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Lessons learned from my dog

Posted Friday, November 27, 2009, at 9:45 AM

It is hard to ask for a better friend than a dog.

We have all heard that said in some way at some time.

What I did not know is that in addition to being my friend, my dog would also be my teacher.

Every time I came home, my beagle Rebel would jump to the window, then excitedly greet me at the door. Once my hands were free, he was eager for a hug and a kiss. Have I done the same for my wife when she gets home?

From time to time, my work takes me away from home for several days. After being gone for particularly long times, when I got home, I would be scolded with Rebel's barks for being "lost."

Yet, somehow, those same barks conveyed joy that I found my way home.

Have I made sure my children knew the joy I felt when they "found their way home," even though I scolded them?

Far from perfect, from time to time, he would know exactly what I wanted and still disobeyed.

From time to time, I would punish him. In all likelihood, sometimes for things he did not do or not in proportion to what he did do. He never harbored anger or a grudge. Have I don't the same with those who wronged me?

Rebel always woke up in a good mood, even if he was groggy. He almost never worried about anything. He made sure to make time to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the refreshing breeze on his face, some of life's greatest pleasures. Meeting new people was always a joy. Little would get him worked up, but when it did, he would stubbornly pursue his goal to the end and never willingly give up. Can I say the same things about myself?

With age comes aches and pains and parts that do not work quite like they did in youth. Rebel never complained and these inconveniences rarely deterred him from doing what he set out to do. As he aged, Rebel learned many of life's lessons and was thus imbued with genuine wisdom. During a recent evening walk, while the sun was setting, he sat down on the top of a hill and looked wistfully over the back yard and meadow beyond where he used to run.

Rebel always wanted to be at my side. No matter where I went, no matter what I did, no matter how boring for him, he wanted to be there because I was there. There was never a moment when he was not faithful.

Suddenly, he could no longer walk. The diagnosis was cancer in his spine. I tried to be strong, but couldn't help but cry. With his front limbs, he dragged his paralyzed body to my side and gently pressed his head to my leg to comfort me. He was trying to comfort me as he was dying.

When it is my turn to account for my days on this earth, will I be able to give an accounting that measures up to this ever faithful friend, companion, and teacher, Rebel?

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How hard it is to lose a pet and how sad the loss is. I once had a youngster tell me that they were sure that animals went to heaven because where did the white horses God talked about returning to Earth on come from? Also, my son told me when he was 8 yrs. old when our beloved tabby named Toonces passed away after 20 yrs. that he thought animals were angels sent from God to watch our lives so that God knows every move we make just like the Bible says He does. Out of the mouth of babes!

Whether childish or not Charles, the boy has a point and may your "Angel" Rebel remain looking down upon you until our Lord brings you both back together again! I hope your tears are shortened by knowing that all the good you have done for this beloved creature will be rewarded 10 fold in your lifetime. Know that once the tears subside and your broken heart starts to heal once more, there are lots of "Angels" waiting for a heart and a home like yours at the Humane Society and are counting the hours until you grace their lives with your presence.

Thanks for such a tremendously heartfelt blog Charles. Thanks for letting us into your life.


-- Posted by karenmeister on Tue, Dec 1, 2009, at 7:41 AM

That is one of the most beautiful articles I have ever read Mr. Hear. I am deeply sorry for your loss and can fully empathize with you. I have been fortunate in my life to have been touched by several faithful friends, my 4 legged "children" as they are to me. When my beloved horse Twink died at the age of 29 I so grief-stricken that I took a week off work and could barely function. She was my entire world. I know the bond that we shared and to this day, it has been more than 5 years now since she died, I still get horribly emotional when I speak of her. But, like Karen so eloquently put it...there is another Angel waiting for you out there. It won't be your Rebel but another individual who will love you just the same. God bless and keep you Mr. Hear, we need more people like you!

-- Posted by Proud of My Country on Tue, Dec 1, 2009, at 11:20 AM

Sorry for you Loss Charles. Very touching article.

-- Posted by sandman442 on Tue, Dec 1, 2009, at 11:50 AM

Great blog Charles. You make a very good point-they are more than animals-they are our children, our friends and most of all, our family! May Rebel RIP and may he always be in your heart and memories. I am the proud parent of a beagle-they are the best dogs (friends)! :)

-- Posted by millertime on Thu, Dec 3, 2009, at 1:44 PM

Good blog, Charles.

Sorry to hear that Rebel passed.

When I get to Heaven, I'll rejoin 19 (and counting) beloved dogs, so I know how they put paw prints on your heart and leave holes when they take that final journey.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Dec 4, 2009, at 3:18 AM

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