Things the dog(s) helped me learn…part 167.

Posted: September 27, 2011 in Dog Training, German Shepherd, Omorrow German Shepherds

   Yesterday, I learned a valuable lesson from a young puppy, a young dog, and an older dog.  Their human families also played an important role.  I want to share it with all of you that invite canines into your lives, because in the center of some really tragic and sad news, I have found something that inspires and moves me to be a better person.  I promise you no sad news in this post, as we members of the Omorrow Pack have had more than our share in the last 2 weeks.

First we had the bad news about news about Bella’s cancer returning with a vengeance.  Kyrie and her family are making what time Bella has left as fun and wonderful as any dog could hope for.  Kelly Goodhile lost her longtime friend Max to the problems of an older dog.  And yesterday I learned about Dusty, Joe and Aimee’s 11 week old Omorrow pup being diagnosed with a condition that may shorten his life, let alone make things difficult for him.  All in all, I was becoming afraid to open up the Facebook page for fear of more bad news.

  I admit to a moment of asking myself, “Why do we do this?  Why do we embrace dogs into our lives when we know full well that the end, no matter how far down the road, will be both painful and inevitable?”

   Well, after reading and re-reading everything that has been written about these situations by the owners, I’ve got my answer.  It directly involves the “Attitude” of dogs, which is always “in the moment”, and always positive.  You can see it affect the human families as well, as they take on the mind-set of “Let’s fight this battle as best we can until there’s no more fight”.  And that, my friends is why we make dogs part of our lives.  They give us a crystal clear image of how to live fully, and with vigorous optimism.  They don’t complain to great degree about things they can’t change.  They don’t allow life’s tedious details to weigh down their enthusiasm for living it.  And often, they transfer their life view onto their owners…

I’ve written about the “end of life” choices we may have to make for our dogs previously on this blog.  So I want to focus on the “Fight for life” decisions that we may also need to make. 

   Aimee and Joe are the human parents of a very young puppy that they named “Dusty”.  He is a bright-eyed, pointy-eared little munchkin puppy that charms everyone that has met him, or viewed his photo’s…Aimee and Joe were so excited to take him into their lives, and did everything they could to prepare to make his life wonderful.  Sadly, Dusty was diagnosed with “Megaesophagus” a condition that makes eating, drinking, and thriving, very difficult if not impossible.  Thier regular Vet recommended euthanasia…But Aimee and Joe are determined.  The breeder, Rhonda Sellers of Omorrow GSD’s, an outstanding breeder and all around great human being also got immediately involved in helping them make the decision to make Dusty’s life as full as possible with everything they can do.  I’d like to re-print what Aimee wrote on her Facebook page here, as it shows what a truly dedicated, responsible dog owner CAN do when they see their puppy as a living soul, and not just a “Pet”.  They are making many personal sacrifices, but they have made the decision and are going to see it thru.  In my estimation, this makes them very special people, deserving of having a dog.

What I wanted to say though, was even though we are heart broken and devastated over Dusty’s condition, we are so very very grateful for Rhonda. She has been a champ through this whole process and continues to be actively involved with Dusty’s progress. If we hadn’t gone with an Omorrow shepherd, we would be without the support network of not just Rhonda, but all of you. All of your stories, thoughts, prayers and encouragement have really pulled us through our despair. We are willing to fight this disease as long as Dusty is willing to. Every night before we go to bed (Dusty is a “sleep-in-the-bed-dog” now), Joe holds her and says to her, “We are going to fight it, so you have to fight it Dusty, fight back!” and the little champion does. She is determined to be the best dog we have ever had, and I don’t think we would have found that fighting spirit anywhere except Omorrow. As it stands, she hasn’t regurgitated anything since we built her the Bailey chair on Saturday, and she is visibly gaining some much needed weight.

Thank you everyone, for being the best pack, the best family, that anyone could have asked for. Thank you Rhonda, what I said to you the day we picked Dusty up is just as true today as it was then, you do breed the best dogs anyone could ever ask for! 

Our dogs teach us to “move ahead”, get to the next test or obstacle, jump over it or tear it to pieces.  Don’t sit there and complain about things.  When we adopt this attitude as humans, it vastly improves each of us, as well as our families, and our daily environment.  Little Dusty is going to fight, and with a little help, have a fulfilling life.  He will no doubt focus on making his Mom and Dad happy, and show his appreciation everyday of his life by being a great dog, despite whatever limitations  he may have.  Aimee and Joe improve our Pack, and the world by being capable of self-sacrifice, dedication and love for a small puppy, and their little family.  No matter how the story ends, these things improve us all.  Our dogs have much to teach us…

  Dedicated to the three gentle souls that inspired this post:  Dusty, Bella, and Maxwell…

  1. Kelly – that’s what a pack is for isn’t it? We support each other and pull away from selfish absorption in our own struggles to lend an ear. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be good dog owners, or friends for that matter! At the end of the day, I really admire those who are able to put their own wants and needs aside to look at the well being and needs of their dogs, which is, unfortunately what we must do when we make that final decision. Those are the people who I want as friends, because if people can be altruistic for their dogs, then they can definitely be that way for people. They make the best friends 🙂
    Robert, thank you, as always, for your kind words. It really makes my day when I see that there are a whole bunch of people out there cheering for us! Now, when you get a chance, can you come and help me shampoo my carpet for the fourth time this week?

  2. Kelly Goodhile says:

    Thank you! Robert my parents were on vacation when my sitster told them and max had Debbie and mike two very good friends of the family with him when he was put to sleep! My parents and I appreciate your support as well as Bella, Dusty and their families who continue to give support to each other in the hard times. Even during their own struggles.