“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ― Will Rogers
Lesson One: Be Present.
Be here now. My dog never has to be reminded. She lives in the current moment, letting the past fall away without resistance. Each individual moment is all she cares about. No past. No future.
Because she is not burdened with what happened yesterday, she is untroubled and alive. She leaps out of bed, does her morning/evening constitutional run around our back yard, barks hello to the neighboring mutts, chases birds and watches passersby. Then, she returns to the house to scarf down her breakfast (or dinner, depending on time of day) and settles in near me (usually by my feet) where she blissfully sleeps, often for hours at a time.
Her life is happy. She teaches me how completely simple things can be, every single day.
Lesson Two: Be Loyal.
Many people underestimate the value of loyalty. They see it as old-fashioned. But dogs are totally loyal to the people whom they love.
Belly listens for intruders as she snuggles up to me on the couch, reassured by my presence, but always ready to demonstrate what it means to embody her role as dog detective and all-around built in security system.
She’s the definition of true blue. I know for a fact that she’d never let anything bad happen to me. Ever.
And she will be with me all of her days.
She instructs me in the fine art of truth, beauty, and a fierce, uncompromising brand of loyalty.
She will never pack her bags and leave me. Never.
Lesson Three: Be Grateful.
Because dogs are so good at living in the moment, they take nothing for granted. They enjoy and accept what is, but they know that it could, at any time, pack up and leave the house.
A dog is much like a child of about two years of age. When I leave, Belle won’t remember that I will come back, so she is forever overjoyed by my returning presence. She practically throws me a parade every time I return home. Whether I’ve been gone for hours or mere minutes, makes no difference.
My dog is ecstatically happy to see me.
My dog wants to alert the media that I have returned.
My dog covers me with kisses and educates me, let’s me know – unequivocally – that she’s thankful that I am her person.
Lesson Four: Be Tenacious & Ask for What You Need.
If Belly needs anything – I am her go-to-girl. Need to potty? See me. Need a snack? See me. Need to hide from a thunderstorm or those evil fireworks? See me.
She’s not embarrassed in the least by her moments of genuine neediness. If she needs help, she seeks it out.
She once stepped on a brier in the backyard, lodging it into the pad of one of her front paws. As soon as she saw me, she lifted it up and showed me the sticker. I pulled it out and she was good as new. She knew what she needed and she asked for it.
Although I cannot, in fact, control the weather or what other people do near my home, she believes I can.
She seeks me out, sure that I am the answer to all that ails her. And generally speaking, I can be a source of comfort for her, so in many ways, she’s right.
I do control the weather, the food, the kitties, the house.
However, although I may have the keys to this tiny desert kingdom, Belly’s bark is still my command (and she knows it).
Lesson Five: Be Love Every Single Day.
Pure-hearted is how I’d describe my doglet. She’s built of pure love.
She came to me as a three-year-old, after living with a family that often left her crated all day long. Eventually, they left her alone in their foreclosed home with nothing but a cat for company. When I first saw a photo of her (sent to me by a friend who was seeking a permanent home for the little bug) she looked unbearably sad. Seeing her face made me want to cry. I wanted to scoop her up and cover her in kisses.
I realize now that the reason she loves my cat, Elvis, so much, is because he reminds her of her time in South Carolina when she was soloing with only a kitty as a companion.
Belly’s completely bonded to me now, but initially the adjustment after I adopted her was a challenge. She liked to bolt whenever a door opened. She was convinced that she’d never get to go out at all unless she took her chance whenever a door opened. This brought up all my abandonment issues from childhood. I lost my dog when it dug out of our fenced yard and got hit by a neighbor’s pick-up truck.
After a tumultuous start, Belle and I falteringly came to terms with each other.
She’s realized that she’s at home, right where she is. If I sit on the couch, dog sits on the couch. If I take a nap, dog naps. If I sit and write, dog sits close by. She watches me and sends me all her love. I feel it brushing my skin and surrounding me every waking moment.
She’s my co-pilot and my confidant. She’s my side-kick and my trickster sister.
She embodies unconditional love.
Miss Belly teaches me every single day to embrace my incandescence; to show my light, rather than hide it.
She’s the ultimate guru of woof-woof wisdom.
What would I do without her?
© 2014 Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved
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