February 8, 2013

Life Lessons From A Dog

Recently, I asked my wife, Betty, to give her thoughts on some aspects of the satisfying retirement we have been living for the past 12 years. Her posts were well received and generated lots of good comments.

Hold it...It is my turn!
I think Bailey, our dog, became a little jealous. Several times since those posts have appeared she has forced her way unto my lap while I attempted to use the laptop. In her own subtle way she was letting me know she had some things to say. Since she has no thumbs to hold down the shift key, I had to type for her, but I think this captures the heart of her message to us all:

*When loved ones come home, always run to greet them with a kiss;
*Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride and smile;
*Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy;
*Take naps;
*Stretch before rising;
*Run, romp, and play daily and play ball;
*Thrive on attention and let people touch you;
*Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;
*On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass;
*On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;
*When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body;
*Delight in the simple joy of a long walk;
*Be loyal;
*Never pretend to be something you're not;
*If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;
*When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Thanks, Bailey. 

Actually a friend of a friend sent this list of what a dog could tell us. It has been floating around the Internet for quite some time from some unknown source. It is hard to argue with this simple plan for happiness and contentment. 

Here is another dog story that may or may not be true. But, no matter, again it teaches us a good lesson:
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure as they felt that Shane might learn something from the experience.The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him.

Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay around as long."

          * Falling down is part of LIFE...
          *Getting back up is LIVING...
          * Don't complain about growing old…
           *Not everyone gets the privilege
Have a great weekend.


  1. Bob,

    Thanks for the post. :) It made me
    smile and, gave me something to think
    about. While, I watch my little dog demonstrate
    love and, joy of life.

    1. Bailey says, "Thank you." At the moment she is napping on Betty's lap.

  2. Love Bailey's picture. My two chi-weenies (chihuahua mixes) are jealous!

    Good reminders, these. I am finding that one of the nicest parts of retirement is re-setting priorities often & enjoying a more slowed down life.

    1. Feed her, walk her, love her and Bailey is happy. I'm still working on such a simple approach to life.

  3. At our house we would add- "Chase the turkeys when they look bored!"
    Thank you for the words of wisdom.

    1. Ha...life at ground level in Kansas!

  4. Love this! I am a firm believer in dog wisdom. My dog Duffy wrote his own book. ;) It's going to be on kindle soon. Duffy would have been smitten with Bailey!

    1. Everyoned is smitten by Bailey. Sometimes it is as if Betty or I aren't even there.

  5. Bailey's a very smart dog (and so's the little kid) and if you like dog wisdom check out my 12 Great New Year's Resolutions at http://sightingsat60.blogspot.com/2013/01/12-great-new-years-resolutions.html

    1. "Smell things that look interesting" are profound words to live by.

  6. I love how animals live in the moment. Something for me to strive for.

    1. Bailey just got a haircut today...not happy about going to the groomer but overjoyed when it was time to come home. Dogs don't dwell on what was, just what is.

    2. I'm pretty sure dogs have no sense of time. If I'm gone for 10 minutes Bailey is as excited by my return as if I had been gone for 10 hours.

      That is truly living in the moment.

  7. Thank you for this. Storm nemo has quieted our busy new jersey lives today and we are missing our recently departed 11 year old cavalier Roxi. Grief reminds us how much we still have.

    1. We have had to put down 4 old dogs. Even though it was the humane and loving thing to do each time it still hurt like hell. Pets become a part of one's family in such a loving way that saying goodbye is very, very tough.

  8. I never get tired of hearing about dog/pet stories. I'm reminded of a magnet I saw in a store once: "I may not be perfect, but my dog thinks I am." (says it all). Sandy

    1. If people were as free with their love and compliments as dogs are this would be a much nicer world!

  9. Once again, our dogs, and the children who love them, teach us everything we need to know. Loved the bite/growl lesson!


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