Monday, June 15, 2009

Things I Learned From My Dog and Other Ramblings

I had a very significant birthday. I still have a problem saying my age. My good friend Chris, who turned the same age 4 days after me, and I figured out that when we were growing up, people our age looked and acted really old. We realized that since we have young children, we look and act much younger than our chronological age. Plus the fact that when I tell someone how old I am, they are shocked! Even with my gray hair!

It has been a very difficult year for us. Neal was very sick in September, my father passed away right after Neal got out of the hospital, Elijah had his appendix out in March and then was back in the hospital 2 weeks later with an infection. And if that wasn't enough, his nose was broken on Ben's birthday and he had surgery 10 days later to fix it. Now we're dealing with the flu. First Ben woke up with 103 fever last week. Elijah decided this would be a competition so he woke up with 104 fever this morning. Guess who didn't go to work? I am way over my limit of sick days. Family comes first! I can't tell if I get teary-eyed because it's been too much stress or having major hormonal fluctuations! (Speaking of hormones, I had to go for a second Pap Smear because my first one was lost. Unbelievable!)

So what does this have to do with my dog? This animal wakes up everyday with a wagging tail and lots of love to share with everyone. He doesn't carry over baggage from the day before. It's always a clean slate with him. He taught me that touching another living thing is very therapeutic when you have had a very rough day. If you had a good day, it just lifts your spirits even more! It's absolutely amazing how your troubles disappear after petting him for a while.

When I take him out for a walk, I get to appreciate the beautiful weather and my tiredness leaves me. He sees everything up close with his nose to the ground. He inhales the scents of everyone and everything. Luckily, I don't have as sensitive a honker as he does so I choose to smell only the nice smells. Even when it rains, it's still nice to be outside. No one is usually out and it's as if the world belongs to only us at that moment. Also, the scenery looks different in the rain. There are sharper contrasts and deeper colors. I learned to look at that from my dog.

People ask me, "Could you live without the dog?" and I say that I most certainly can. The real question is, "Do I want to?" Today, while Elijah took a long nap and insisted that I sit on the couch with him, Shadow jumped up onto my lap, plopped down and promptly fell asleep. So did I! I guess he taught me that sometimes you have to slow down. I was tired to from waking up half a dozen times seeing if Elijah was okay. (he wasn't) He also kept checking on Elijah by literally walking on him and sniffing him. He knew "his boy" wasn't up to par.

All I can say is "Thanks, Shadow". I'll make you a hipper sweater next time.

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