My dog Bogart died. My first dog, my best pal…I had him since he was three months and had to let him go just after his ninth birthday. My baby boy. I’d often imagine what it would be like to lose him and shudder in fear, imagining epic breakdowns and the inability to go on.But, I’ve surprised myself and I have my life’s purpose to thank for that.

The day after Bobo was let go, I had to present an all-day workshop for teenage girls on top of Grouse Mountain on behalf of the non-profit Soroptimist International (North and West Vancouver division). There were 67 girls and a day planned for mindfulness, games, improvisation and social media awareness. They were to be inspired to tell their own stories, to speak up about that which didn’t serve them and to trust in me, their leader. The night before, laying in bed crying tears of deep loss, I didn’t know how I would keep it together for the girls who were heading to the mountain to be inspired, to leave empowered.

When we are faced with a great challenge, we are also gifted with the resources to handle it. We don’t know we possess such resolve, such determination – but we do! The girls were given the best of me, all that I had to give with a palpable undertone of great sorrow. And I was left with the wisdom that, given the opportunity, we can and will always surprise ourselves.

Bogart was happy when I was happy and I used that thought to propel me forward on that day atop Grouse Mountain where I had the chance to serve my greater purpose, my life’s mission – to inspire young people and adults to strive to be-come the best version of themselves they can be. At the end of the day, when I finally broke down, the girls understood more about vulnerability, courage and resilience. I have my darling boy to thank for that.

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