One of life’s biggest mentors

” A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbols mean nothing to him. A water-logged stick will do just fine. A dog judges other not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and his will give you his” – John Grogan

This quote says it all beautifully, could not have said it better myself. There is something about a dog – or at least the ones that have been in my in my life. Apologies to all those non-dog lovers out there. You may want to stop reading now!

I have grown up alongside Labradors. Always proving to be my best friend. It is not just their loyalty, or the way that their eyes tell me that they know. They can be much more than this. A dog can serve as a mentor. They are the best kind of teachers because they do not communicate via words – but rather a very unique language. One that stays with you forever.

I would struggle to name one human being who can do this. Yes, dogs, in particular Labradors, can destroy furniture, eat shoes, jump on you, hump you, swim in puddles, rip your shoulder from it’s socket, bite you (ever so lovingly), pee on your neighbour, and run into doors. I must say, if you need to make me smile just put my dog in front of me and he is sure to do something silly. And the joy that it gives me and the urge that I get to smile is unbearable.

I have not had a greater teacher in my life who has shown me how to enjoy the moment. How to truly love someone regardless of their looks, age, circumstances, faith, attitude. Maybe its the human consciousness that causes us to judge so frequently.

Dogs have the purest intentions towards us. I’ve learnt that after my dog tries to play fight with me (which involved a lot of biting, scratching and rolling over), he immediately licks my hand in apology – realising that I am not a fellow dog. Yes, my dogs have never been perfect. They never will be. But the lessons that I have and continue to learn from them are phenomenal. How much joy you can receive from a visit to the park, how exciting it is to see someone when they walk through the door, how to let go of being judged and be silly instead, how to triage your attention when there are numerous people in the room (this is an important one), how to express oneself through body language, how to forgive without an apology or explanation.

I have lost one dog to cancer. I was young and scared and chose not to stay with him until his very last moment. Something I regret until this day – because I know that he would have been there for me no matter what. He was there for me no matter what. My mother said something to me today – that on his last day with us she took him to the park and sat next to him. She said he just looked at her as if he knew.

Puppy if you are up there and you can see me right now – I want you to know that I’m sorry for not having the strength to be with you. You are the closest thing to me that I’ve lost. And I know that you will forgive me for this. If you are watching, this one’s for you:

His big brown eyes melted my heart,

to call him adorable was just a start.

As he grew, he began to chew

I thought I would be left without a shoe

and that’s an understatement too.

His stomach was a bottomless pit

there was nothing he couldn’t fit

in his doo-doo could be found something new

to love food you have to commit.

His gigantic paws weighed more than his head

but after a while the weight spread.

His tail was a Ping-Pong ball, bouncing back and forth

one in a million times it would point north.

His golden ears were as soft as snow

a scratch behind them would cause a moan

scratch him more to hear a groan

to this he would never say no.

Friendly, understanding, and extremely loving

when you called his name you could hear him coming

The patter of his paws coming towards the door

was followed with a whining roar

come outside to stroke his hide

as he brushes by your side.

He was as naughty as a selfish kid with cake

but still adorable for goodness sake.

In his moments of freedom he would leap and bound

his ears would flap around

he was as fast as a rocket,

hide your BBQ, he might knock it!

He was as carefree as a flag in the wind

you played with him and he never gave in

he was as predictable as what I wear to school

he was always happy to play the fool.

He was hopeless with fetch, for that I’m sure

he thought it was a game of tug-of-war.

As vicious as a butterfly and as oblivious as a bee

if he wanted something he would simply nudge your knee.

After meeting him, people raved and ranted

maybe it was the way he playfully cantered

Although they didn’t see him rip up the rose I planted.

As the waves at the beach lap at my heels

they remind me of his loyalty

This, I thought, would never yield.

Love you pal. From 15-year-old me to you and your beautiful soul. RIP Max


3 thoughts on “One of life’s biggest mentors

  1. Emily,

    Wow:) This is a great piece of writing girl, I am truly amazed by your gift. The way you are sharing it so freely is so wonderful. I really don’t have any words to describe how it made me feel. I too love dogs and I know where you are coming from, this is a great example of heart my dear, excellent. You have been a true blessing to my life. Thank you and I love you Emily.

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