I'm delighted to have been invited to share some of my life stories with HuffPost readers. My stories are oftentimes dramatic because my life has been such, but rest assured, what I write will always be true and based on real-life experiences. I chose to begin this blogging journey with a subject close to my heart, my deep love of animals and nature and my profound spiritual connection to them. Throughout my life I have had many powerful interactions and experiences with animals and believe that my capacity to love and feel compassion for animals and the misbegotten has been one of the greatest blessings in my life.
This article is about the loss of my beautiful dog, Coyote. Though his death was heartbreaking for me, somehow when he passed, his benevolent spirit set my spirit free. The following is the note I sent to friends the day after his death:
Yesterday, with the deepest sadness my heart has ever known, I had to bid a final farewell to my best friend and loyal companion, my precious, beautiful boy, Coyote Puppa Noodle. The sky wept angel's tears when his spirit crossed over.
Some of you had never met him, but a few of you had known my wonderful dog well and were aware that my precious Coyote and I had journeyed through surely everything together for a very long time, and how much my boy meant to me.
The first time I ever saw my big yellow dog was on a farm I had purchased in Hope, N.J. He was half-dead from starvation, with fur so matted and dirty that I actually mistook him for a real coyote. (That's how he got the name Coyote). He had been abandoned and left to die way out in horse country where I lived. But he somehow found a way to survive by sneaking into the neighbor's stable and stealing bits of horse grain, cat food or whatever scraps he could find on the barn floors.
When I finally realized he was a dog and not a wild coyote, I decided the universe and the gods must have meant for us to walk together. So I took him in, and it was instant, mutual, unconditional love. We went to the vet, and he got his shots and got cleaned up, fixed up and neutered, and I gave him plenty of good food and lots of love. He put on weight and grew into a stunningly beautiful, strong and smart German Shepherd / Golden Retriever mix.
We bonded quickly, and I never worried that he would hurt my birds (I rescue birds in need and always have them in my home) or do anything destructive (which he didn't), because I could feel his gentle spirit and how kind his energy was. And he was always the perfect gentleman... That is, except for the time he didn't like a visitor's energy, so he decided to lift his leg and pee on her foot. He was a character indeed.
Farm life was good for Coyote and me. He ran the horse fields wild, free and happy with the dog next door, and romped and played endlessly on warm days in the countryside. But I noticed he always came right back home after only a short time. It was as if he just needed to make sure the house was still there, with me in it, waiting for him. On cold winter days he would lie at my feet by the fireside while I read a book, or sometimes we blasted rap music and danced around the house together for hours. When I wrote a new track in my studio, or sang a new lyric, he was always right there listening and wagging his tail in approval of his favorite songs.
We were both in paradise on that farm. Even though we were alone, because of him, I never felt lonely. But all too soon, after only seven short years, the day came that we had to give up our farm and move into a small condo.
I worried that Coyote would have as hard a time as I did adjusting to small quarters and not being able to run freely anymore... but nope, not my Noodle; he fell right into the groove and was as happy as a clam. He made it clear that he really didn't care where we were, so long as we were together.
When I had to travel to do a film or a show, the kind friends and pet-sitters who took care of him always had the same story to tell about my Coyote: they all reported that he would be OK for a few days after I left, but then, when he couldn't find me anywhere, inevitably he would sink into a deep depression until I returned home.
And he was always there waiting for me, big ol' yellow tail wagging, big doggie smile on his sweet face.
He protected and consoled me and made me laugh when I was down. Besides close friends who have become extended family, he was the only family I've had. My "human family" shut me out of their lives years ago.
Many days when I was blue with no one to turn to, my Coyote gave me a reason to get up and face another day; he gave me a purpose. He needed me to get up and get out of bed and get about the business of living... and because of him, I did.
No matter what happened in my life, or where we had to travel, or how we had to live to survive, his love was constant and, many times, my only source of comfort and stability. He was always there, right by my side, always telling me, "Everything's gonna be all right, Mommy."
And so, somehow we were always all right, and life went on for Coyote and me. We shared the ups and downs, the good and bad days, the boyfriends who were around for a time but then meandered away, the times I worked, the times I didn't, the times I had money, the times I was broke, the happy times and Lord, the lowest valleys of my life.
We lived in beautiful, sprawling houses on lakes, and then we found ourselves sharing tiny apartments in New York with barely enough money to eat. But Coyote wasn't fussy and simply didn't care where we lived, or how we lived, or how many times we had to move... as long as we were together. And so we were, for 17 years.
I hope the gods or the universe will make sure my sweet boy is in a better place now, no longer trapped in an old and crippled body, blind and deaf and unable to run, play or even walk, and unable to hear my words of comfort in his last days. He deserves a better place.
I believe I'll see him again, and he'll always live on vividly in my memories, in my dreams and in my heart. But you see, he was my heart, so I hope the gods will grant me favor, too. I hope they'll help me to put the pieces of what's left of my heart back together, because I don't quite know how to. How do I heal from losing the kindest, most loving spirit I have ever known? He was love...
Thank you for letting me share how great my Coyote was and express my profound sense of loss and love. I don't have children; he was my child, he was my friend and he was pretty much my world. I loved him and always will.
There is no shame in loving any of God's creatures. Love is unconditional and sets us all free. It is the only real thing. I'm sure I am a better person for having loved so deeply, even for having stayed where I was not happy for the sake of my dog's failing health.
And after enduring unspeakable cruelty and hardships, which I will share in detail in future stories, I have been surrounded by the most loving and beautiful spirits since my return to New York. I know I am where I belong, with people of like minds and spirits. All the struggles and sadness was worth it to feel embraced by so much love and kindness in my life now.
I will follow my dreams and pursue hopes and goals and exciting new quests. I will stand in my truth and in my strength as a black woman. I will start all over again on a new path to knowledge, peace and happiness and try as best as I can to spread joy and promote harmony.
I hope that you'll glean something positive from my words. I don't know what, I don't know how, I just know that if you're reading this, you're connecting with me, and together we have embarked upon a spiritual odyssey.