Learning from my dogs
On the Bright Side
February 16, 2019
As I'm sitting here trying to write my column for this issue of The Loop, and instead fretting about my upcoming surgery and all the stuff I haven't gotten done in preparation for being laid up for a few days, I keep thinking, "I wish I was more like my dogs."
I currently have two dogs, Benny and Bailey, and they, along with my cat Anni, are my fun and festive furry family. I love those little critters, and I love how they each have such distinct personalities. And I love how much I can learn from them.
They are all rescues, by the way, the best kind of pet in my humble opinion, and as most people will tell you who have rescued cats or dogs, they have also rescued me. I don't know what I'd do without them.
Right now I am trying to follow their examples of not worrying about tomorrow or the next day or the next, but just living in and enjoying the moment right now. As a human being I can't help but think ahead, and I wish I could be more like my dogs and not worry about anything but what is going on right in this particular moment.
I'm thinking especially of Benny, my little Corgi mix, who was diagnosed with diabetes a little over a year ago. He took that right in stride, even with two shots a day and several painful glucose curve tests. It's like he knows the medicine is good for him so he knows he has to take it and he might as well not worry about it or fight it.
Benny has also recently gone blind, due to cataracts from the diabetes, but he never missed a step with that either. No whining, no poor me; just matter-of-factly adjusting how he does things. He trips on the front step every now and then, and runs into things sometimes, but he never seems embarrassed or sad or pitiful – this is his new normal and he just goes with the flow.
Dogs are blissfully unaware of their own immediate future or any worries – and that's a part I wish I could emulate: not wasting one precious minute worrying about whatever is coming up, or feeling sorry for myself for what I will have to endure, nor worrying at all about either the pain I experience now or the upcoming surgery and its aftermath.
My health is pretty good but I have my challenges, especially as I get older. Aside from the physical, I remain pretty mentally challenged when it comes to worrying. I worry a lot. I worry that I'll have some sort of complication that no one's ever heard of before and has no idea what to do about it. Then I worry that I won't respond to treatment, or I won't be able to do physical therapy. When I don't have anything concrete to worry about, I make things up to worry about.
I wish I could be more like my dogs and not give it another thought until it's time to go in for the surgery, and then not to worry about anything until I know something concrete. And then not to worry about anything anyway.
But worry-issues aside, this is not the first time I've wished I could be more like my dog. I've thought it would be wonderful to wake up every morning full of energy and eagerness to discover what the day will hold for me, and to be able to explore the backyard every day like it was the first time.
I've wished I could be more loyal to my friends, and more forgiving; and I'd really like to be able to yawn and put my ears back when someone boring is talking to me. I wish I could make people happy when I did something simple like sit on my haunches; I wish I could just shake it off when I get dirty or wet. I wish I could fall asleep in the middle of the living room floor.
Of course none of those things are really beyond my capability – except maybe the part about putting my ears back. All I really have to do is to let myself be more open to the simple joys of life. I can be more like a dog, without having to be a dog. I can learn that from my dogs.
Benny and Bailey and Anni don't know what's coming up so they aren't worried about a thing. And I'm trying not to be either. I'm getting better at living in the moment thanks to them, and the more I work on it... I can almost feel my tail wagging.
© Marilda Mel White. Mel White, local writer photographer and co-owner of the Treasure Trove, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She's getting better at it and is actually looking forward to her upcoming surgery. She welcomes your comments at [email protected] and will get back to you as soon as she can.