Monday, November 29, 2010

Lessons learned from a Dog

I've been dreading writing this post for the last week; but it needs to be done.  I promised myself a few years ago, when my Dog Bandit died (I had her since I was 12 and she died when I was 23) that I was done having pets.  Because first, I felt self inflicted guilt every time I went home as an adult because she was there in the back yard (wagging her tail of course; she was the happiest dog) almost like she was saying, "There you are, where've ya been?"  And secondly, I had a hard time when she died; even though I knew it was  going to happen someday.  She was the best dog. 

My brother's dog Duke came to live with us at the beginning of November.  He too was the best old dog anybody could ask for.  He was so loving with the boys and so obedient.  He was a good friend to Spot (our other dog I broke down and got as a puppy 2 years ago).  We loved him.  We were so blessed to have Duke live with us the short time that he did.

You see, Duke passed away.  I know what you're thinking, "What?  You sure didn't have him that long"  I know...I'm still in complete shock over the whole thing myself.  But through the shock and sadness, I have once again seen the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father helping my family even with something as a dog dying.  Duke got a twisted stomach that often happens to old dog (especially Great Danes).  We had to have him put down.  I was looking back on the whole thing, wondering if there was something I did wrong (I mean, my brother had him for 6 years just fine and I get him for 2 weeks and he dies), and I had to stop or drive myself crazy with guilt. 

I had to try and look at the good things that happened in our lives because Duke was with us for that short time.  I have come to a peace that I didn't kill my brother's dog, that it just happened.  That it was his time.  That it was also Heavenly Father teaching me and my family yet another lesson about love.  Since we had Duke, we were going on family walks with the dogs.  We've been taking more time for each other.  The boys would go outside and hang out with the dogs (something Spot has been needing).  We loved him and he loved us. 

It was a miracle actually that Duke started showing the symptoms after the boys went to bed; so they didn't even have to see him in pain.  It was a miracle that my brother (who loved that dog so much) didn't have to see him in pain. 

The only 24 hour vet clinic open at 2 o'clock in the morning was in Flagstaff.  My dear sweet husband didn't want me driving I-17 at that hour with the elk on the road, so he volunteered to take our poor old dog up.  Even then I was thinking he would be OK, and I'd see Duke back home in a couple hours.  Thank you John for being with Duke and comforting him in his last moments...for Tyrrell, for me and for the boys. 

The big thing that Duke taught me is that I always have MORE room in my heart to love.  And to love so greatly.  I didn't realize how attached I had become to him in only 2 short weeks.  The funny thing is, Heavenly Father teaches me this lesson over and over through my children, who love everyone so easily and forgive everyone so easily.  This time he taught me through a dog.  He brought our family a little bit closer, he brought me closer to my brother, he helped us care more for our little Spot.  Thank you Duke for the lessons on love.

1 comment:

Brooke said...

ahhh. I hate when family pets die. The lessons they teach (if we pay attention) are/can be life changing!

My kids have been asking for a dog forever. We have house sat dogs MANY times for months at a time. . . but I am scared of house training.

I would LOVE a great dane, and mike wants a yorkie hahaha!

By the way How is Terryl. I was thinking about him the other day. Pretty random huh?