Yesterday, I was asked by a client to re-run this post from a few years ago. Jack, my Doberman, died in December 2017 at the age of 13. The lessons that played out while waiting for him during his treatments five years ago I’ve seen repeated over and over again in waiting rooms as I’ve taken not only my pets, but the countless foster pets to the vet in the years since I began fostering. Enjoy!
This week will be the last week of radiation treatments for my Doberman Pinscher Jack. Every morning for the past three weeks, we’ve traveled together to downtown Houston to spend an hour or two at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. He receives his treatments and I wait.
Prior to Jack’s cancer diagnosis, I never would have thought I was the type of person to go to such lengths (and expense), for a dog. I’ve always considered my pet care as compassionate, but practical. I won’t bore you with the details of the rationalizations that have led me here, so I’ll move on.
As I wait for Jack, I observe the interactions between people and their pets.
There are people dressed in shabby shorts and t-shirts as well as men and women in expensive suits. No matter their attire, or my private speculation about their socioeconomic status and ability to afford specialty veterinary care, the bottom line is, these people love their pets.
From the lady talking baby talk to an ancient, skinny cat in a carrier, to the guy in the expensive suit who can see, but just doesn’t care, that his dog is shedding all over him, there is love and concern. Some of these folks just hand off their pets to staff when it’s time for their pet’s treatment. Others, including that same guy in the suit, kiss their pets on the head with a choked-up admonishment to “not act up and to be a good boy,” before they rush away.
Why is it that pets can drive us to not only spend ridiculous amounts of money, but to ruin our suits or “embarrass” ourselves publicly? What can we learn from pets that can make us– as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, customers, service providers, supervisors, and employees– just as worthy as they are of such love, affection, loyalty, and dedication?
1. Be patient and try not to complain unless absolutely necessary
2. Greet everyone as if they were long-lost friends
3. Don’t hold grudges– even if someone hurts you, move on
4. Treat every day as a new one
5. Don’t worry about the future, you can’t control it
6. Love unconditionally
7. Do what you can each day to make people smile or laugh
8. Give space when others need it and stay close when they need it too
9. Be willing to give … and to receive
10. Loyalty is priceless
What lessons have you learned from your pets?