He was my best friend. I didn’t know it was possible to love that way. He came into my life 14 years ago today…and even though physically he’s gone, he will always be with me.
He was just a tiny thing when my brother bought him for me as a Christmas present…he probably didn’t weigh 5 lbs. He was cute and I was so happy to have him, but it never occurred to me that one day he would no longer be with me…I didn’t really think about that at the time. From day one, we were inseparable…
I didn’t know that a little dog could teach me such big lessons about life, but he did and I’m so very grateful he was mine. We had 5,089 days together…although that sounds like a lot…it wasn’t enough. So he had plenty of time to teach me about life. I don’t know how he knew so much…I guess you could say that he was wise beyond his years.
So here are the lessons that Jory taught me…
1. Time goes by too quickly…appreciate the days when you feel good and can enjoy life. It isn’t always like that. Don’t wait, go out and play.
2. Trust is limitless when there is love. – Jory was diagnosed with diabetes in March of 2008, so he endured a lot of insulin injections and checking his blood sugar. He was an absolute angel about it. It didn’t change when he was diagnosed with Cushings and Kidney Issues in July 2011. Even though he was getting subcutaneous fluids twice a day almost every day, he would just let you give them to him…did I mention the needle was big enough to make a grown man pass out?
3. Forgive…it isn’t as hard as it may seem. – Jory never held a grudge. I tripped over him, fed him late, left for vacation without him (of course he was with a sitter and his brother), moved us across the country, poked him with needles at least 4 times a day…and he would forgive me.
4. Live in the Present. – This goes along with number 3…one of the reasons that he could forgive so easily is because he lived in the moment. He didn’t think about 5 minutes or 5 days ago and he didn’t worry about tomorrow. He was focused on the moment he was in…you could see it in his eyes or the way he wagged his little “nubbin'” (he didn’t really have a tail). He enjoyed his life. Every touch, treat, walk and toy were important in the moment.
5. Size doesn’t matter. – Some people think that small dogs are “less than” big dogs…I know when many people met Jory for the first time, they were drawn to him. Jory just had a way with people…they wanted to be his friend. Even the tiniest of creatures are capable of infinite love, make sure you give them a chance.
6. Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources. – Jory inspired me to be a better person, to care about other animals, to reach out and help them. I cannot even count the number of strays I’ve picked up or animal causes I’ve supported since Jory came into my life. I loved him so much and I have become an advocate for animals because of him.
7. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it feels good to know that you did it. – As Jory started to have serious health problems over the last 5 months, I hated to have to give him injections, medications and subcutaneous fluids. I worried that he would be mad at me and that I couldn’t explain that I was doing it all just to keep him “healthy.” But…I know I did everything I could to take good care of him and even though it was far from easy, I would’ve regretted it if I had done less.
8. Writing down a schedule really helps. – Jory’s schedule was pretty complex, especially over the past 5 months. I documented it for anyone else who might be caring for him and it helped me too. Although, generally Jory wouldn’t let you forget when it was time to feed him…he wasn’t likely to remind you about everything else. Writing down the schedule for him, forced me to do the same for the rest of my day, it helped keep me on track.
9. A little attention can go a long way. – Jory was my shadow. He would stick with me whenever he could, but usually he just wanted a little attention and then he would rest. If someone is sticking close to you, maybe they just need some attention.
10. Educate yourself. Don’t rely on information from just one source. – We had an AMAZING team of veterinarians and their staffs supporting us. However, it was really important for me to do research, to be informed so that I could make educated decisions regarding his care.
11. Trust yourself and your instincts. – There are many times in life that the answers we need can’t be found or maybe you find them, but your instincts scream something else…trust yourself. (There was an incident with Jory’s diabetes that prompted me to ask the vet if it was possible that Jory had received a bad batch of insulin. It was highly unlikely…but that is exactly what happened and a few months later they pulled Vetsulin (his brand of insulin) from the market.
12. Love remains. – I miss him more than I can say, but the great thing is…I love him more than I can explain. The love didn’t change. It’s still with me. My heart lightens when I think of him running or how he would want to cuddle with me after his walk.
Jory was the best gift I ever received. He won my heart in record time. He was my first pet and he will always be with me. He was an amazing friend, a great listener;), a very loyal and faithful companion. I was truly blessed to have him in my life.
Amber, I am happy to read your appreciation of Jory. Your perspective opened my eyes a little bit more today and that is why I’m sharing your post with others.
Tweeted the lesson #1