Dog is God Spelled Backwards!
I’d love to be a dog for just one day, living in our house, being taken care of by me and my family. Now that would be the life! I’d have the best seat in the house, get my tummy rubbed whenever I wanted and could stretch my legs out and find the most comfortable position in the universe to sleep in.
In this column I’ve talked about the clues that are around us all the time ~ clues that help with our daily journey of choosing to stay happy. Into this discussion I submit one of my favorite topics: dogs!
Why? They offer endless opportunities to witness and experience joy. There is a reason that dog is God spelled backwards. They are always there for us, loving us unconditionally and we don’t have to do anything to win their approval. Pure love. And like us, each dog has his own personality and also his own formula for happiness. What makes one dog happy won’t necessarily effect another the same way. I have had three significant dogs in my life and I am going to honor them by devoting a column to each. They deserve it!………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Check also: “DIARY OF A POSITIVE SOUL” article by Marsha Roberts “DIARY OF A POSITIVE SOUL – THE WIZARD “ article by Marsha Roberts …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
First, there was Zack, our indomitable dachshund: The Wonder Weenie! He was the only registered pure breed we ever had and, truth be told, a bit of a snob, but he was a brilliant, incredible dog, as you will soon see. He would invent complex games to entertain himself ~ like Puppy Hockey, as we used to call it. He had stolen (long story for another post!) a huge rawhide bone from this really big Great Pyrenees dog who was totally intimidated by little Zack. This bone was so big that when he held it in the center he couldn’t go through a doorway! He used to love to chase tennis balls, so there were always several around on the floor.
One day Zack figured out he could hit a tennis ball with the end of the bone then lean around and hit it with the other end. And off he went! By the time he had the game down pat, there was an entire course around the dining room and living room with barriers he had to go around to get his own doggie-points, knocking that ball with either end of the huge bone until: Presto! He’d land it under my husband’s recliner. Goal scored! Two points! He looked so proud. And of course he had to treat himself to a good chew on said bone.
What an amazing site it was to watch this little determined creature figure out his complex game. Why did he do it? The only conclusion I could come to: it made him happy!
But there were also more serious issues that made Zack happy. Chiefly, the sworn duty of a dog: to Protect And Defend. At night he would go from room to room, up and down the stairs, hustling everyone to their appointed areas where he could keep each of us safe. And if we dared to change the routine – whoa unto us!
The funny thing is, we were anything but a regimented family. We traveled a lot with our work and were often up at odd hours to make deadlines. Zack didn’t like it, but he did his job of watching after us with relentless dedication.
One of my most poignant memories of Zack were the years I suffered with migraines. Normally he wasn’t allowed on our bed, he slept on the floor next to me on his own bedding. But when I was sick, he would hop up on our bed and lay tenderly at my feet, occasionally carefully easing his way towards my face to check on me, my sweet, gentle doggie-nurse. He was such a comfort. I had to lay in the dark and quiet when I had a migraine, but Zack was there with me and even though I was in pain, his presence gave me peace.
The most profound thing I learned from Zack is what he taught me about getting older and, ultimately, leaving this earth we’re currently living on. I learned more things than I can count from Zack, but this was the most awe-inspiring by far.
Zack had been struggling for several years with heart problems. A terrific veterinarian monitored his heart pills which helped to keep him going at 18 years old. By the last year I would have to carry Zack up and down stairs. I certainly didn’t mind taking care of him the way he had always taken care of me, but I hated he had become so ill. There came a point when the doctor had “the talk” with us about what measure did we want to take with Zack because he was indeed dying. She said to us, “I can see how close you are to Zack and I want to prepare you for what’s to come. When animals get very sick, they pull inward and often find a quiet spot where they can go off by themselves to die. It’s natural and I want you to be ready for it.”
The reason that Zack is my getting-older-role-model is that he never did that. His love for us was so complete that it overcame his natural instincts. He ever pulled inward. Actually, it was just the opposite, he reached out to the very end. When he passed, I was patting him and telling him how much I loved him and how he was the best dog in the world. What a way to go, I thought, as I cried for the next several days. Is there a more perfect way to go from this life to the next than with those you love by your side, telling you how much they love you?
Zack is my doggie hero. I want to grow old like Zack did, open to love to the end.
I’ve known many people whose happiness was greatly diminished by the solitude they imposed upon themselves when they went thorough hard times, became depressed, sick, or as they just got older. But I can’t do that because I choose to be happy, which means I can’t close off. I decided to be like Zack. But that’s just me.
Next time you’ll get to meet Smokey McDoggerson and he’s a real treat! Until then!