What I’ve learned about learning…

Hello friends, it’s a substitute writer again. Lincoln is home from his weekend at the cabin with his Dad, and I’m away and missing my family; two, three, and four legged (not necessarily in that order, sorry to the hubs).

When I’m away from home, which is far too frequently, although I enjoy the quiet time at first, I always, always miss being at home with my brood. It’s inevitable that I begin to contemplate all I’ve done or haven’t done, and all the difficult decisions I’ve made in the face of complete and utter confusion and disbelief.  I can’t help but mentally avoid the tally of money I’ve spent, not only on Lincoln, but on the other geriatric wards we’ve taken in as well.

When Beau died last month, we no longer had to buy his Amantadine, Gabapentin, Rimidyl, Tramadol, Soloxine, Adequan, Glucosomine, and Fish Oil. No longer did I spend hours making the homemade dog food we fed him so he could eat a decent quantity, and still keep his weight down (so important for a double hip dysplasia dog). The days of bathroom assists were over. Our feeding times became quick and uncomplicated.

We learned that simple isn’t always better.

We hated how quickly breakfast and dinner were over, and longed for the lengthy process of pouring food and confirming medications, during which time our white dog would spin in circles and head-butt you with delight and impatience and glee. He lived with us for less than four years but became as much a part of our family as any dog ever was.

We learned that enthusiasm and zeal can make up for just about any physical disability.

Beau was a link in my learning chain. They all have been, really. These old dogs who lived another life, about which we knew nothing, who still manage to integrate and accept, and most of all, love their new life and their new people.

I’ve learned believing in the future is possible.

And always, always, my circle brings me back to Lincoln. My money pit. My canine 401 K. If you can believe it, somebody once had the audacity to tell me that I couldn’t say that he was a retirement plan, because one can expect a return from their retirement. This statement is obviously predicated on the belief that I get no return from my investment in Lincoln. Laughable, isn’t it?

I spent tens of thousands of dollars on my education. My law school loans may never be paid off. I learned an incredible amount during my formal education process. I’ve learned even more as I apply that education to the world of criminal prosecution. I love being a public servant. I think that my unending quest for fairness and justice is what brought me to rescue the dogs.

I learned that it is unspeakably important to be an advocate for those without a voice.

I don’t know how much money I’ve spent on Lincoln. Probably I don’t know simply because I don’t care. I’ve learned more from Lincoln than I have from anything else in my life. I now know that it really isn’t over until the fat lady sings. I’ve learned that it truly isn’t about if you fall; rather it’s about having the courage to continue to get up when you do.

Surgery after surgery, Lincoln gets up, shakes himself off, and perseveres. Amazingly, he not only perseveres, he does it with an endless smile and with an immeasurable amount of dignity. He is unflappable and utterly irrepressible with a constant wag of his tail and spring in his step, because each new day will bring him joy; a new smell, a scratch, a swim, a cuddle, a bowl of food; a stranger who becomes a friend.  No matter what this world throws at him, he becomes better, because he continues to grow. It is my greatest hope that I am strong enough to be more like him.

I’ve learned that I learned a lot from a big, red, three-legged pound dog.

(This is a video I made after Lincoln lived through the brain surgery. It’s not CometDog worthy, but it does illustrate my point).

Author: credocanis

Lincoln is a huge golden who has had one brain surgery, two ACL surgeries, and one rear leg amputation. Yikes.

12 thoughts on “What I’ve learned about learning…”

  1. Beautiful entry, and an even more beautiful video. Lincoln is one special boy. I can’t imagine any dumb old 401K that could bring you more joy. Give that boy a hug and kiss for me.

  2. That was an excellent video… and you know I have to ask- does the party trick still work??
    I completely understand what you mean about going on after you lost Beau. Maggie was such a handful the last three months- quite a production to get her fed, and medicated and cleaned up. I had to get up 15 min early on work days to get it all done before I left. We were also doing sub-Q fluids at home every other day…
    The morning after I let her go I gave Tani her meds and fed her and we were done in 10 min. I didn’t know what to do with myself. Now almost 3 months later I am still amazed about how easy feeding time has become.
    You are right- so many lessons to be learned.

