While I am thankful every day for all of the dogs I’ve had, I want to take time to reflect on them even more now since November is National Gratitude Month. My dogs are up there on my list of the most important things in my life, and they have brought me the great gift of unconditional love. I could not have gotten through the toughest times in my life the way I did without them. I often talk about the human-animal bond, a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals, and I am a believer that everyone should experience it in their lifetime. While I personally have dogs, I know the joys other pets such as birds, cats, rabbits, and even fish bring to their families. Well, I can tell you firsthand that all my beloved companions, SHERPA, SuNae, KARTU, KIMBA, and KoKo, have changed my life for the better. But if you are someone who wants to see the science (I know there are some of you out there!), the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) summarized scientific research on how pets help improve mental health, resilience, and empower us to thrive.
In my book, “It’s in the Bag,” I share with my readers special moments I have had with each of my dogs and the lessons they have taught me. Writing this chapter for the book was emotional yet so rewarding because it allowed me to reflect on each beautiful soul and remember the times we shared together.
My first dog, SHERPA, was a Lhasa Apsos who brought joy to my life for 17 years. She was fiercely loyal and acted as my protector. It is she who was there for me when I unexpectedly lost my fiancé and my life started to spiral downward. It is she who was by my side as we built our business together with the invention of The SHERPA Bag, the first soft-sided pet carrier. It is she who taught me what was the hardest lesson, how to let go. She was also the first time I experienced the loss of a pet, and taught me about The Rainbow Bridge; and I know she is waiting for me there.
SuNae was a Coton de Tulear, a breed known as bright, happy-go-lucky companion dogs. I love that a favorite activity of that breed is being with the one they love. It makes me think we should all add that to our “favorite activity” list! I learned from SuNae that there is always room in your heart to love more. I got SuNae when SHERPA was ten years old, so SHERPA could have a companion and I could always have a dog in my life. Adding another dog to my family took a lot of preparation (you can’t bring a new dog into another dog’s territory without proper preparation) but was so worth it because seeing the immediate bond between the dogs was a beautiful thing!
KARTU is a Shih Tzu who was with me when I made my first appearance on Donny Deutsch’s The Big Idea. She charmed everyone in the studio, helping me ace my first interview that resulted in many more media opportunities. She is still with me but has retired from work as she is sixteen years old, so doesn’t go on business trips with me. While I am always sad to leave Paris, New York, or wherever I am traveling, I know that I have KARTU waiting for me at home which brings me joy!
KIMBA was a Mi-Ki, a breed that typically is about three pounds. Her small size is what I needed because after a lifetime of carrying my dogs everywhere with me, my shoulders and back began to give me problems. She was the perfect companion to still allow me to travel with a dog and better yet, she absolutely LOVED jumping into her SHERPA Bag! She was with me as my business role at my company shifted, and I became focused on advocacy and brand awareness. We embraced the change in life together and attended many travel and pet product shows in the US and Europe. She left me in 2018 for the Rainbow Bridge. It was devastating but I knew she couldn’t suffer anymore.
Wow! KoKo keeps me on my toes, especially since I got her later in life as a puppy! She has taught me patience as I have taught her, along with my team, how to be a “celebrity dog” since she is now who is with me for my travels and media interviews. She is my bundle of joyful energy and brings happiness to my life each day.
Thank you for allowing me the time to reflect on my loves, my dogs. I have dedicated my life and career to a better future for us and our beloved pets. I envision a bright future for all animals because they are remarkable souls who make such an impact on humans, and I am forever grateful and thankful for that. What pets do you have, or have you had in your life that you are thankful for?
Gayle Martz is the SilverDisobedience Pet Ambassador who will be sharing her insight on a variety of pet-related topics. Gayle is the founder of The SHERPA Pet Trading Company, where she single-handedly designed, manufactured and marketed the iconic SHERPA Bag you see everywhere! This carrier, which millions have bought for their dogs, cats and other animal companions, continues to be THE top-selling, prize-winning, globally-popularly soft-sided pet carrier. Further, it is because of Gayle’s advocacy and entrepreneurship that pet travel on airlines is now possible and common. Gayle’s the author of “IT’S IN THE BAG”, which is part memoir and part business book.