When you welcome a dog into your life it doesn’t take long for you to realize how many wonderful lessons they have to share. Some are pretty obvious like how easily humans can be manipulated with cute floppy ears and a head tilt. They engage us in a rousing game of fetch then before we know it we’re the ones doing the fetching. It’s a strategy not an accident and we have been taught the rules of their game. When you share your life with a special needs dog, which is often a senior with a laundry list of conditions that would no doubt sideline a human, the lessons are even more prevalent. But the ones we can learn the most from are the ones you may might have to watch carefully for. Take our 11 year old female for instance. She’s quite a character and has been a member of our family from a very young age. Through the years she has grieved as her other pack members left for The Bridge, welcomed new pack members with open paws, taught snarky foster puppies manners, and loved each of us unconditionally. She’s looking quite pleased with herself these days, despite so many hardships.
To most, her satisfaction may not be obvious. To us, it represents so much more. Our lovely matriarch suffers from several debilitating and chronic health issues some of which cause intense spinal pain at times. With the constant care of a team of veterinarians that have followed her progress carefully we have found medications and supplements which make her more comfortable and are constantly being adjusted. Despite this, there are days that merely walking outside for a breath of fresh air is the equivalent of a 10K run. But due to her indomitable Siberian spirit she presses on, viewing each day as a gift to be celebrated. There’s no self pity for this girl! On some days she will climb to the top of the stairs. There’s never a real need to. She just wants to. Shyla then basks in the glow of her accomplishment and immediately makes a careful downward descent. Her day is complete and she’s satisfied.
So – take a lesson from this girl’s book! Embrace the day and celebrate the victories. It’s the little things.