Sunday, June 3, 2012

Acceptance and Adjustment - What Wonderful Lessons I'm Learning

We recently lost our dog of 15 years named Miss Tybee. She had always been my little princess. From the very beginning she had me twisted around her paws. I just knew she belonged in our home. Within 24 hours, she knew she belonged, too.
She was about 17 years old when we put her down due to severe pain in her back legs and hips – degenerating spinal discs. She was also just about deaf and going blind from cataracts.
She was still my little 12-pound princess. She always had been. I still miss here terribly. She would cuddle against me at night and – boy-oh-boy – was she a little hot body!
Our other rescue dog, 15-pound Colonel Duffy, was about 2, as well, when we got him. He’s now 8 or 9. He misses her almost as much as I. Maybe more. I don’t know. I do know he shows it more than I, since I’m more “sophisticated, mature, stoic, or responsible” than he. He is just who he is. No apologies. No guilt. No shame.  Just naturally being himself.  I, on the other hand, am wrapped up somewhere between who I am and who I think I ought to be. How I sometimes envy Duffy and his acceptance of himself.
He’s coming around, though. Perhaps, he’s adjusting to being the center of attention.  Perhaps, he’s adjusting to being the “top dog.” Again, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter anyway. He’s just being himself and I’m learning acceptance from him.
Several days ago a friend called to say that a local business had picked up a small dog – believed to be a poodle – that wandered up to their construction site and hung around all day. The crew took the dog to all surrounding houses to see if anyone recognized the dog. No one did. So they’ve been keeping it at their business. They’ve called all the shelters, vets, related organizations, as well as radio stations and other media outlets to see if anyone has reported it. Nothing.
We went to see it – him – and he’s sweet, groomed, clean and well-dispositioned. He’s about 9-10 pounds. So, maybe he’s a miniature or toy poodle. We’re keeping him over the weekend to ensure he and Duffy get along.
In addition to the acceptance-training I’m receiving from Duffy on how to grieve, I’m also learning from No Name (although we’ve decided to call the new guy, since he’s a French Poodle, Lieutenant Beauregard (Beau for short) – nice and “Frenchy,” don’t you think?) how to adjust to new circumstances.
What a simple education! Beau is constantly on the alert. Watching everyone’s every move, figuring out all this newness as he goes along.
“What door do we go through for a walk? For naps? For food?”
“What is that bowl for? Oh!  Water. Good, I’ll remember that.”
“What’s that thing? Smells interesting.”
“Grrrr!” Says Duffy.
“Oh! That’s his toy. Must leave that alone – or wait until he’s out of sight.”
“What’s this around my neck? Why does Boss Man pull on it? I see. He wants me to come this way. Ouch! I’ll do better next time. Ouch! Okay, once more.”
I’m noticing all this and saying to myself: “Look at Beau – No anger. No frustration. No whining. No comparisons with previous ‘Boss Men.’ No shoulds. No oughts.”
Just is-ness.
I am beginning to realize this is the way my life can be if I simply understand, “This is what is.” It’s not good, bad, stupid, irresponsible, idiotic, thoughtless, short-sighted, or self-absorbed. It simply is just what it is. Period. Adjust, Don, and continue onward.
Beau, after 18 hours, now goes to the appropriate garage side door when I get the leash. He goes and gets a drink when he’s thirsty. He looks at “his” bowl – not Duffy’s – when he’s starting to get hungry. He goes to the correct door, gets in bed, and lies close to my wife when he’s tired.
This may not be a fantastic spiritual message for you today, but, in addition to sharing a message, I am trying to simply share myself with you. This is where I am today and what is going on inside me.
Even though it was wonderful, it’s good to be back home from our vacation in New England.
As always, thanks for listening and feel free to share this message with your friends, family and those with whom you are walking your spiritual path.
#1 June, 2012

1 comment:

  1. Don,
    My husband and I both enjoyed reading this spiritual message. We extend our sympathy to you, your wife and to Duffy.

    We too, are dog lovers and could so identify with your words and can still feel the loss of our poodles, Shadow and Dream and our Bichon, LeStat. All of which were also rescue dogs. They taught us many lessons over the years and we carry them in our hearts and will forever love and miss them.

    Thank you for sharing and we wish you and yours blessings. I hope little Beau has found himself a home.