Saturday, December 03, 2011

Lessons my dog has taught me

I haven't written about our dog in a while because I'm guessing most of you don't want to read about his latest bout of mischief - the meticulously chewed and redistributed garbage, mangled shoe or half-eaten chocolate marble cake - or follow his roller coaster ride of diabetic fun. So I've made the executive decision to keep the canine volume level a little lower than it would otherwise be.

But every once in a while, I'll have an epiphany of sorts that reaffirms why I'm glad we have him, and why the world seems just a little kinder because of him. I had one of those moments as I was walking him the other night.

He was being his usual schnauzer self, wandering haphazardly all over the place, following his nose in search of whatever it is that jazzes him. It had snowed earlier that day, and he was burying his snout in the little bit of white stuff that remained, snorting repeatedly as he tried to burrow his blackberry-button nose as deeply as physics and soil composition would allow. I wasn't in much of a rush, and it was just crisp-cold enough that I was perfectly content to listen to him shnorkel his way underground for as long as he wished.

Eventually, he tired of the game and sauntered off toward the house, looking quickly back to make sure I was following before he continued his half-bounce, half-trot down the sidewalk. He was happy, perfectly content to be exploring his neighborhood, and all I had to do was read his body language and follow along.

We've been worried about him ever since our vet confirmed his diabetes, concerned every time an infection or some other ailment pops up and necessitates another trip to see Doctor Tom. He's five years-old, seemingly too young for any of this, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't wonder about his long-term prognosis. Will he live to a ripe, healthy old age? I fear he won't, and I kick myself for even thinking it. Or writing it here.

But on this day, on this walk, he wiggled his little rear end and drank in the experience, which pretty much mirrors every walk we take. He's blessed without the ability to worry about the things that lie beyond the horizon. Instead, he cares only about whatever it is that lies under the snow at the tip of his nose. And whoever's holding onto the other end of his leash.

We may not have as many days with him as we had hoped when we first brought him home. But somehow, he's teaching us to get the most out of every day we've got.

I could learn from him.

Your turn: What can we learn from animals?


Kalei's Best Friend said...

I think our fur babies live in the moment.. they don't worry about the future... they just care about NOW...they know who loves them at the moment and to them that may be what is important.

CorvusCorax12 said...

unconditional love

Alexia said...

"He's blessed without the ability to worry about the things that lie beyond the horizon."

Oh, how I wish I could be like that.

Michael Manning said...

What a terrific post! Of course, I hope you have your dog for many years Carmi! My late cousin had a gift of God when it came to animals and caring for them. Binding wounds of injured birds, dogs and cats. She was quite an extraordinary person who gave me a love of horses!

Cloudia said...

a wise post, Carmi.

The eyes of a puppy
are the windows to
you soul!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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Hilary said...

That's the beauty of animals. They do live for the moment. Nicely said, Carmi. I hope you have many more years with your pooch.

Stem Cell Therapy in Dogs said...

That's what we call love with no condition. In each day of our life there are lessons that are attached to it. It just a process of giving and taking. Giving some lessons to each and everyone of us and taking or accepting a lesson from one person.

Bob Scotney said...

Great post. I love dogs and where I live I'm known as the man who talks to dogs.
Let's have a photo please Carmi.

Kim Williams said...

well said.

my dogs teach me to keep the 'must do' list to a very short one. 1. care for your people. 2. enjoy physical activity. 3. rest often. 4. eat as needed.

mmp said...

loving this one

what do i learn from our gloriously dippy dog? Mainly that if i don't pay attention to him in the small matters....those (apparently insignificant) matters have a way of becoming....rather more significant

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely post.

My dog teaches me to seize the day and always always to be kind.

TexWisGirl said...

so sweet, and so true! came over from hilary's to say congrats on your POTW! God bless you and your sweet little dog, too! :)

holdingmoments said...

Congratulations on your POTW.

Dogs are such great companions; they give so much, and expect nothing in return.
Treasure every moment.
I'd be a lost man without my Jim.

Kerry said...

Beautifully said. With the advances in vet medicine, I'm betting you will have a nice long life with this great little dog. Congratulations on your potw, very deserving!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Stopping by from Hilary's to say congratulations on your POTW and that this is a terrific post and life lesson.
Cheers, jj