It was an education in the art of living and my mentor was a dog.
Bad news poured in, interspersed with bits of good. It could have been worse but was bad enough. I felt beaten up but my problems were nothing compared to friends and family who struggled with more. I felt their pain.
|Duncan, my sure-footed guide in the art of living.|
The leg came from a little Border Collie-Corgi mix, Duncan. He joined our household after some crumby years on the wrong side of the tracks. I'm pretty sure when he looks back on that, he's happy to forget old acquaintance.
Duncan sized up the new situation and settled in nicely.
Ever since then we've been looking out for each other. When I'm down, he picks me up. He knows what I need to hear, which is nothing. He just gazes adoringly into my eyes and agrees with everything I say. And he's a born lover. You can tell when he's happy, which is just about always.
Duncan lives in the present. That is a wonderful gift, because it is human nature to look past today. The more I worry about tomorrow, the more Duncan reminds me not to wreck what we have right in front of us, right now.
We are creatures of routine. Mornings in Duncan's house start with some loving. I come downstairs in the darkness and look for a white snout pointed my way. He's watching me. He knows I can't get past that nose. I lie down on the floor beside his bed and we talk.
"You're a good boy," I tell him over and over. I don't know why I say this because he isn't doing anything. He scrunches closer. I gently massage his muzzle. He loves that and pushes a bit. He looks longingly into my eyes and soaks it up. I feel better already and I'm doing all the work.
But he must be doing something because I'm thinking life is good. The world is a pretty great place.
Ok, maybe not that great, because lately the world outside our door has been incredibly dark, wet and cold. The last thing I want on these dark mornings is to step out into the wretched gloom and rain.
Duncan is thinking the opposite. He growls playfully, dances circles in the room and leads me to the door. I laugh for the umpteenth time and reach for my coat - can't help it.
I know what he's thinking: "Make my day. Put on your shoes. You won't be sorry. Get up and get outside."
I do and I'm not sorry. Once again he wins.
Life is good.