Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Ruki, Dharma Dog

It is with great sadness that I announce the loss of my dog, Ruki (or Ruki Dog Kozak as his last prescription medicine said) on the 2nd of April 2011. After 9.5 years of faithful companionship  he developed a painful and paralyzing condition in his lower spine. His decline was quick. In January he was still running up mountains. He was running trails nearly daily until the past few weeks of his life.

Everyone thinks their dog is special and they all are. Everyone who met Ruki knew him to be special too. He had a graceful presence for such a large creature and a gentle quiet that friends, patients, and the meditation community alike found comforting, grounding, and eerily human.


As many of you have reminded he lived a great life for his almost eleven years.

There is something special to the grief that arises when losing a canine friend. It’s a pure experience of our humanity in the clarity and intensity of this emotion as it is uncomplicated by a history of struggles and hurt as human-to-human relationships are. Our dogs have not hurt us, have not let us down, have not criticized us. At the same time, they are inextricably woven into almost every moment of life, in their dependence and their ability to accompany us out in the world.


Dogs are also great mindfulness teachers: paying attention to their surroundings with keenness, living in a world of scent, movement, and adventure. My dog, as yours, could feel frustration, fear, anger, disappointment, hunger, pain, discomfort. Yet, I’m fairly confident that he didn’t generate stories about them. He suffered, but only as much as the circumstance provided, not adding anything of his own. We could learn something from that.

Check out an earlier entry on Ruki and dogs:


My Rhodesian Ridgeback, Ruki, is a member of the Exquisite Mind Sangha. He attends all the meditation sessions, usually sprawled out snoring on the rug as we sit around meditating. He’s a dharma dog and a great teacher.

Read more:

Dogs remind us how mindfulness offers us a respite from our complicated human existence.



  • Ellie

    Blessings to you, Dr. K, and the big-hearted Lion Dog.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment SowalWriter

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful posts, Dr. Kozak. I so agree with you about dogs being great teachers of mindfulness, as they offer unconditional love and live completely in the moment. I often refer to my lab as one of my spirit guides, and I hope you will accept my sincere sympathies on the loss of your beloved Ruki.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Shiloh

    Goodbye, Ruki and thank you for blessing this world with your patience, love and companionship for Dr. K who obviously loved you very much. And thank you Dr. K for offering Ruki the opportunity of having such a warm and loving home to grow and express his beautiful and loving canine soul. The thought of saying goodbye one day to my own greying 13 year old dogs leaves me with a sadness sweet only in the fact that I know I gave them the best lives they could have ever had and in return they gave me the purest love I will ever know. I am very sad for your loss.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Matt

    Rest in peace Ruki. I only met you a couple of times, but you seemed truly enlightened.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment clara

    My deepest condolences to you on the loss of Ruki. Losing a pet is unique from any other loss. Not worse, nor harder, nor easier. But definitley unique. Ruki is forever.

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