Canine Wisdom


Canine Wisdom

One of my best teachers, Jessie, was also one of my best friends. She was with me right up until her 98th year-dog years, that is.

One of my best teachers, Jessie, was also one of my best friends. She was with me right up until her 98th year–dog years, that is.

Since recovering from the initial shock of losing our beloved golden retriever and gradually
coming to terms with the fact that Jessie would no longer greet me when I got home or offer to take that last slice of pizza, I’ve thought a great deal about how she lived her life.

What I realized is that I learned more from Jessie than Jessie ever learned from me.

In our colourful Blackberry, Bluetooth world, stress is a nemesis most of us struggle with daily. We spend too much time preoccupied by those things that we can do little about. Our minds trick us into reliving the past and agonizing over the unborn tomorrows.

For Jessie, there was only the moment to live in and relish. Here are some of the lessons that my teacher and best friend shared with me.

Give Unconditional Love

Jessie never kept score. The affection she showed every day was sincere and without strings. I could always count on her to make me feel appreciated the moment I walked in the door; I didn’t always earn it.

Live Guilt-Free

“Borrowing” a slice of toast off the kitchen table or sleeping on my bed when I wasn’t home were simply impulse things that made her happy. She was never riddled by guilt. My bed felt just as good on Thursday as it had on Monday.

Never Hold a Grudge

Once, some years ago, Jessie was left outside all night in the rain. For some reason she hated her doghouse and refused to go in it–some kind of canine protest over d?r, I expect. When I opened the door in the morning and found her out there, all she could do was jump up and lick my face. Others may have wanted to slap it.

Enjoy the Little Things

It always amazed me to see how much she enjoyed all the pleasures of life, no matter how trivial. I’d probably show less enthusiasm about winning the Super Bowl than she showed over yet another ride in the car, a crust of toast, a toss of the ball, or just a pat on the head. Her appreciation of the little things in life never waned.

Make the Most of a Situation

“Wherever you are, be there.” This sage advice from American motivational speaker Jim Rohn was advice that Jessie lived every day. Her downtime was taken up with a snooze in the sun, a roll in the grass, or just cocking her head to one side when the kettle boiled. I don’t recall ever seeing a bored look on her face.

Don’t Complain

Never. For all the times she had to “hold it” until I got home late from work, Jessie never complained. After eating the same dry kibble (with the occasional treat tossed in) year after year, Jessie never complained. Although she was never allowed to actually “get” the neighbor’s cat, Jessie never complained. And, in the final stages of cancer, an occasional whimper was all she let out. The last thing she did before she slipped away on the vet’s table was to lick my hand. Right up until her final moment, Jessie never complained.

The greatest lesson Jessie taught me was to just live in the moment. After all, is today not one of those tomorrows we were so stressed about? Some may say she was just a dumb animal. Looking back, I’m not so sure.


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