Lessons Learned from My Dog

katieKatie, also known as Doodle Dog, graced our lives for twelve years. From a small bundle of fluff with huge paws she grew into a 95 pound beautiful friend with a heart as big as her body.

I learned a lot from Katie. Things like loyalty, unconditional love, patience, tenderness, joy, and how to let go.

One of my grandsons learned to walk by holding onto Katie’s fur. She didn’t mind if he pulled too hard to get to his feet, or if he forgot to let go when he lost control. She was patient, kind, and gentle.

On hot summer days, she enjoyed running and splashing through a kiddy pool my hubby bought just for her. Running full steam she’d zip around the perimeters of the yard and then come to a halt inside the pool, tongue lolling and a big smile on her face.

She was a lap puppy, 95 pounds of lap puppy! She’d wiggle her backside until she managed to rest on my knee. It was the best we could do.

She grew up with cats for friends and didn’t quite understand why a new cat decided to live in the basement for two weeks before venturing upstairs to tackle the big, mean dog. When the cat sat on her haunches and used her paws to slap Katie’s jaws from side to side, Katie only rolled her eyes as if to say, “Really?” Having cats as friends, Katie learned to “purr.” So funny to have her rub against my leg while giving her version of a purr. Oh, what a joy Katie was!

Katie had one bad habit, although it was hubby’s fault. She would beg at the dinner table. Mostly because hubby would toss her bits of food. One evening we had French fries and he kept tossing some to her. Katie would snap those big jaws and gulp down the tidbit without even knowing what it tasted like. So he decided to be sneaky. He tore off a piece of paper napkin, rolled it in his fingers and tossed it in the air. She caught it without a hitch and promptly swallowed it. He laughed, I scolded him, and Katie just wagged her tail.

Halloween was a favorite night for her. She adored seeing all the children coming to the door to visit her. Well, at least she thought that’s why they came! The problem was the children were afraid of the great, big, black dog! So, alas, poor Katie had to stay upstairs and only look down as we handed out treats to the new friends she wanted to meet.

Being a collie-lab, her coat would be extremely thick in the summer time and required a daily use of a undercoat comb. I wish I had a nickel for every trash bag filled with furI collected over the years. She was always patient as I made her sit, because she knew I’d let her off the deck where she could run and feel the wind blow through her silky fur when I finished. And there was always a treat, of course.

Eventually the time came when Katie’s health declined. Her hips were giving out and she could no longer manage stairs. Living in a bi-level house was a problem, but hubby, my wonderful inventor of all things necessary, built an elevator (a wooden box) and hooked it to a winch on the deck. He removed the railing on one side and Katie would get inside, and be winched down to the ground. Then she could do her business, patrol the yard perimeter to make sure there were no aliens trying to invade, and come back to the “elevator” and bark to be brought back inside.

We did have to say goodbye one day. I cried and hugged her and her eyes told me it was time. I heard her heart tell me she was ready and I needed to be ready, too. I held her close and loved her into heaven. She taught me some things just have to be and how to let go when your heart is breaking.

I’m grateful for all the lessons Katie taught me about life. She was my best friend, the one I could talk to about anything and she kept secrets and loved me despite all my flaws.

Dogs are a blessing from God, aren’t they? I cannot imagine a life without a pet. Especially now that my beloved hubby has gone to be with Katie in heaven. How about you? Do you have any stories to share about your wonderful pets? I’d love to hear them! Just click the “conversation bubble” at the top of the post to leave a comment..


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