On Saturday, after nursing our beloved fur baby Toby, it was time to make the decision and allow him to cross the rainbow bridge. This is what Toby taught me.
Lesson 1 – Keep wagging your tail
It didn’t matter what anyone did, Toby always turned up the next minute for a pat with his tail wagging. We used to call him “the co-dependent dog” but now I’m not so sure. I think he didn’t hold onto any bad or negative vibes.
Toby never judged a person who came to visit. He may have barked to announce that he hadn’t met you before but the bark quickly turned into a friendly tail wag. He never judged a person by who they were, where they came from, what they wore or what they did for a living. He just decided to be friends with everyone. He didn’t hold grudges, he always forgave any harsh words (even if he was the naughty boy) and in an instant, he was wagging his tail and ready for some more fun.
Lesson 2 – Always ask for a pat
An interesting thing about humans – we generally don’t like to ask for things. Toby was always up for a cuddle and a pat and would rub himself against you to remind you that touch is vitally important, we all need a pat (and maybe a cuddle and maybe some treats).
Lesson 3 – Learning takes time
Toby was pretty untrained when he came to us. Sitting, which I think he interpreted as “I’m going to get a pat”, was probably the extent of his repertoire. We spent lots of time together learning the etiquette of being a well-mannered dog and no matter how many times we repeated a lesson he never thought that he was dumb or stupid, he just tried to do what he thought we wanted him to do, then wag his tail. Much time went into his training and he taught me patience and how to correct behaviour with love. We were both so excited when he would learn one of his lessons.
If I look at how long it took to train Toby to come when called I can see a correlation in many of our lives. We are called to be who we are, our true natures, to commit to a purpose in life. Yet we will happily play with all the distractions rather than permit ourselves to come under the guidance and discipline of our souls. The more we focus on the distractions the longer it takes for us to hear our true calling.
Lesson 4 – Live for the moment
After we came home from the vet I could feel the sorrow so deep in my heart. I went down to the bottom of our property and let myself cry until the big tears were out. Being gentle with myself I snuggled into bed and typed into youtube “Abraham Hicks my dog is dead”. I needed some spiritual guidance.
Abraham said that our pets are the greatest teachers of living in the now, of not holding onto the past or worrying about the future, their greatest consciousness is in the present. I thought of Toby running around our big property and how excited he would be – running full pelt, ears flapping, tongue hanging out and tail streaming behind as he cut corners trying to keep up with the greyhound. He was a being of pure joy. Lying on his back having his belly rubbed he would groan with pleasure as if this was the most exquisite moment of his life.
No matter what you said or did with Toby, even if you told him off for being naughty, he always turned up for that pat with his tail wagging. He never held a grudge because he never lived in the past.
Lesson 5 -Your heart is bigger than you think it is
Although Toby was loved by many, as a high energy dog he was returned to the kennels a couple of times with his new owners not being able to keep up with him. And that is how he landed with us, we saw he was going to be surrendered again and we thought that there would come a time when he would start to be labelled a problem dog. So we adopted him.
Through everything that Toby went through he never stopped loving everyone he met. He lost his
homes, he lost his new families a couple of times and he lost the fur companions he became close to. Yet, he always loved. He always kept his curiosity. He was always brave. He always greeted you with his tail wagging.
It’s hard owning a pet. As a human being our lifespan is so much longer and so we will outlive most of the animals that come into our lives. We won’t stop adopting rescues. Each time we go to the shelter and rescue an animal that animal has a longer chance at life, a better chance for a better life. And each time our lives are richer.
Thank you, Toby, for being part of our family. You may have crossed the rainbow bridge but you will always be present in our hearts.
I’d love to hear about what you’ve learned about your pets in the comment below.
If you’d like to have a chat with me about moving through grief or any of the topics on this blog just press on this link and we can connect.
always with love,