The last couple years have been an eye opening mixture of sadness and appreciation. Until recently, I had three large house dogs, a broad head Black Lab (girl), a Dobie/Coonhound (boy), and a Rottie mix (girl). Both of my girls died of complications from Hip Dysplasia. The Lab, Tauris (yes, I meant to misspell it to make it more feminine :-), was 12, and the Rottie mix, Isis, was only 8. Now, I know this is sad and all, but bear with me - there's a silver lining. That's Jackson in the pic above, fussing at me because I woke him up from one of his many, frequent naps. He's actually grumbling about it! LOL
I cried about the 8 year old the most because one day she was still running around pushing everybody like a big puppy, and the next she was miserable with pain despite expensive meds and physical therapy. Within a month, she couldn't even walk to go outside and potty, and she couldn't stand up to eat. After a while, I'd put the food in front of her and she wouldn't eat. Okay, I know everybody needs the silver lining NOW. I hear people say all the time that they don't want anymore pets because it hurts so much when we lose them, but think about that for a minute - suppose we said we didn't want to love people anymore because it hurts so much to lose them! I have always loved and admired animals, and they've always been an integral part of my life, so I can't imagine living without them.
So, there's something going on with my boy (Dobie/CH) Jackson that I have now, so I'm dedicating this post to my dogs. LOL I'll tell you more about what's going on later. For now, let's talk about some things we can learn from dogs (translated, silver lining)...
1. Enjoy the little things. Any pet lover knows how happy our dogs get when they realize they're going for a ride, or to the park, or just for a walk or run. Unlike us, they don't take the little fun things of life for granted.
2. Enjoy your meals like you'll never get more. I love watching them eat and enjoy their food. They're content and appreciative, and Jackson always comes and finds me after he eats just so he can kiss my hand. I love that! His way of saying "thank you."
3. Happiness is the standard. Unless there's an immediate reason not to be, they're joyous about living. They don't worry about something that hasn't even happened yet. They make the most of every living moment instead of killing time with negativity.
4. Giving without expecting reciprocation. They show affection in every way they can, even attempting to groom us without expecting anything in return.
5. Protect the ones you love. I've seen dogs protecting homeless people who can barely feed them, yet the dogs are willing to give their lives without a thought. I've seen them live with constant neglect and mistreatment by selfish, hateful owners, yet they sacrifice for these people and love them anyway.
6. Trust. Trust is really hard. It means a willingness to risk your heart. Dogs do it all the time. They trust us to make the best decisions for their lives, feed and care for them, and even when we make bad decisions and detrimental mistakes, they don't judge (at least I've never heard one say anything. LOL). Jackson is not friendly, so when we went to the vet and the tech took his temp (you know, at the back end), I wrapped my arms around him and turned his face towards me. He looked into my eyes when he realized what she was doing, but didn't say a word. It was as if he was saying "If you say this is okay, I guess I won't turn around and take her head off." Now that's trust!
7. They follow protocol. They know who's in charge, and they seldom challenge that. To them, being in charge doesn't mean you're the most important or most educated and certainly not the richest, and it doesn't even mean you're the one who feeds them. It means you're the one they love the most, for whatever reason. I like to think they see our souls, or at least our auras and our hearts.
8. They're honest. Dogs are guileless and straightforward.
9. They don't complain about their condition. No matter what's ailing them, they let you know about it if you're an attentive pet owner, then they leave it to you to take care of. They don't whine and complain and say "why me?" They accept and make the most of their situation, whatever it is. I admire that. I'm not there yet - nowhere near it. LOL
10.Last, but certainly not least...It's not all about them; It's all about you. As mothers, we get a taste of that, but we're the ones giving the unconditional love in that instance. In fact, I think dogs and mothers are the only sources of unconditional love in the human realm, and not all mothers are even capable of this amazing gift. It's still one of a dog's most admirable traits, if not the most endearing. You are the center of their universe, because of that they forgive you for anything, and it's that unconditional love that allows them to wrap their paws around our hearts forever :-)
Now, Jackson and I went to the vet for a second opinion. He's had a growth on his ear for a little while, but when it started changing in appearance, I got worried. So...we're having it removed on the 10th, and by the time this posts, hopefully it'll be over and done with, and my baby boy will be back to his old surly, bossy self. LOL I'll let you know how everything goes. He's already on pre-surgery antibiotics. Wow, has veterinary medicine come a long way, or what? Anyway, for now, make the most of every day with your pets so you don't have to regret anything. Take them for rides with the windows rolled down as far as they safely can be, go love on them and find all their "happy" spots - you know, the ones that make them shake their back legs and roll their eyes back in ecstasy. LOL When I get teary about my girls, it's those things that give me comfort. They most definitely deserve all the love we can give them. Don't worry - I've also got 7 black cats, so I'll write about them one day, too :-)
I'd love to hear about your pets, and feel free to share pics with me on Facebook