I'm happy to be again contributing to Pet 'Net Adoption Event 2012 sponsored by Petside.com. This is the fifth year Petside is linking bloggers together celebrating pets as part of the family, and encouraging adoption.
Last year I wrote about my new life with a senior dog. Now that Cleo is well into her golden years, she continues to change my life and I gain wisdom daily. It has been a gift to experience everyday life for the first time through the eyes of an old dog. I don't know how this adopted dog is able to give fearlessly to me an unending amount love, especially when I am giving her an insulin injection twice daily.
Editor's note: Visit the Pet 'Net Hub Page to read special adoption-related content from all the participating participating blogs.
I don't always know what she is going through, but her patience with me can be humbling. From the first obvious changes to her mobility and diet due to her advancing years, I've been learning to have more compassion for my elderly mother and father. When she bumps into chairs or gets lost in the house because her vision is too poor, my heart swells when I call out "Cleo" and her face lights up with joy and recognition. I'm like a mother with a toddler, cheering her on as she hustles directly to me.
Today with her limited eyesight, she struggles to find a toy to chew and squeak out her frustration after smelling another dog on my pant legs. But once she does, look out! Even with a few teeth, she squeaks that toy loudly, showing me how much she has missed me and loves me.An adopted dog gives you an indescribable measure of love
"For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog." ~ Roger Caras
This is one of my favorite quotes, because it reflects how it has been since we adopted Cleo. The amount of love that our dog has given us for the past seven years is indescribable, and without measure.
A dog's lovely nature
What adds to my joy is knowing that though we may have "rescued" her from being euthanized by adopting her, Cleo has since "saved" us.
For example, Cleo has saved us countless hours of wasted time. In the past, we used to waste time arguing over who gets the leftover extra piece of chicken. Not anymore. Cleo gets it. Truthfully, I used to waste time worrying over whether she would love and trust us. When we adopted her she was already an adult dog at about three or four years old. She had been surrendered to a shelter in Northern California.
I didn't know her past, if she missed a previous family or her life in the country. I'm happy to say we wasted time worrying for nothing. I will always remember the first time she came running to me when I called her - without hesitation. She didn't look back once toward the other dog at the park. She lifted her head from her playing, and came barreling towards me with a big smile and leaned hard into my legs. It was a happy moment.
As time goes by she keeps the love flowing
The wonderful reward for having these years together is Cleo's love. It is as strong as ever, if not more so because she knows we love her, and her unique personality. Having a dog, and one like Cleo, is a unique experience. She has a big personality to go along with her big body. Sometimes she seems to throw her weight around, all eighty plus pounds, but in reality she is just eager to contribute. A bit like a bull in a china shop, or well-intentioned and somewhat clumsey roommate.
Now as an older dog, she reminds us why senior dogs rule and puppies drool:
She barks less, sleeps more.
She tells us in advance when she needs to go outside to do some business.
It's great that she has as many teeth as she does. While puppies chew everything in sight, we're glad she can chew.
She doesn't jump on the counter anymore.
Trust. An irrevocable trust.
Cleo has a complete trust that we won't hurt her. She lies quietly when I give her an insulin injection. She doesn't kick up a fuss when I trim her paw fur. I can even get her to taste something new..even if she isn't really isn't interested. The token lick or nibble that says "For you, a taste but that's all."
We may get a soft look of worry when we have to care for a wound or any hurt, but Cleo just sighs and lies back to wait for what's next. We speak quietly to her and explain whatever it is we are doing to her, and how we will go as fast as we can.
Untold riches. Countless joy. Our years together has shown me that the fellowship and bond I felt with my childhood dogs was real. The human-animal bond is real. One of the most powerful lessons from Cleo is about appreciating life. Dogs have an abbreviated life span compared to us, and she has taught me not to squander my time on Earth. Dogs, and older dogs in particular demonstrate tolerance.
Infinite possibilities. After the many great experiences we've had since adopting Cleo seven years ago, today it feels like we struck adoption gold.
Pet 'Net Adoption Event 2012
Help your local animal shelter win $5000!
From November 26 - November 30 visit the voting module on the Pet 'Net hub page and enter your local zip code**.
The winning shelter will be announced on Dec. 17, 2012.
**Pet 'Net visitors can enter their zip code once per day, for the entire week.