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Self Empowerment – Living Your Life to the Fullest

Lessons from My Beloved Canine


“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” ~Roger Caras

Sometimes life lessons come to us in the most unexpected ways…

Tiki was like a true family member, and I am certain he was a wise old soul in canine form. And he was my beloved companion for nearly 14 years…

I taught him how to “sit” and “stay” but he taught me how to LIVE!

Some of you who are not really “animal people” might snicker a little and think “What in the world could she have possibly learned from a dog?”

He knew how to experience life in the purest, fullest way. How to take the time to smell every blade of grass… How to feel the earth on his feet and sun warm on his body. He knew how to “commune” with the earth… Rolling in the mud and the dirt and enjoying every physical sensation of it. And he was happy…

From the moment we brought him home as a ten week old puppy, he lived his life totally immersed in every moment, every aroma, every aspect of love… until he couldn’t anymore, until his very old bodily organs and heart just gave out from old age.

There was so much living that happened in between those two moments of his existence… Between his puppyhood arrival and his sudden departure.

When my husband and I were married (the second time around for each of us) we blended our families — his two children and my two. But we were beyond the age for having our own human child so we adopted a “fur baby.” Who became very much like a child to us…

Tiki continually taught me about focusing on the now moment. Just inhaling the crisp beauty of each minute, each day… For dogs do not carry regrets of the past or worry about the future, unless perhaps where their next meal is coming from. And it is known that even dogs that come from difficult pasts are most often able to let go and forgive human transgressions… And to move forward in joy and connection…

So Tiki was always consciously immersed in the present and he taught me how essential that is for living a joyful life… Of course, the Reiki precepts teach that as well but Tiki knew it innately.

He always enjoyed Reiki… He loved keeping my clients company in the healing space whenever they were okay with him being there. And he loved when students came to take classes, especially when there was an Animal Reiki class being taught when he was allowed to spend more time with the students.

And he loved people in general…

He taught me all about the meaning and profundity of unconditional love. And he was always non-judgmental… As animals are… He was never angry and always so accepting and understanding.

And the way he chose to exit this physical life was in perfect alignment to the way he lived his life…

It was a blessing that he left quickly. But because he lived his life so enthusiastically, his passing at that particular time was so  unexpected.

I had noticed that he had slowed down in the last several months, and knew he had severe arthritis in his hips, but he was still mobile. What was to be our last evening together, we had gone for a short, leisurely walk and then sat outside for awhile and I just petted him and enjoyed his presence. He had had his normal dinner, which he consumed with gusto, as well as his bone treat (which he had every day after dinner — and always looked forward to very impatiently.) And then, without any warning, he was gone…

He was such an amazing presence and “light” in my life. And he certainly took a piece of my heart when he left…

He will be sorely missed, but his delightful, powerful presence will always remain strong in my heart. I am wiser and enriched by having had this beautiful, gentle soul in my life. And I deeply appreciate that remarkable inter-species bond we had up until the very end…

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ” ~Anatole France


  1. Janice Kuhl says:

    Oh, Sheryl, I’m so, so sorry to learn of Tiki’s passing. Such a loving, handsome boy … such a teacher … he was always so “there, and in the moment”, wasn’t he? I so glad I knew him.
    Much love,


    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Janice – thank you for your condolences and your kind words. Tiki WAS a wonderful teacher in canine form! Love and blessings to you…

  2. Rebecca Zerillo says:

    Beautiful Sheryl…xo

  3. lisa says:

    Our love and healing thoughts to you & your family, Sheryl. Tiki & you are wonderful teachers and bless you both for sharing yourself with your students — of which I am one! I am so glad I was able to share reiki that day with Tiki and the other students in your Animal Healing class. Much love & light to you all, always in all ways — lisa

    • Sheryl Schlameuss Berger says:

      Lisa – thank you so much for your kind thoughts about Tiki and me. I am glad you have fond memories of my canine Golden boy from the Animal Reiki class. Tiki loved being with my students — he was a very social being. I appreciate your taking the time to reach out with these sweet words. Love and light to you too!