Life Lessons from the Tail-Wagging Crowd

dog person

Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with such happiness? – Jonathan Safran Foer

Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished. – Dean Koontz

Today is National Dog Day. I had no idea there was such a holiday, but there you have it.

Since reflecting on the special magic of dogs is a much better option than reading the current political news, I’m going to indulge myself here on a Friday afternoon, on National Dog Day, with a celebration of my favorite dogs and the life lessons they have taught me.

Rowdy, Bear and Zoey. All three rescued mutts with no pedigrees but very big hearts.

Rowdy – a dalmatian-pointer mix, who was found starving and running loose in rural South Carolina thirteen years ago. She passed away last year, and we still grieve for her loss.

Bear – a black and tan hound mix from the Boone Humane Society. He’s prone to barking and whining, and is not opposed to a little doggie Xanax now and then. He’s officially my son’s dog, but I like to think I have partial custody. He calls me Mimi.

And Zoey – our newest, a peppy and somewhat clingy five-month-old pitt/rottweiler/cattle dog/pointer mix rescued from the Charlotte pound.

Zoey chases butterflies and fireflies. She’ll never fly, but she thinks she can.

Zoey persists in trying to catch the chipmunk that lives under the fountain on the patio. That chipmunk has survived the likes of Rowdy and Bear, so there’s a very high likelihood that little Zoey is no match. But how awesome is it that she does not stop trying even when the Great have failed before her?

After a long walk in the hot sun, Zoey just flops down on the cold tile floor, all four legs spread wide. She’s not worried about how she looks or that it’s an unflattering position. She also snores, which is not very ladylike, but I don’t think she cares about that either.

Zoey takes a nap when she is tired. Enough said. What a damn good idea.

Zoey gets so excited with the birds and the squirrels when let outside, she often forgets to pee. As a woman on the other side of fifty, I, unfortunately, rarely forget to do that, even when I am giddy with joy.

Rowdy used to hunker in the bathroom whenever there was a fight going on in the household. She had no use for conflict and mean, angry voices.

Rowdy happily went for a walk every day, even when she had a tumor the size of a cantaloupe in her chest. She never gave up, she just walked a little slower.

Bear has adapted to four homes in less than two years. Have dog bowl, will travel.

Eating anything that presents itself is not a good idea. Just ask Bear how he felt after eating a magic marker, a six inch piece of rubber, or that corncob.

For Bear, Rowdy and Zoey, any time it’s sunny it’s always a good time to go roll in the grass.

When someone you love is sad, it’s ok to let them rub your ear and snuggle, even if it goes on for hours. Rowdy’s ears were my particular favorite.

No matter how big or old you get, there is almost always room for one more on the bed. A love fest with your favorite people makes any day a little better.

Believe you can fly (at least metaphorically speaking..).

Never give up.

Think before you eat.

Take a nap and a walk every day, even if you feel bad.

Love with abandon every chance you get.

Go and pet a dog today. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

bear and zoey

3 thoughts on “Life Lessons from the Tail-Wagging Crowd

  1. Jeri, et al, y’all never cease to amaze me. Your Rowdy and my Amos, an amazing Chow/Golden mix, are kindred spirits and I know the two are chasing squirrels on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. I didn’t grow up in a home that loved dogs. Dogs were tolerated rather than valued. How sad. I’ve spent most of my adult life alone even when I had a human “partner”. I thank God for the 4-legged sweethearts He brought my way. I am the woman I am today because of Oscar Myer, Amie Marie, Teacey Ann, Amos McGee, Sadie Leigh, Oliver Twist (the twisted tail orphan) and my sweet, soon to be 6 year old, Willoughby Ashford. These true and loving souls made sure their “mom”, friend, benefactor was never, ever truly alone. How fortunate can one girl be??

  2. Awww — makes me think of our Rascal. A rescue dog that was a beagle/basset cross plus who knows what else. We got him at 6 weeks thinking he was mostly a cute little beagle — the big feet should have given us a clue.

    Solid as a brick and just as dumb, he nonetheless was very smart at the important things. You could point out a rabbit in the woods to him and he’d just look at you like, “huh?” But when he played with our 18 month old son he was much gentler than when rough-housing with John. And he never jumped on me — I was pregnant at the time, but he always treated me more gently.

    One time I was moving the kids from upstate New York to join John at his new job in Virginia. I had two kids (3 1/2 and 5 1/2) sleeping in the back seat of our Volvo. I was exhausted after staying up half the night cleaning out the house after the movers left. Trying to stay awake, Rascal sat on the car hump with his head by my shoulder, staying awake with me and occasionally licking my arm to help me stay awake.

    A buddy to us all, he was my “hairy son”. When one son was a teenager, lying on the floor with his arms around Rascal gave him comfort with the struggles of being a teenager.

    Losing Rascal after 15 year was hard for the whole family. Dumb as can be — but oh so wise. And so loved..

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