There are so many moments of our lives where animals show us lessons in compassion and love. I’m sure we’ve all seen videos of heroic animals, read their stories, or seen cases where one species nurtures another in need of care. Their instincts are both beautiful and majestic.
My 3-1/2 year Bahamian Potcake, Flipflop, saved as a young pup, but still bares his street dog instincts. He’s fast and always on guard, protecting his pack, yet so youthful and playful, and such a snuggle pup with me!
Flipflop’s instincts give him confidence like I’ve never seen in a dog, and also makes him a bit a jerk at times too, which of course, I correct him on. I believe his confidence and his fearlessness is what makes him such an amazing dog with my fosters. Flipflop teaches them more than I do about trust and play.
At Flipflop’s daycare, I’m told he always spends time with the new dogs who are a little unsure, until they get their confidence and then he will return to play with his own friends. And sometimes he just likes to sit in the middle of the room and watch all the dogs interact.
He’s the protector.
My senior girl, Dahlia, who’s been in my life for only a year, and yet in that year I have seen this broken dog turn into a younger, playful, confident girl. Dahlia is my canine hero.
A broken dog, literally broken bones and spirt when saved in a joint effort by Eddy’s Dogs and Royal Canadian Pooch, she came to me a few months after surgery. She was scared of me, but loved Flipflop and it didn’t take her long to warm up to me.
And now, no one would even guess that this girl is a senior rescue. She is confident, mobile and so playful. I send video’s to her saviours because I know it brings them joy to see how far this amazing dog has come in a year.
No matter what was thrown at Dahlia in her first 8 years of her life, she has overcome it all and has let go of all her fears and anxiety. The only issue Dahlia has now is her assertive Catahoula personality that makes her larger than life and animated. She dances around like she’s a toy poodle and not an 80 lbs hunting dog, which makes her quite clumsy but so cute.
And then there is Dupont, my amazing collie/shepherd and first dog I owned as an adult. Dupont was diagnosed with arthritis at 3 years old, along with that, he had ultra sensitive skin and environmental allergies. All these minor elements made me an expert at dog care and put me in a great position of knowledge with helping Flipflop with his seasonal allergies and enabled me to nurse a recovering Dahlia to health when she moved in with me.
Dupont loved to hike, he and I would go for hours every weekend and it wasn’t until his last few years of life that he couldn’t do his long walks anymore. Instead, Dupont would enjoy spending countless hours laying in the grass under the shade of a tree. When Dupont first started laying down and not wanting to walk, I would worry about him a great deal, and then I realized this is how he wanted to spend his senior years. So, I would bring a book and some water for us both and oblige him.
When I think of these three very different dogs and the joy they have brought and continue to bring into my life, I reflect on some of lessons each of them have taught me.
Dupont taught me to slow down – that sometimes in life it’s nice to just sit still and watch the world go by. There is never a hurry to get anywhere.
Flipflop taught me patience, he is far from a perfect dog, and there are days he drives me crazy! But when I see him interact with the new dogs who enter our home, he takes his time to work with each dog. I see him time and time again showing the foster his toys and how to play with them, until they learn.
And Dahlia, Dahlia has taught me resilience, no matter what life throws at you, you just have to keep trusting humanity and not let anyone break your spirit.