump over logs, and climb up the small sandy cliffs like a mountain goat. Every now and then, she’d wade into the water just far enough to get her belly wet, and then she’d come rushing back to shore like a crazed beast.
During Kerouac’s last couple of weeks before her death, I bought her a lifejacket to go swimming. It was hands-down the cutest thing she ever wore. We only used it once, and it made me realize I wish we had gone swimming together more.
If we had started earlier, I think we would have had fun hiking to waterfalls or paddling lakes together as she got older.
So if we could do it all again, we’d definitely dive in right from the beginning.
We’d watch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible.
Our last summer together, Kerouac and I had a great morning routine. We’d wake up early, I’d help her down the ramp to the yard to go potty, and then back up again to set up our spot on the deck for sunrise. My place was in the hammock, and hers was on her red rug within petting distance. We’d stay there together long after the sun came up. I’d read a book and watch the squirrels while she’d dream about chasing them. Every once in a while, she’d open her eyes, stretch her legs, and let out a deep sigh. “Me, too,” I’d say while reaching a hand out to pet her side.
Sunrise is my power hour. The ultimate refilling of my cup. When my soul is set on fire.
Sunset also lights me up, but in a different way. I feel more connected to people during sunset, and nature during sunrise. Maybe it’s because more people watch sunset, and it’s easy to imagine how we’re all present for it. With sunrise, I feel much more intimately connected to the birds and other animals around me in the morning. I feel like a wild thing, too. And, I feel most connected to Kerouac as the sun comes up.
If we got to do it all again, we’d find the best sunrise views across the land, and live them all together.
How to live the journey with your Soul Dog.
I created a guide with some soulful adventure ideas based on the above things I’d do with Kerouac if I could live the journey with her again. Inside, you’ll find lists of places to go to help answer a longing you might have. I’ve also included suggested reading of some of my favorite poems for each of the 5 types of adventures.