Monday, March 19, 2012
I've always marveled at how pets never sweat the small stuff. Responsible pet owners who pay attention to their pets see every day how they respond to things going on around them. Sure, dogs bark at things they see or hear, but that's only because they want to be polite or they're giving a warning to let a potential intruder know they've been seen. But on the whole, pets take life in stride and no matter what comes their way, they deal with it and continue to move on.
When I was a kid, we lived in the country and it was, in my view, the best place to live. My dog Trixie and I would run through cornfields chasing rabbits we flushed out from under a bush. We would stare at the cows, watch deer grazing off in the distance, and do other fun things to entertain ourselves. There was something about animals that always drew my attention and I loved to sit on top of a wooden fence and watch what they were doing. The one thing that's common with all animals is that they don't let little things get in their way.
Pets don't worry about the insignificant things that happen in their day. They don't ponder the meaning of life; they just live it one day at a time. I had a dog named Mickey who lost his eyesight and hearing when he got older, but it didn't slow him down one bit. He navigated the basement steps when it was time to go outside as if he could still see each step, and he could smell his CANIDAE dog food a mile away. I'm sure he missed his vision and hearing just like a person would, but he never once gave up. He adapted and moved on with no complaints.
Pets have an amazing ability to deal with disabilities and hide an illness. Letting a potential rival see them in a weakened state can be deadly for a dog or cat living on the street. That's one reason why it's so important to know who your pet is as an individual. When you know your pet well, you can tell when they are sick or injured, even when they try to hide it.
I ran across a video one day on Facebook that got my attention. It was about a dog that was paralyzed after she was hit by a car. Even dogs have passions that give them purpose. She loves to run agility and watching her race around the course before her accident made me smile because she was having the time of her life. But it was the video of her running after her accident that showed me how she wasn't sweating the small stuff, even with her disability. An accident left her back legs paralyzed, but she has a spirit that won't give up. The bars were absent from the jumps because she couldn't jump over them. Her wheelchair made that impossible, but it didn't faze her. For this dog, just being on the course put a smile in her heart despite her disability. The dog's name is Zip, and I will be sharing more about her story in a future post.
Two of my neighbors have a lot of outside cats between them. They're all well cared for and have proper shelter, attention and medical care, so I don't worry when I see them wandering around my yard in the rain, snow or cold. Here in the Midwest, we can have some pretty nasty winter storms with snow and wind that can take your breath away when the wind chill is hovering around minus 80 degrees. We hunker down inside the house when we don't have to go outside, but I'm always seeing the neighbors’ cats make their daily rounds no matter what the weather is like. They have things they want to see and they aren't going to let a little cold, snow or rain stop them. One of their activities is to sit and stare at my dogs when I have them outside. I think they do that when they don't have anything better to do.
I've always thought there's a lot we can learn from our pets about life if we take the time to watch and learn. They find simple pleasures everywhere. Animals’ lives are just like ours in that things don't always go according to plan, but life goes on regardless. What happened yesterday becomes lost in a new day, and tomorrow has challenges they've yet to discover. Pets don't sweat the small stuff and that's a lesson worth learning. They never give up, and they never feel sorry for themselves.
Photo by Ernani Marques
Read more articles by Linda Cole