You hurry home from work, because you know he/she needs to get out to go to the bathroom and go for a walk.
You go home earlier than you’d like from a social event because you need to “take care of the dogs.”
You worry when you have to leave them in someone else’s care… well, because no matter how good that someone else is, you know that is it not the same as home and that makes you a little anxious.
You tolerate drool and hair, or muddy paw prints. Sometimes with a sigh…because even if you’re a neat-nick and it adds extra clean up to your daily routine, you realize that what your dogs give to you in emotional support and companionship is worth every bit of that effort.
You share adventures together. Whether it is walking, hunting side by side, traveling the country, swimming, hiking trails, or simply playing fetch in the back yard, you delight in just watching your dog be happy.
When you love a dog, you learn from them. Each dog that comes into our lives has something to teach us. It might be that we learn the meaning of perseverance and patience, to laugh more or to live in the moment. Sometimes they teach us to be still and sometimes they teach us we Should be excited to find out what is on the other side of the door!
Dogs are amazing. Once you have made the commitment to have a relationship with them, they give you back more than you might imagine.
And when you truly love a dog, you will someday have to face letting them go. That moment will be one of the hardest in your life. It will feel unbearable.
I am facing that unbearableness with my Tommy. He is my 13.2 year old Malinios, that many of you know from my videos and Youtube clips. He has a cancer diagnosis that does not bode well considering his age and other structural problems that complicate his mobility.
I’ve made lifelong friendships because of Tommy and his ability to make me look skilled and competent. He did 90% of the work, I just had to show up!
So I am filling up whatever remaining time we are given, with light and affection, slow walks, and his favorite toys to tug on. That is what we do when we truly love. We give until it hurts and until we think we will shatter. But we won’t.
And when I am certain that he is ready and I have to make the ultimate decision to send him up, I will do it for him and I will be by him for each passing second.
I’m not sharing this story because I need sympathy or to leave anyone feeling sad. I share it to remind people that to love a dog means to celebrate that dog and support them until the very last breath. When the final days come, do for your dog, what your dog would do for you.
Addendum: Robin lost Tommy prior to the publishing of this article. He passed on 6/29/17