It is amazing how a little purr and snuggle with a kitty, a lick on the face by a dog - the happy dance from furry friends when you return after a trip away for all of 15 minutes (!) can brighten your day.
Our furry angels enrich our lives. They, along with good friends and wonderful family keep us grounded and aware of the important things in life. After all, at any moment we may not be here. It is important to greet those you love every day with the joy of seeing them - because that will not always be possible.
All too often in our lives we get caught up with the future and forget to relish the present.
One of the greatest gifts my oldest daughter, Alanna gave me was Charlie.
She always wanted a little dog and I did not care for little dogs. A country girl, I was always surrounded by large dogs. To me, if you wanted a little dog - well, get a cat! (As you can see I love cats too.) The morning of Alanna's 18th birthday, I woke up, went in and washed my face and while looking in the mirror, came to the realization that because I didn't care for little dogs, I had not listened to my daughter and I had dismissed her desire for a little dog - just because I didn't like them. How selfish I was and how arrogant and how careless I was of my daughter's feelings - not a pretty thing to realize. I, who was (am) always so concerned about my children's future, had not listened with my heart.
Needless to say, we went that day to find a little dog. Alanna settled on a long-haired chihuahua puppy. He was adorable - she named him Charlie. Who can resist baby animals? Not me that's for sure.
Funny thing - a puppy is a lot of work. Even for an 18 year old. And especially for an 18 year old in her last year of high school who had a part-time job, a lovely boyfriend and a social life. More and more often Charlie was left with me. Day-by-day, minute-by-minute that little rascal destroyed all my negative feelings about little dogs.
Another funny thing - he wasn't a purebred long-haired chihuahua after all. He kept growing, reaching 22 lbs. He looked more like a schipperke with a funky tail and tiny legs. To me he was adorable. He made me laugh. In fact he made me laugh so hard one day, that it woke me up. Made me realize that I hadn't laughed so hard in years. Caught up in the seriousness of life and raising teenagers in an increasingly difficult world, I had forgotten the simple joys and pleasures that are there every day for us to experience if only we stay aware.
After Alanna graduated, she went out on her own. As she left, she gave Charlie to me. She'd learned two important lessons:
1. That raising a baby is not as easy as it appears and is not always the fun that you imagined.
2. That some things you may think you want and desire may not be the best thing for you - and may not be what you really want and need after all.
She now has two American pit bulls ( and they are the sweetest things you could ever have, gentle, loving and lots of fun). I guess she's a big dog person after all!
I learned lessons too. To listen with a deeper heart. To laugh with joy. To live now. I still forget. But I have Charlie here to remind me.