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Things we can learn from a dog

8 months 26 days 16 hours ago |3 Views | | | Email | Print

Loren Hardin


Contributing Columnist


This is Part 3 of a series about Norma who was admitted to hospice with general debility, which is another way of saying that she has a lot of things wrong with her; multiple organ and systems failures. I previously described Norma as being “forward and feisty,” but I’ve noticed she’s lost some of her feistiness. She’s weaker and a little confused at times now. And I’m saddened, no grieved, by the prospect that we might be losing the old Norma bit-by-bit. But when I suggested that God might use her story to enlighten, inspire and encourage others, that her written story will go places she’ll never go, and touch people she’ll never meet, that characteristic grin and twinkle in her eye reappeared.


Norma loves her “little dog,” Mimi, and one of the most difficult things about living at the nursing home is being separated from her. Norma’s daughter, Essie, brings Mimi to the nursing home for visits but Norma still misses her greatly. Norma reflected, “We traveled together, just her and me. She loved to travel. I would throw her in the car and off we’d go. I was watching a dog show on TV and they had dachshunds on it and I cried all day. I’ve sat up in my bed at night crying many a time. A dog sure is a man’s best friend, it sure is! A dog won’t talk back, they don’t hold grudges and they will curl up with you. Mimi used to sleep with me every night. She slept on the pillow beside me and all you could see were her eyes.”


Norma held up one of those C-shaped neck support pillows and stated; “Now when I go to bed I pretend that this is my little dog.”


Norma’s sentiments towards her “little dog” remind me of something given to me several years ago; that I’ve kept filed for just the right moment. It’s titled, “Things we can learn from a dog” and following are some thought provoking excerpts:


“Never pass up the opportunity for a joy ride…When loved ones come home, always run to greet them…Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory…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…Thrive on attention and let other people touch you…No matter how often you are criticized, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout; run right back and make friends.”


I’ll close with a reportedly true story I read on line, titled, “A Dog’s Wisdom.” It’s about an unnamed veterinarian who made a home visit and concluded that the family’s 10-year-old Irish Wolfhound was dying of cancer and there was nothing that could be done. Therefore he offered euthanasia as an option and the family agreed. The father suggested that their six-year-old son be present because he might learn a valuable life lesson from the experience. But at the same time they were a little concerned that he might become extremely upset. To their surprise he remained remarkably calm. As they stood around talking about how much shorter a dog’s life is than a human’s the little boy exclaimed, “I know why! People are born so they can learn how to live a good life, like loving everyone all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that so they don’t have to stay as long.”


I think a dog can teach us a thing or two, don’t you?

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