Accepting every moment with a smile and a tail wag is what life’s all about

Accepting every moment with a smile and a tail wag is what life’s all about

dog adopt - accepting with a smile

Lessons Dogs Leave when they Leave Us

Nurturing others, whether it is the act of raising a child, giving your time to a charity or rescuing a dog and adopting him, is an experience that fundamentally changes us. The act of watching and nurturing someone other than ourselves forces us out of self involvement. We simply can’t be distracted by the stories in our heads while we are being of service to another. Ironically, by expanding ourselves in this outward direction, our souls are inwardly fed. We grow in ways we never imagined.

I find myself typing these sentences with my left hand because my ailing Joey is resting peacefully in the crook of my right arm and I don’t want to let go of him. Letting go of Joey is something that I will soon have to do because the results of last week’s lab tests were lousy.

Moment of Parental Silence

At nearly 18 years old Joey’s kidneys are shutting down. This is information that I must deal with in parental silence because Joey doesn’t understand that his attempts to nurture his body are in vain; his organs are no longer processing his food in a way that can sustain him. Joey’s cycle of eating and vomiting is more apparent in the last several days. With this new knowledge, I am thrust into the weary monitoring of a parent/caregiver with a dying child.

As Joey lies in my arms; I am faced with the certainty of grief. I want to stay strong and not back away from emotion because, even in dying, Joey has things to teach me about living a healthy life.

Catherine Auman, LMFT

Catherine Auman, LMFT writes: “When we suffer, which is an inevitable part of the human condition, our hearts break; and in that breaking is the possibility of the growth of compassion. When we learn to stop fighting the fact of suffering, we can accept it as a purposeful process in our lives. When we allow our hearts to break; we become more open and loving towards those close to us and to the whole world.”

So that’s where I’m at: Staring at a scary crossroad, questioning how to proceed. Knowing the crossing will be made with or without my acceptance.

Accept every moment with a smile

I want to thank all of you for your open-mindedness and trust over the years. Unfortunately, it is still uncommon for a therapist to utilize the many resources of a canine co-therapist. Please take this moment to honor Joey’s body of work by considering the lesson he shared with us without needing to utter a single word. How accepting every moment with a smile and a wag is what life is all about.


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