Scratch that. I didn’t used to be a dog person.
When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in July of 2006, I did not want a dog. I had two cats and I thought that was enough.
Shortly after my diagnosis, years before I killed cable tv, my husband and I were channel surfing and came across an animal adoption channel. I didn’t want to adopt an animal, but watched anyway. (that’s the thing about TV)
That is the day I met Lloyd. Lloyd was a little black lab mix who had a brain defect. Because I had just been diagnosed with brain damage, I thought I was meant to be with Lloyd.
It was some kind of karmic connection that could not be ignored.
I’m not sure why I wanted to adopt a challenged dog but it might have been because…
- I wanted a distraction from my diagnosis
- I thought compassion for a dog could replace my fears
- I wanted to prove that even with an imperfect brain and body, love was still possible.
Whatever the reason, I wanted to know more about Lloyd. The more I learned, the more I realized that while I had room in my heart, I wasn’t equipped to take care of his special needs. Our two cats, my then hectic work schedule and dealing with my own health challenges stood in the way.
Just by considering bringing Lloyd into our family, I became a dog person. My husband noticed the change and my daughter took full advantage of the opportunity (otherwise known as my moment of weakness), and the next day we were at the shelter, looking for a puppy.
I knew I had become a dog person when I fell in love with Lloyd, and that was confirmed last month when I watched Guinness, our family dog of almost 5 years tear across our backyard, probably chasing a bird, running at the speed of light. In a flash, he yelped and I screamed as I saw him continue to run on three legs.
Guinness tore his ACL in his right rear leg. Last week he had surgery that came with a big vet bill and four month recovery time. Not spending the money or taking the time to help Guinness recover never crossed my mind. He’s part of our family and deserves a chance to get back to his active lifestyle of running, hiking and going for rides.
After one week, the surgery and recovery that I thought would be really stressful has shown me that I will do anything for this dog, along with a few other important lessons.
I’ll do anything for unconditional love.
- I will sleep on the couch so my dog doesn’t have to climb stairs.
- I will stand outside in the pouring rain until he finds the perfect place to pee.
- I will cover his medicine with peanut butter so it’s easier to swallow.
- I will sit with him so he doesn’t have to wear a plastic cone, even when I think I have other things to do.
What I learned by doing these things is…
- The things on my to do list that I think are important are not.
- Sweetness does help in delivering medicine or just about anything.
- Things are usually not as bad as I think they will be.
- Nothing happens at the ideal time and there is no ideal time for most things to happen
- Even when I accomplish less, I am just as loved, and just as satisfied.
Dogs want nothing more in life than a little love and attention. It might come in the form of a belly rub, fresh water, a walk in soft grass or an invitation to go for a r.i.d.e. They are easily pleased and forever grateful. A dog thinks you are the most amazing person ever. They ask for nothing and give everything they have.
While owning a dog might not seem to fit into the life of a minimalist, a dog shares a great example of how to lead a minimalist life.
I often think of Lloyd and wonder about the generous, caring family that adopted him.
My husband has a t-shirt that says “Lord, help me be the person my dog thinks I am” and I can’t help but pray for the very same thing.