    Karen and the pugapalooza

  3. Oh my that was lovely. Hm. That sounds incredibly lame, I know, for such lovely sentiments and an equally poignant (nice party trick, by the way) video. As always, your words moved me. I’m feeling vulnerable this evening for a number of reasons but I’m going to hold onto your words: believing in the future is possible.

    When you get Lincoln in your arms again, give him a smooch from me and Catie and Riley if you can spare one. Or three.

  4. I am so moved by your video and your post. I know you have gone through so much with Lincoln and he’s living testatment that miracles do happen. You most certainly do have your boy back and he really is a super hero in my eyes.

    I also know how hard it must have been to have lost Beau and that everyday routine. Feeding time around our house is nothing but a big to do too and I know that when I don’t have that big to do any longer, it’s going to be sorely missed.

    And it really isn’t over when the fat lady sings….thanks for sharing your quiet time and being the advocate for those without a voice.

  5. You are such a great writer, and now I understand why. You have to be in your line of work, huh? I wish I had the ability to express my thoughts the way you do. They all sound that way in my head, but never on paper. Makes the stories so much better to read.

    I wonder about the way things will be when we lose one of our pups, or worse yet, all of our pups. It makes me wonder sometimes why I create these bonds to begin with. Why do I choose to fall in love with something so deeply when I know it’s going to be leaving me way too soon? I could avoid all the pain all together. Then I get home from work and hear the paws pounding the floor and tail hitting the wall on the other side of the door and I remember why I choose the pain.

  6. thanks for putting what we all feel into words. they are miracles, teachers, brave souls that offer it all to us if we are just willing to listen and learn. our brothers and sisters are truly walking (or hopping) blessings.

    charon & gayle

  7. Are you kidding? That was way better than Cometdog worthy! Heck, I may have to stamp my name on it!
    It needs a big audience for those that haven’t seen it. It’s too moving. I just added it to the forums.

    -Comet-

  8. What a beautiful and moving post. You really struck a chord with me.

    After hearing about Ginger and her treatments, several friends have said, “why would you spend all that money on just a dog.” Just a dog – excuse me!! We tell everyone the same thing – she is our child, a member of this small but loving family. What would you do if it was a member of your family??

    At the end of the day, I would much rather curl up on the couch with my furry and fuzzy girl than a pile of money!

    Thanks for reminding me that the real joys of life are all that matter. Lincoln is a true hero.

    Golden hugs and kisses from mine to yours.
    Annie
    Ginger’s Mom

  9. The blog entry and the video were unbelievably heart wrenching for me. Lincoln is VERY much a hero for sure.

    Very moving…thank you for posting…

    Tracy, Maggie’s Mom

  10. I do not know what to say exactly! Your words and your video have touched me very deeply and I thank you for that. Lincoln is an inspiration as are you. At times In my life I have found it hard to see the good in humanity but in moments such as these I am reminded all that I must do is become still and listen.

  11. I’ve known you your entire life, and still your entries bring tears to my eyes. We can talk all day long, but reading your thoughts have such an impact.

    And the video…I still love it. Seeing Lincoln’s 4-bow legged walk again was a fun memory, and watching Beau trot along ahead, too. Fletchie’s pretty face…

    I still don’t know how you do what you do. My heart has has grown each time you’ve brought a “new” dog home…and it breaks for all of you, and myself, too, each time one leaves. I know to expect a retreat and how hard it is for you.

    But, the big stink has definitely brought endless smiles and lessons to your life, all deserving, and equally enjoyed by him. Love you both.

  12. “somebody once had the audacity to tell me that I couldn’t say that he was a retirement plan, because one can expect a return from their retirement.”

    Well last time we looked, our retirement plan wasn’t worth a crap but the lessons we learn and the love we receive from Tripawd dogs is priceless. I feel sorry for the person who thinks like that.

    So eloquently said, thank you for putting into words the emotions we all feel when caring for our best friends.

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