Some of you may recognize this fellow from years gone by. Believe it or not, our Jackie is still going strong at ripe old age of 16!
I think we can all learn something from my loyal stead Jack.
This morning, he woke up at 6am and headed outside for a pee. It was a beautiful day and after 5 minutes, my intuition told me that Jack had decided to cease the moment and go for a walk, all on his own. He didn’t get out yesterday because it was too hot so today, he was going to make sure that he didn’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. I had to go after him in my sexy pj’s ( not ) and naturally there were people out for their morning stroll who had spotted him. I knew exactly what they were thinking ….what kind of an owner lets her geriatric dog go out for a walk all on his own. Guilty !
The fact is, Jack has always lived life to the fullest and he is truly enjoying the ride.
I’ve decided to dedicate this post to Jack and everything he has taught me over the years.
- Get up, get outside and keep moving. Jack does not believe in sleeping in and if he does, it’s for one of two reasons….I stayed up too late the night before or, we had company over which left him feeling overstimulated and exhausted. I take him for a walk almost every day (weather permitting) . Even on the hot days he still insists on getting out but, his turn around point comes sooner than our usual hour to and hour and a half stroll. It’s incredible how this fellow just knows when to turn around! All of that to say, during my illness I have never once stayed in bed. I always get up, get dressed and make the bed with no exception. I strongly believe that taking a daily walk( even if it’s only to the end of the laneway and back) and being outside has played a significant role in my recovery.
- Know thyself – In all honesty, Jack takes me for a walk, not the other way around. He decides whether or not we turn left or right at the end of the laneway. One route is longer than the other. Somedays, I think to myself we’ve gone far enough, he’ll never make it home but, he digs his paws in the ground and refuses to turn around. The other day, he took the super long route and headed straight up the hill to do the loop. He hadn’t done that since the winter but, he knew he was up for it so he went for it, grinning ear to ear. Point being, Jack knows himself. He paces himself and on the off days, doesn’t push it. He ain’t got nothin to prove to no-one ! Jack you’re my inspiration 🙂
- Be Patient – Jack is so patient. When the kids were little, they would dress him up in a bonnet, put him in the stroller and run around the house. He never once objected and I think he quite enjoyed it. He loves his girlies. Taking him for walks these past few years has taught me how to be more patient. When you take Jack for a walk, you con’t be in a hurry. He definitely goes at a snails pace but, that’s ok ! I am more patient than I have ever been and it is helping with my recovery. As my friend Ayya Medhanandi points out ( Spotify Sati Saraniya Hermitage episode “Feast of Patience” June 1, 2021 ), “What we don’t like, we have a hard time being with”. To live with a condition like Covid, that seems to go on endlessly and just when you think it’s gone , comes back, takes patience. Sometimes you’re tempted to throw in the towel and turn to heavy drugs. Just make it go away ! But, it’s important to persevere with daily practices ( ie breath work; yoga; meditation) because eventually the suffering will subside 🙂
- Love unconditionally – To love someone ‘unconditionally’ means that your love remains unchanged despite their actions. Jack lives this whole heartedly. He seems to sense when someone is in need of some extra loving and provides that healing presence to everyone. I used to take him with me when I would visit my Dad. At times I believed that my Dad was born grumpy. He definitely wasn’t always the easiest person to be around but, when Jack would visit, his entire face would light up. Sometimes I wish I could have been more like Jack. One year I gave up my Dad for lent. He was being particularly difficult and I just had to take a step back. I didn’t last the 40 days but, it was darn close!
- Forgiveness – One of the hardest things about traveling is having to leave Jack behind. But no matter how long we’re gone, he welcomes us back with a wagging tail and lots of kisses. I think that letting go of any anger we may feel towards another, is an essential part of healing. I personally have let go of a lot of things over the years and the load I carry, is definitely lighter as a result 🙂
- Enjoy the finer things in life – Everyone who knows Jack, knows how much he loves to eat. He has a reputation of being a wee bit over weight, despite all of the exercise he gets. I have always hated taking him to the vet because I know exactly what they are going to say. What do you feed him and how much ?? It’s like when the doctor asks you how much you drink in a week…..are you really going to tell them the honest truth ? So I give him chicken and cheese three times a day. He’s 16 years old and still going strong, so what the heck 🙂 Everything in moderation of course ( more on that later! )Oh and did I mention dessert and snacks?? I don’t know what they are putting in Milk bones these days but one never seems to be enough for Jack.
- Stillness– In every house that we have ever lived in, Jack has created his own sacred space, where he sits comfortably and watches the world go by. Now a days, the two of us spend a lot of time staring at the river. Every day, I try to be more and more like him. Being is a wonderful thing 🙂
Feeling blessed that Jack continues to walk by my side every step of the way .
We have much to learn from our furry friends.