Teachings from the Hounds

These last few days have been a trying time. I took one of our dogs into the veterinary clinic on Friday, concerned as he was not acting like himself. I thought he was constipated, and was worried that he might have a chunk of bone lodged somewhere in his system. What started out as a quick trip into the veterinary clinic to get him checked out resulted in a lot of stress and numerous trips back. When I want, the worst I was imagining was surgery to remove the blockage, but it turns out our boy has an autoimmune disease.

It is very dangerous, very concerning, and means trips back to the clinic every few days for blood work to see how the drugs are working and if we are making ground. The disease makes him very sleepy as he is trying to recover and get his system back in balance. But, with the clinic just under an hour away, a road trip he usually enjoys has become a bit of a stressor on us all. My husband and I have spent much of our time since then with him sleeping on our lap, trying to convince him to eat, and feeding him pills. I have attempted, unsuccessfully, to write left-handed while he rested on my right arm. He is not a lap dog by any means, weighing in at just over a hundred pounds.

The time spent with him has given me lots of time to think, and, with my inability to utilize my left hand to take notes, schoolwork has taken a back seat. I have been thinking about what our three dogs, our boys, as we call them, have taught me over the years.

They have taught me that just because you have a sweet personality doesn’t mean you can’t be intimidating when you want to be. That just because you are too short to see over the fence doesn’t mean you can’t spring up and sneak a peek.

They have taught me that sometimes holding hands, or paws, is the best solution to any problem. That a little love and affection can go a long way.

They have shown me that even though they are big, sometimes even they need help?and That’s ok. That even though I am an adult and can fend for myself there is no shame in asking for help. That even though you can handle a scary situation on your own, it is ok to want your mom there to hold your hand.

They have shown me, time and time again, that a little perseverance can go a long way. That while some people have to chase the stick into deep water, some are ok to wait until it is brought in to shallower water, fearful of swimming?but even a fear can be tested when no one is watching.

Our boys have shown us that love trumps hate, and have lain at my feet for hours while I work on school, or while my husband works in his office. They are patient, but if they feel neglected they are not shy to remind us that they need some attention. That while what we are doing is important sometimes we have to take some time away and just enjoy life.

And, aside from unconditional love, I think the most important thing they have taught me is that not everyone is going to make a positive impact on your life, that some will approach aggressively and try to bring you to their level. But, instead of staying and fighting, the best thing to do is turn your shoulder and walk away. It is their issue, not yours.

Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature

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