Not enough can be written about the power of a dog. Abilities that are hard to believe until you can see them in action. Sniffing out bombs, bodies, cancers, seizures. Dragging bodies out of burning building, sinking boats and harm’s way in general. The wonders of a dog are seen in daily life around the world as they are the service companions of the blind, deaf and paralyzed among us. The compassion of a dog assisting a PTS (Post-traumatic stress) war vet cope with civilian life is in the news more and more. Millions of stories of brave people and their Incredible canine companions.
But any one of us, even if we are not disabled, but who own and care for a dog(s) know how much richer our life’s are because of our pet.
A day does not go by when Dean, my German Shepard/beagle rescue does not remind me to be patient, kind and giving in his patient, kind and giving ways. He relives my stress, makes me smile, and forces me off my butt. These might seem small, insignificant things when you have people with challenges I can not even imagine but I am Dean’s challenge and he is committed to carrying out these tasks graciously. I think your body and mind age faster when you don’t have a dog. Lucky me.
I think I have some kind of ADHD. In fact I think many adults have it in some form or another. Energy with poor concentration. Start things, think about things to start, finish things in your mind as you walk into the room that calls you to do something. Clean, organize, remove wallpaper, paint.
So I walk Dean instead. I usually walk him alone. Just the 2 of us. A slow steady pace since he stops alot for the hound in him. But sometimes he walks with a mission and I can feel like I am getting a bit of a much needed work out. As many of you know, a great deal of thinking can go on with these walks. Problems can be solved, conversations spoken and you return with a surge of resolve.
However, most surges are fast, powerful and short lived. You must strike while the iron is hot. So after a short rest I tackle something and in my small humble way feel that I have accomplished something. The list of things is still there on paper or on my mind but something is checked off.
I’ll be an empty nester in the fall. No excuses. More walks, longer walks and more things checked off. We will see.
Regardless of how blessed your life is and mine certainly is, you can venture into dark places. You can try to shake it it off but the cloud becomes a fog and it takes time to lift it. This summer, my oldest daughter is home from her freshman year of college with mixed success. Challenged with Aspergers Syndrome, she enjoyed independence and extra curricular activities but ignored all academic support systems. So we now are struggling with what her disability really means in the real world and her ability to navigate and manage it. So I am sad and very tired thinking with all that we have done. What have we really taught her to do and initiate. For the first few weeks she was back I was furious at her for squandering all she was given. I could hardly walk D, my faithful canine, and if I did I still felt exhausted.
D deserves better. Longer more cheerful walks. So slowly I am gearing back up. As I walk him longer and father I feel stronger. Walking off the frustration and gaining distance from the problem so we can think and find new ways to help her help herself.
D knows and seems to understand. Those of you devoted to your dogs know they can feel your moods and body’s highs and lows. But he persisted and patiently waited for me to make no more excuses. So we walked and he laughed and smiled and was on his best DINOS behavior.
So tomorrow I’m going with my younger daughter to her freshman college orientation. I have to focus on her. She is opposite to her sister as siblings often are. The magic of the walk has recharged me and she and I can enjoy all she has worked so hard to achieve. I need to work just as hard for her-just different.
The problems will still be there when we get back. But so will D 😊