Life Lessons in Love, Joy, and Acceptance

 In Living

In August I wrote a post about how giving my dog a bath changed my life.

It seems like an exaggeration to say that a fifteen-pound, four-legged ball of fur caused me to stop building cabinets and start freelance work as a writer and editor. But that’s exactly what happened.

Sprout is no longer with me. Last week he was diagnosed with pancreatitis. He wasn’t getting better and was in a lot of pain, so I chose to end his suffering.

A dear friend sent a message which said that dogs are a “lesson in unconditional love.” Any dog owner will understand the truth of this simple phrase.

Sprout was a wriggly, silly, somewhat insane lesson in love, joy, and acceptance.

I got Sprout almost exactly 7 years ago when I was living in Montreal. I was new to the city, missed my son (who still lived in Edmonton), and knew that a cat just wasn’t going to fill the void.

So I took a risk and got a Yorkie/Bichon puppy. Wow! What a learning curve – dogs are a little different to raise than cats. Especially one with as much energy as Sprout had.

It didn’t take long for Sprout to decide that I belonged to and with him. And that never changed. Sometimes he misbehaved (to put it nicely) and made we want to bang my head against the wall. But, no matter what, he was always my buddy.

If it’s possible for dogs to experience happiness, Sprout certainly gave all signs that he did. I swear that dog spent half his time grinning. In turn, I found it much easier to smile and laugh through life’s ups and downs when I had Sprout in my life.

How can you not experience joy when your dog piles his toys around your desk until you finally notice him, stop working, and take some time to play?

How can you not laugh out loud when he steals something forbidden, then goads you into chasing him down?

How can you not feel a sense of exhilaration as you watch your dog revel in the freedom of an off-leash park?

And your heart can’t help but melt when all that energy eventually curls up next to you and simply wants a pet and belly rub.

That was my Sprout. He was special. He was unique. He taught me a lot of life lessons. And he will be missed.

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