Lessons from my OLD, old dog...
Moses is my rescue mutt from Alabama who will be approaching his 17th birthday if he lives until 2012. That means, I am fortunate enough to still be with my 112 year old dog. He is my longest-running relationship, room mate and companion to date so I thought I'd share some valuable "Life Tips from Moses" with any who could use them to slide into summer with these valuable pearls of wisdom.
As Moses experiences his old age, his personality has been changing, almost as if his internal compass shifted and he is uncannily aware that his days are more precious, his time is limited and he is doing his dog-gy dog-gone-est to make the most of what's left. If Moses could speak, here is what he would want us to know to make the best of the "dog days of summer":
Keep close to your loved ones - I've always been Mosie's "alpha dog" and he loyally follows me around. But now, he is literally my shadow every moment we occupy the same space. He isn't satisfied to stay in his own bed at night and insists to be in our room, right under my side of the bed. In other words, he doesn't accept my limitations on our togetherness any more; closeness is what he wants and he is going to go for it. If you want more connection to someone you love, what could you do this summer to keep them close?
Take Risks when the Reward is Worth It -
"Old" Moses has lost all of his manners. If we open a cabinet, his nose is literally in the drawer sniffing out a treat. In doing so, he will risk an inadvertant head slam to get that bacon bite. When we come home, he is snoring away on the leather couch which has always been forbidden territory. Once his cataract-covered eyes focus enough to realize he is busted, he still stays puts and even smiles at us. Moses wants what he wants right now and he isn't apologetic about it - he makes his needs known at every opportunity and indulges in comfort, luxury and simple forbidden pleasures. What could you do this summer to indulge yourself? How are you letting others know about your needs? What risk might you take where the reward is just WORTH IT?
Don't RUSH through the Good Stuff
Moses will not move an inch if he is mid-sniff on a walk and he's got a good smell going down. I can be missing a train and he will let me pull his collar ("Life is Good" it says...a well-worn motto)off his neck before he moves from that spot. If he is eating and enjoying his meal, he will now walk away to save some for later. Sometimes he will even take his food out of his dish and move it into the dining room. He is just NOT going to be in a hurry for anyone, anywhere. Where could you SLOW DOWN in your day of action to savor the present? What changes could you allow in your routine that make room for a slower pace? If you are busy, could you schedule some unstructured time to just see what smells good?
Don't Let the Bullies Get You Down
"Oso" is the cujo-like barking maniac dog next door who is fenced in his backyard next door ALL DAY LONG. I would be angry too but Oso has a sharp bark, a scary glint in his green eyes and appears ferocious. He has bullied Moses since we moved in and been as intimidating as possible when our elder dog is cruising in and out of our backyard. Lately, Mosie will walk right up to the fence, perk up his ears, wag his tail and shout back a hoarse bark right back at Oso. This is new. This is Moses "using his voice" (or what is left of it) to say "I"m here, I hear you and your problem isn't mine." It could also be called the art of detachment and standing up for oneself.
My grandmother (from the Deep South) had a saying when we'd misbehave, she'd cuddle us into her enormous bosom and coo "Bless It, Bless It". Those words of acceptance and forgiveness have become my family's refrain when one of us does something annoying to the rest of us. In times of frustration, it helps to utter them to ourselves and to each other as if to say "thanks for all of it"; even the prickly bits that are more of a challenge to live with. Every day I am with Moses, I am saying "Bless It, Bless It" and I am honoring my faithful friend, protector and dearly loved prince of dogs. So, think about "Wisdom from Moses" as you live out your summer days ahead and bless every bit of it and those whom you love on this earth.
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