Recently the vet diagnosed my Boston Terrier, Stella, with advanced heart disease. She collapsed one day doing what dogs do….protecting her house and humans from intruders – the trash collectors. She was indoors and the interlopers were never in any real danger because of the structural barriers but, nonetheless, Stella was going to make her presence known and bark her disapproval.
I wonder if Stella has any clue about what's happening in her little body. All she knows is that now she gets a peanut butter-smothered pill two times a day and Mommy is feeding toast each morning…it doesn’t matter to her that the toast is meant to fill her tummy so the medicine doesn’t make her sick. Her unconscious resilience and ability to go about her day – happy and unfettered by the consequences of the diagnosis (despite her labored breathing) – has reminded me to embrace and enjoy her each day.
She still wags her tail (which is really a stump) when she sees people that – to her – could have been gone for five years, five months, five weeks, five days, or five minutes…it doesn’t matter, she is still happy to see them, regardless of why she hasn’t in a while. People come in and out of our lives for various reasons and circumstances so when you see them again, make like a dog, wag your tail and blissfully greet them. Stella still chases squirrels and birds that she will never catch, undeterred, moving merrily on to the next potential conquest. This is a reminder to never give up chasing a dream.
Stella stretches every morning before she gets out of bed and even though my yoga teacher has preached for years the value of a morning stretch ritual, it took my canine companion to finally help the nickel drop for me.
The lessons we can learn from our pets are endless and enduring and go way beyond the love and loyalty that our beastly companions offer each day. Observe them and my suspicion is that life will quickly become a little less complicated and way more gratifying.
May 18, 2013
Today, Stella would have been 13. Stella died on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. I came home from work and found her lying peacefully, just like she was sleeping. The vet told me that she likely felt a little strange, fell asleep then passed away. She is my forever Boston angel and I know she continues to protect and watch over me from the big playground in the sky. As she did in life, she puts a smile on my face everyday.
Rest peacefully my little love....a star -- the meaning of your name in Italian -- is shining a bit brighter because of you.