Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lessons from a dog

This is Wigley Jack, enjoying a sunny, warm spot perched atop a tree stump in our backyard, just this past weekend. He is now eleven years old, and has had a multitude of health problems over the past year, the most serious of which was dental surgery in June to remove eleven teeth (there's that same number again!). We have just found out he has kidney stones or a tumor or something like that, and have made the difficult decision to stop xrays, tests and procedures, and let him enjoy his final days, weeks or months. We feel this is the kindest thing, and also the only choice considering our tight budget. We have spent about $3,000 above normal vet expenses this year, and just can't afford any more.

I've been reflecting on life with Wigley, who has been a stalwart friend through good times and is what dogs can teach you ...
1. Dogs greet each day the same, with a certain amount of enthusiasm. They don't know if they are going on a vet visit or a special, extra long walk with treats at the end. They never stress about the future, beyond the next meal or arrival home of family members.
2. Dogs love unconditionally - they don't keep a tally of grievances in their heads. They forgive almost anything, and move on from that moment.
3. Dogs love the simple things - a good bowl of kibble, a stroll around the neighborhood, a roll in some soft grass, chasing a squirrel from the bird feeder.
4. Dogs, even an active Jack Russell in this case, will lay uncomplaining by your side when you are sick or recovering from surgery, and never whine because you can't do anything "fun."
5. Dogs make you feel better when you are down, without requiring an explanation from you.
6. Dogs teach you not to be a compulsive house cleaner - what's a little hair, dirt, slobber, throwup among buddies?
7. Dogs trust...I mean REALLY a way most humans can't.

Have you told the dog in your life how much you love him/her today?:)


  1. Diane--I really love this post. I recently lost my dog of 16 years. We had to make the hard decision of letting her go. I thought i would or could never love another pet like her. However, we have found an amazing dog who missed the first two years of her life running on the streets or being on a chain and being completely malnourished by a family that did not have the time for her or care. She is so happy to have people around her that love her, she lives in the moment for sure and is so full of love. I am thankful for her and the years we have ahead with her.

  2. What a sweet post and picture. I don't have a dog but do have a granddog that we keep overnight on occasion. She is always so happy. The funniest part to me is how fast she eats.