Life Lessons and Little Dogs

It’s Wild-Card Wednesday. Anything can happen. Today is one of those weird days. I had a post about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre all planned.  I even started writing.

Sometimes even the best laid plans just aren’t meant to be.  Some words are fighting to get out of me.  If I don’t open the floodgates,  they’re going to beat their way out. Be warned, this is a departure from my usual.

Mark Twain (AKA Samuel Clemons) said:

The dog is a gentleman;  I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”

That always makes me smile.  Dogs are often nicer to be around than humans.  They seem to have it all figured out.

These pictures are of my little Pomeranian, Angel.  She changed my life.  I never imagined I’d get so much joy from a little puff of fur, but I did.

She was just plain good company.  She always acted glad to see me.  She showed her love with her kisses and her exuberance.  She acted like wherever we’d ended up was great.  She trusted me and acted like there was no other human–except maybe my husband–she’d rather spend her days with.

Though I thought I was much smarter than her, I was wrong. Angel taught me more than I ever dreamed possible.  The time I spent with her was like a million lessons on how to  be a good person.

In her last years, Angel became blind and deaf. In her last months, she became incontinent.  Kicking and screaming, I learned patience.  The number of times I cleaned up dog messes reaches into the double–possibly triple–digits.  My little dog was worth it.

Angel paced a lot toward the end of her life. I stupidly thought she needed outside, so I’d get up and take her. When the weather was nice, I’d hold her and rock her in the sun.  These trips seemed an endless interruption, but I learned to appreciate them for what they were–the last times Id spend with my little dog.

Angel had good days, times when she seemed to know where she was.  It was during those times she’d show a bit of her old spunk.  It was difficult to put the reality of our situation on hold and just enjoy that moment.  But I did.

I was thankful each time Angel whirled around or barked at her Daddy for a treat. Those times came less and less, but each one was precious to me.  Slowly but surely, I was learning to live in the moment.

Dogs are the most loyal creatures.  They’ll follow their masters through all the cones of Hell just for love.  I kept this in mind as I cared for Angel in those last months.  She trusted me and needed my unconditional love.  It was only fair.  I’d had hers for so many years.  True, unconditional love knows no seasons.

When she stopped eating, I knew.  Still, it was the hardest call I’ve ever made.  As felt sorry for myself, I realized that this was the last lesson Angel had for me.  She was teaching me responsibility.

When doing the right thing is fun, responsibility comes easy.  When doing the right thing is difficult, well, that’s when responsibility becomes a lesson and a test.

It’s been four months since the day I put my dog to sleep. I’ve done a lot of thinking.  I’ve realized how many good lessons I learned from my sweet baby.  I’ve realized how empty my life is without her.  She was a big part of my every day.

Love is such an important part of life.  Giving your heart is never safe, nor does it come with guarantees.  Your heart’s bound to get broken some of the time.  If I hadn’t loved Angel, though, I would have missed out on one of the best friendships I’ve ever had.  I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.  Knowing that and loving anyway is what it’s all about.

Those we’ve loved never really go away.  We carry them with us forever in our hearts.  The lessons I learned from my little dog will touch me the rest of my life. Knowing that she’s still with me is both comfort and sorrow.  She was my best friend.  She was my family.  She was one of us.

The trick is not to worry about how it’s all going to shake out in the end.  Enjoy the ride.  Love hard.  Laugh a lot.  Bark whenever you can.  Before you know it, time’s up.

Angel 1994 – 2011

I had a Chris Cornell song called “I Promise it’s not Goodbye” picked out.  Angel wouldn’t have wanted that song.  This song is the one we always danced to.  Thank you, Angel, for being part of my life.


Things are going well.  Not much of an update, I know.  I’ve finished a couple of big projects and and am getting rolling on Murder in Black Water. I feel a little lost.

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