Friday, March 18, 2016

Lessons Learned From My Dogs

Dogs have played an important role in my life.  While these pets have served as great companions, they've also been wonderful teachers of life's sessions.

My mini-GoldenDoodle Gracie and my Golden Retriever Oakley are ten years apart in age, yet they bonded from the beginning.

One of Gracie's greatest accomplishments was being able to jump up on the bed so she could cuddle with Oakley.  What an example they are of unconditional love, to each other and to me.  The world would be a different place if people followed the loving examples shown by their pets!

Gracie loves playing catch with her favorite ball in the back yard.  Sharing that love for play in the outdoors has brought me joy too!

But it's Oakley's story that I've learned the most from.  Since she was nine, she has had glaucoma.  Even though she was on several medications, she lost one eye eighteen months ago because the pressures became uncontrollable and painful.  Having one eye didn't slow her down much.

Then last spring, the second eye developed uncontrollable pressures and it had to be removed also.  I agonized over the decision for surgery because I worried what her life would be like as a blind dog.  Everything I'd read and was told by our vet said dogs adapt.  And she has!  She's slowed her gait some and has learned to use her snout similar to how a blind person uses a white cane.  She's mastered the layout of the house and knows exactly where the steps are from the deck to the yard.

She still loves being in the back yard and does many of the normal dog things she's always done, lifting her nose to smell the chipmunks that scamper around, eating snow in the winter, digging in the dirt, and rolling in the cool grass in the summer.  I try to let her have some independence in the fenced yard but keep a drag leash on her in case I need to reach her quickly to keep her safe from running into the fence or trees.

Oakley loves her special chair and enjoys sleeping there like any senior dog would.  She's twelve now, or 84 in people years.  It's Oak's adaptability that I've learned the most from.  How many of us can lose something as precious as our sight and still wag our tails about what life has sent us?


  1. A wonderful, sweet, and touching series, Karen. It beautifully illustrates the lessons that pets can teach us about unconditional love, adaptability, and the different ways of seeing.

  2. Thanks, Jan. As you may guess, I enjoyed working on this blog post very much.