Charlie can be a real prima donna when given a choice. Charlie's pretty happy with the stuff we find along the way, but he's not immune to bling. There's a guy in one of the parks Charlie and I go to. He likes to buy his Setter the cheap and chearful balls, boomerangs and other weird toys that are available at the local Dollar Store. When Charlie sees them he drops what he's got and chases after the Setter's toy-de-jour. Worst of all - Charlie chews them up on no time while the Setter and his owner look on in disgust. I'll let you decide what the lesson here is. Maybe - Bling is bling, display it at your peril because you might just loose it - which is O.K. as long as you're not too attached to it. One Guru taught me that it's O.K. to desire the good things in life so long as you don't covet them and become attached to them. Kind of like now - those who sweat the losses in the stock market are worse off than those who accept their losses and move on.
Every fall the apple trees along the Scarborough Bluffs give up their fruit to the local inhabitants - including deer, opossums, birds, field mice - and Charlie. While the summer is his time to hunt for tennis balls in the local tennis courts, the Fall refocuses Charlie's nose to a new 'ball' one that has all the appeal of a tennis ball - plus three others: they’re smaller, faster - and edible. While the first harvest of bitter apples is one to be chased and hunted for in the tall grass, the last sweet harvest is one to be eaten slowly and quietly lying in grass covered by cool morning dew.
Charlie and I took a walk in the park this afternoon. On our way back I saw a woman, who was sitting with a friend, interrupt their conversation so she could call Charlie over for a visit. Oddly enough Charlie approached her reluctantly. That's rare. But once he was in reach the woman cuddled and fondled Charlie as though he was her long lost pet. She then told us that she had lost a dog much like Charlie a few years ago.
For the next half hour I stood back and watched her play with, and be healed a bit by, Charlie. When it was time to leave she held Charlie close to her one more time, wished him a long, healthy life and blessed him with her tears.
Today Charlie helped me learn that blessings surround us, but remain a mystery and at bay if we are not open to them.
Today Charlie and I were invited to his friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner.
It was a quiet affair with a nicely balanced guest list made up of four people and three poodles: Mozart, Zeus and Charlie.
The people didn't know that Charlie had recently undergone Auricular Testing which led to a some very strict dietary rules. For instance, one of the few proteins Charlie can have right now is Turkey. So his meals are typically made up of turkey, sweet potatoes and a bunch of vitamins. You could say that Charlie enjoys a Thanksgiving Dinner every day of the year and you'd be right!
While I prepare his meals he sits in the kitchen, watching me, full of anticipation.
Each meal is consumed as though it is his first - and his last.
And when it's all gone he rolls around the floor in a state of pure ecstasy.
Charlie hopes you enjoy your dinner as much as he does and are thankful for all that comes your way.
Janet told me years ago that she believed that each of us has at least one book inside of us. I thought she was nuts. Then a little dog came into my life and changed a lot of my beliefs and priorities. Now I agree. But I'm not a writer. Besides, in the intervening years I've read a number of books and short stories about people and their special relationship with their dogs. When I saw the movie "My dog skip" I almost cried because I now have a better understanding of what it's like for a dog to lose a master or mistress. In the last four years I've learned a lot about dogs but I still know very little. I now understand the expression "dogs leave footprints on your heart". I'm just not sure how they get in there, or why their very lives are so much shorter than ours. My dog and those I've met are wonderful sentient beings that have opened my heart and mind in ways that people never have. Anne told me that our relations with dogs are more genuine because people and dogs have very open relationship anchored in this moment, free of the politics and all the other stuff that encumbers human relationships.
I remember when we were told Charlie had skeletal necrosis I was speechless. It took weeks to put the news into context: realizing that his already short life would be cut shorter.
And that’s when I started listening – and not worrying about Charlie because Charlie began teaching me about life. He began with one of the most basic lessons - one that most of us understand philosophically but struggle to apply.
Charlie doesn't know how long he has and neither do I.
So that’s the ‘beginning’.
My goal is to write a ‘lesson’ a week and then put them all into a book, or this blog, one week at a time.