This one’s for dog lovers: a disclaimer for today’s reflection
I’ve been thinking about my dear Shannon, our puppy of 11 years who we needed to put down last week.
He really didn’t do much. Snooze around the house; hang out in the kitchen when food prep was underway. When I cried, he stayed by my side and waited for the storm to pass. And real thunderstorms made him an anxious mess.
Here are a couple of lessons I learned from this hangin’ around that Shannon did. It’s not what we do as much as who and where we are that matters. His presence held a space for all of us in our family. Waiting with anticipation, the joyful reunion, the unembarrassed requests for attention. His dark eyes fixed on mine, he dragged my harried mind into the present moment. It was as if he was saying, “Here I am, momma. This is it, right now. Nothing else is as important.” His big, fluffy golden frame was positioned between me and the door or the chair or the phone. “Stay here, momma. I claim you. Let’s be together.” Or, “Let’s go outside, or let’s get me something to eat. Whatever it is, we’ll do it together.” The companionship as important as the task. So simple. Lying at my feet as I worked. Content to be there and up for the next adventure. So beautifully simple.
My heart and home ache without his simple presence. He didn’t need to do or accomplish anything. He was just here, happy to see us, to be with his pack. To love us anew everyday of his life. And he knew how to ask for what he needed.
Can we as people in our relationships learn to be this for one another? Life’s tasks keep us busy, and we’ve learned a long time ago to value ourselves by what we’ve accomplished. Yet, here is this creature who really just was himself.
Might we also mean so much to one another? Just to be for each other—to be together, to find adventure in a walk around the block, to be real and present to each other and be our best selves. And to ask for what we need, and to love each other enough to help us get it? So simple. Yet so remarkable.