This post in in honor of Teddy. Thank you for being such a wonderful and dear companion for over ten years. You proved to me that humans have a great deal more to learn from animals than animals have to learn from us.
You know how I feel about you. I don't have to write that because words are unnecessary with dogs. You just know, like I know how you felt about me. In one word, it would be AWESOME!
You were much more to me than a dog. You were my teacher. Here are just a few of the things you taught me that I want to thank you for and remember, because you weren't just a golden retriever, you had a heart of gold.
Everything is a dog - I remember how you used to view everything as another dog. People were dogs. My dad's goats and sheep in the country were dogs. The insect I found you playing with one time was a dog. Cats were dogs. You didn't care about color, size, shape, age, physical condition, or even species. Everything was a dog to you.
All people have good qualities - If it was the mailman, a plumber, a family member, or even someone I didn't particularly care for who came to visit, you thought that person was amazing. You were like "just look at this guy! Isn't he awesome! He came to see me. He came to play and pet me. I like him. Isn't he great?!"
Be present - On newspaper day, you found the opportunity to pick up the paper in each person's driveway and hand it to me. If there was road kill, you were on it. If I was drifting or getting too deep in my own head, you would nudge me until I woke up. "Hey! check this out! Look at what's right here in front of your face. Pretty cool, huh?" You lived in the present moment, and you urged me there too.
Love them while they're here - You saw a lot of people and dogs come and go, and you didn't stress over it. If one person left, someone else showed up. Then you'd see that person again. Every time you did, you got just as happy as you did the first time you met them. You just enjoyed the time with them as long as it lasted. It was an experience. You enjoyed it. Then you moved on to the next thing. You didn't take any experience for granted. Every experience was like a first experience.
It's the simple things - Whether it was eating, a belly rub, a brushing, a walk, a trip to the park, a romp in a stream, or a camp out in the backyard, it was great. You enjoyed them with your whole being. It wasn't complex. It was simple, and the simple things are the best things in life.
Be there - Sometimes I couldn't sleep. I'd get up at 3:00. You were like "Okay. I guess we're getting up at 3:00 now. Cool. What are we going to do?" You were with me when so many people left my life, and you gave me motivation to get up, go to the park, or just cry. You didn't judge. It was just your being there with me that made the difference. Words were unnecessary. It was your presence that mattered, and you were an excellent listener if I needed to talk. You were there for me if I got sick just like I was there if you got sick. It was just being there, your presence, that meant so much to me, more than words ever could.
Greet everyone - Yes, even the cable guy deserves a great big tail wag and a nose up his butt. Okay, that's a dog thing, but you get my point. When you have a friendly golden, they meet and greet everyone, so you meet and greet everyone. You taught me the importance of greeting every single person I pass by, and you taught it as only a dog could.
Life is fun, so play more - "Look! That's grass. How cool! Let's roll around on it!" "Up for a game of fetch and chase, anyone?" "Here's a dog toy that you spent $15 on. Let's kill it, take the rubber thingy out, and leave stuffing all over the floor!" Yes. Everything was a game. It was all fun and exciting.
It's okay to be a little quirky - We all have our hang ups. You freaked out about different vehicles being parked on the street, a plastic bag blowing in the backyard, and the neighbor's rugs on the back fence. (Okay, that last one freaked me out a little too). They didn't belong there. They were different, it freaked you out, and that's okay. We all have things that freak us out sometimes, and people help us get over them. No judgement needed. It's quirky, and it's okay.
It's all what you make of it - Sun is good. So are the moon, the snow, and the rain. You loved a good romp in the rain and the inevitable towel dry. Digging a newspaper out of the snow was a blast. Walking at night? Awesome! Especially if it was 100 degrees that day. You didn't get upset over the weather. All weather was good. It's just what you make of it.
There's no reason to get upset - When "mean dog" approached you one day, you didn't care. You still wagged your tail. When you saw that dog fight, you just laid there wagging your tail. You didn't react. When the neighbor's pit bulls tried to jump the fence and kill you, barking and growling, you just laid there like "Hey. What's up? Are you having a bad day?" They were mean, but you just sat on the back step wagging your tail. There was no reason at all to react or take on their problems. You could still sit and wag your tail no matter what was going on with them.
Balance - Relationships are give and take. I gave you affection, food, new experiences, walks, playtime, companionship, and so much more I can't even count it all. You gave me affection, loyalty, companionship, fun, presence, love, joy, and so much more I can't even count it all. I learned a lot about give and take and balance in relationships. Who cares if we were different species or if we spoke different languages. You were my little buddy, and I was your big buddy. Maybe this is why they say "human's best friend," because there was balance.
Teddy - you had a heart of gold. I named you Teddy because I saw a show once, and they said "a golden retriever is a teddy bear with a heart." That's when I said to myself "someday I want to have a golden retriever and name him Teddy." And that's just what I did. Thank you Teddy. You taught me a lot. I saw a sign the other day that told me you are happy in your new life. Say hi to Ringo for me, my little Baby Bear, my Teddy Bear, the Chairman of the Neighborhood Beautification Committee, my Little Doggie Flower. You will be missed, but never forgotten. I am writing this blog post so other people will remember you too.
And I know what you'd say if you were here and could talk. "Don't be sad. Go sniff someone else's butt! They're everywhere!"