Monday, September 18, 2006

All I need to know in life I learned from my dog

I was just thinking about the author who coined that phrase. It's making quite a bit of sense to me right now, actually, and whether or not that sounds totally ridiculous, it's very true.

I've lived a great deal of my life sad and angry. I don't really know how it started, actually, but it certainly morphed in to taking over so many parts of my personality. For a long time I accepted it was who I was, that it was as much a part of me as, say, my right hand. There was no changing it, everyone, including me, would just have to accept it. That's not to say I'm not happy and loving, because I very much am, but often times, the happiness and I love I feel is clouded by negativity. When people (or animals) are in your life just accepting that is who you are, as well, it really becomes rooted that those traits are perfectly fine. I just thought "well, all these people love me, so I must be okay just how I am". And to some degree, I am okay, surely I could live the rest of my life with the same level of crabbiness I have right now and be reasonably fine. Luckily I have enough loved ones who accept me even as a human being with faults.

So where does my dog tie in to all of this? As I talked about in my guilt post a couple of days ago, I was hit with tremendous guilt about the kind of owner I was to my dog. No, I wasn't abusive and horrible, but I was impatient, crabby, and when stressed, I yelled more than I talked sweetly to her. And why? I don't even really know. It wasn't about her, she was just a dog, a very sweet, well-behaved, wonderful dog. It was about me. And what did I accomplish from acting the way I did? Absolutely nothing. I accomplished filling myself with so much guilt, it's going to take a lot of soul searching to clear it all out.

I feel like I'm really at a crossroads, my life has changed so drastically over the past few weeks, and I can either just go back down the road I was on (which wasn't really a road that was getting me where I wanted to be) or I can choose a new path, and use this opportunity as a time to do something different. I would hate to ever trivialize Lily's life by saying she was here to be a lesson for me, but rather amongst all of the lives she has touched, this is how she has affected me and opened my eyes.

My mom and dad sent me a children's book called Dog Heaven. I looked at it and thought it would be nice to read it to Iris. We sat down on the couch and I open it up, telling myself I wouldn't cry. The first lines in the book are "When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields. We when a dog arrives in Heaven, he just runs." Yeah, I was a blubbering mess by the second page. I kept on reading, through my tears. Iris just looked at me and said "book make mama sad". One part of the book says "Every angel who passes by has a biscuit for a dog. And, of course, all God's dogs sit when the angels say 'sit'. Every dog becomes a good dog in Dog Heaven". Okay, I could quote the whole book. It's just the sweetest, most touching thing I have read. If Iris were a little older and more concerned about what happens when a dog dies, it would be perfect to talk to her about.

As my mom shared the news of Lily's passing with her friends, also Portuguese Water Dog owners, one of them responded by writing that you are only saying a temporary goodbye, as someday we will meet our pets again. I truly believe this, in fact, one of the last things I said to Lily was "we will see you again, sweet girl". Although I'm not sure I actually believe in God, or Heaven, I'm not sure what I believe, but I do feel in my heart that this isn't the end of the line for us. The souls we are joined with in this lifetime aren't gone forever in death.


  1. One of my favorite dog quotes is from Will Rogers-"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." I'm keeping you guys in my thoughts.

  2. Oh, I love that quote! Very sweet.


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