People who take control of their own lives and futures are one of my favorite people in the world. There is so much strength and inspiration to be found in those special souls who prove to us every day that the life you want is just waiting out there for you to live it. Everything is possible, so long as you have the courage to chase your dreams! Maria's story has taught me that.
When I first found her incredible blog The Tropical Dog I was absolutely amazed by the life she shares with her dog Shark. They travel the world together, like true friends always do, chasing adventures and writing about it from an incredibly realistic perspective. Her blog offers numerous travel tips and adventure stories, proving that a dog can be your best companion even if you are a passionate traveler - or maybe especially so!
Maria wrote a beautiful love letter to her sweet Shark. Their story is truly unique, one that reminds us unconditional love is stronger than any obstacles! Today is also Shark's 4th birthday, so I'm wishing a big big big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to this charming pup! <3
A LOVE LETTER TO SHARK
Written by Maria Himmich
Today, we are celebrating your 4th birthday. I know the precise date because I know you since your very first day. Your mother, who was originally my neighbor’s dog, was abandonned to her fate and had become a stray dog. When I woke up on that October 13th, 2013 you were huddling with 3 other puppies out of the window of my bedroom. Your mother chose to give birth in my garden. I like to think that it was destiny.
At that time, I lived in Rodrigues, a small tropical island lost in the Indian Ocean, near Mauritius. I
worked for the local French Alliance. I had to leave a year later to get back to Europe, then find
another job somewhere else.
My life was absolutely not stable. I wanted to be a nomad and travel the world as much as I could. Like many people, I liked the idea of having a dog some day, but now was definitely not the right time.
So when I first saw you with your brothers and sisters in my garden, I thought I could not deal with that "problem" and told my neighbor to take care of her dog and her puppies. Unfortunately, that irresponsible woman tried to get rid of you.
The next day, after she took your little family back, I got woken up by your cries, the we-need-help kind of cries. Your mom was also barking. I waited for almost an hour, trying to convince myself that it was not my problem. Then I decided to go to my neighbor’s garden to see what was going on. I found you and the other puppies stuck under a large piece of metal sheet in the glaring sun. Your mother couldn’t reach you and was going crazy. As to my neighbor, she had left to work and had deliberately put you there to let you die.
I did what I think every normal human being should do. I rescued all of you and took you and your mom back into my garden.
I kept you for 5 weeks, then I started to look for friends who wanted to adopt a dog. You were the last puppy left to give but I decided to keep you, just a little longer. Days became weeks, weeks became months and by the time the end of my work contract arrived, you had totally won my heart. It was just impossible for me to leave you behind, even though I had no clue how I was going to travel with a large dog from the Indian Ocean to Europe.
As Rodrigues island was very tiny, I had to travel to Mauritius to buy your vaccines and a travel container for the flight. Of course, my family and friends thought I was crazy. They told me I could not keep on traveling the world with a dog. Well, I did not care. The only thing I knew is that we had so much more things to live together.
4 years later, we have traveled to 9 countries : Mauritius, Morocco, France, Greece, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and the USA.
We run a doggy travel blog together. We have shared so many crazy adventures, met so many new friends, had so much fun and created so many unforgettable memories… You have become my travel buddy, my bodyguard, my personal trainer and my source of joy.
I feel so grateful for each of the million of smiles you have already brought me.
Of course, I know some day you will have to leave me and my heart will broke into pieces. That is life and I can do nothing about it. What I can certainly do, though, is enjoy every single day we have the chance to live together. My Sharkylove, I promise to do my best to make that sparkle in your eyes shine as often and as long as I can.
Thank you for sharing my adventurous spirit. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for being so funny without willing to. Thank you for protecting me all the time. Thank you for trusting me.
Happy birthday my little piece of tropical heaven!
I love you,
Wow. No matter how many times I re-read this letter, I'm always in awe - and tears. Big thank you to Maria for sharing her words with us. Your friendship with Shark is one of the most inspirational friendships and companionships I've ever seen and I'm so lucky to know you! If your travels ever bring you to my little country of Slovenia, we totally need to meet! <3
Check out Maria and Shark's incredible travels featured on their fantastic website The Tropical Dog.
Want to submit a letter of your own? Write a letter to your rescue dog and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured!
All photographs featured in this blog post are the property of Maria Himmich.