Last week, I lost one of my favorite people.
Most vegans are young women, so when I met Dave, I was beyond impressed that a man of his generation had been a vegan as long as me. I couldn’t wait to get to know him.
I was one of the lucky few that was chosen by Dave to build the V-dog brand. And from day one, it was my favorite company to work with. It had a fiercely compassionate and driven owner who was not only starting a brave company, but one that would truly help lessen the suffering of animals. I was in heaven, and from that point forward, wanted all my clients to be this awesome.
Being able to work so closely with Dave and to help take his compassionate vision out into the world was like being drafted for the dream team. He empowered us to do our best and never got in the way of himself…because he not only trusted us but trusted himself for putting us all together. The mark of a great leader.
Dave was not only inspiring by the way he lived his own life, but he inspired me to want to live mine better too. He never hesitated to hand out a compliment but it just made you want to do better. And we did. It was the kind of encouragement and support I’d always wanted (but never got) from my own father, so it meant so much when Dave would say he was proud of something I’d done. Even recently, I said to a friend that I wish he’d adopt me as an honorary Middlesworth, but in so many ways, I already felt embraced by his amazing family.
Despite Dave’s love and dedication for the serious mission he was on, he never forgot to have fun. He loved to tease people. He would elbow me about married life as a newlywed or tell us how his wife Linda was the real boss and brains behind everything…the mark of a very smart husband.
When I threw a yacht rock party a few years ago, Dave and his sons showed up guns a blazing and didn’t waste any time digging a wig and hat out of the costume box so he could be sure to look the part. He jumped in feet first and it made me love him even more. From that point forward, he was always asking when we were having our next party.
Right before Dave left on his hiking trip, we swapped emails about how excited he was. He said they were going to carry bells to scare off the grizzlies even though some people considered them more like dinner bells. He was also adamant about not being the slowest in the group because he said you can never out run a bear. And that’s the thing…he was never the slowest in our group and he was almost twice our age. In fact, it was hard for us to keep up. His boundless energy and enthusiasm made us feel he’d outlive us all. I was counting on it. I was sure of it. Impossible he wouldn’t.
I’m incredibly sad and frustrated that I’ll never get to see him again. I won’t get to hear him laugh at his own jokes. And I won’t get to hear his next brilliant idea. Despite all of his years of experience, I feel like he was just getting started and we had so much more work to do. We’ve all been robbed and my heart is broken.
I do know one thing’s for sure…animals and people are definitely better because of him. And that’s exactly what he set out to do. A life well lived and so much appreciated.
The world needs more Dave’s.