Yesterday my dog turned 3 1/2 years old. This morning I took him for what is probably his last walk. He’s slipping away and there may be none tomorrow.
For three years our Saturday walks were a cornerstone of my physical and mental fitness routine. Every Saturday morning he would bug me to get out of bed and take him on our two mile walk. When he thought he had figured out the concept of a weekend it became every day when I was home and the sun was out. He is a tremendous creature of habit and the family joke is that he’s my dog on the weekends. We would walk somewhere to a cafe, eat cookies and meet new people. People who instantly fell in love with him.
Somehow we convinced this dog that the world is exactly how we wish it could be. That everyone you see is just a friend you haven’t met yet, that people and other dogs are basically good and if you give them half a chance they will open up like a flower. That the worst thing anyone can do to you is just ignore you.
A lot of my personal growth over the last few years has been in trying to be present in the moment. Coming to grips with the notion that all we have is Now, and that in most situations it’s the most important thing to worry about. There is nothing like an easy going pet to remind you of this fact, and I got a sometimes not so gentle reminder that whatever I thought I was doing couldn’t be nearly as important as going outside, right now, with my dog.
We had plans, he and I. At three you have a clear notion of what your pet is capable of, and what they enjoy. Now that I’m in better shape, we were going to go hiking this summer. I was going to finally teach him to swim, even if I froze to death in the process. Now that’s all gone. What’s left is the things we did accomplish together, and the time we are spending with him now. And that’s okay.
We are of an age where loss becomes more common. In just the last two years our family has lost three pets. My two cats passed from old age, and most recently our dog’s older brother died of a rare reaction to a medication. In all of those cases there were feelings of guilt, where due to circumstance they did not always have the life we wished for them. I have never felt that way with him. Everything he ever needed he got. Except for a long life.
This is all just a long winded way to get back to the subject matter, which is this: You don’t know what time you have. If there is something you should be doing, do it. Or at least do something. What can you do today that might get you there? Do it. One day at a time is really all you have. Please use it.