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  • Writer's picturenancylauzon

Things I Learned From My Dog

My Shar pei Sam (named after Samwise Gamgee, from Lord of the Rings) passed away in 2013. We enjoyed his loveable antics, funny moods, attitude and steadfast companionship for nine wonderful years. I think of him around this time every year, because he was born in March. Here's what he taught me.

Wrinkles define who you are

Wrinkles, freckles, age spots, flab -- all of that stuff -- means that you've spent more time than others exposing yourself to sunshine and lots of good things to eat. I inherited good skin from the women in my family, and don't have too many wrinkles yet. As for the rest, I try my best, but I'm never giving up chocolate. Bacon is good I know it's pure saturated fat. I try not to eat too much of it, or think about where it comes from, but dang, there's nothing like a few slabs of crispy bacon to go with your scrambled eggs and coffee on a Saturday morning. Sam wasn't allowed bacon either, but once in a while he received a tidbit when he smelled it cooking. He would hoover it off my hand so quickly, I couldn't tell if he liked the taste.

Birds are fascinating I love to watch backyard birds at my feeders and in the bird bath, splashing and shaking their feathers. It's a great way to de-stress. Sam loved watching the birds too, because he wanted to kill them. (He never managed it, thankfully).

Never give up Sam was stubborn. He injured his ACL later on in life, and had to wear a brace for 3 months. He was not allowed to jump up on things or climb stairs. The living room couch was off limits, and we had to block off the staircase with a card table. His favorite place to sleep when we were out of the house was our bed upstairs. He spent a lot of time huffing and grumping about the fact that he couldn't nap where he usually did. After a dozen attempts, he finally managed to move the card table aside and I found him on our bed one day, as usual, looking triumphant.

Follow your dreams

Sam loved to chase trains, squirrels, rabbits -- basically anything that moved. When he ran full throttle, his head bobbed up and and down, which earned him the nickname "Sam-Bob". Even with an injured knee, I knew if I unsnapped his leash he'd be off and running. It was instinctual for him to chase what he was born to chase. I admired his determination. I think about that when I'm frustrated or discouraged.

Cesar Milan is amazing The Dog Whisperer helped me cope with some of Sam's 'issues', like barking at the mailman or trying to eat my neighbour's face. Along the way I learned to love the show and its fearless star, Cesar. Ice cream is good I know it's corn syrup, fat and artificial flavors. Sam didn't care, so I don't, either. He definitely loved the taste. Finally, like all dogs, he taught me how to love unconditionally, even through the rough times. Love you, my Sam-Bob. Behave yourself up there.

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