Yesterday afternoon at approximately 3:30 one of my best friends, and certainly my most loyal, took his last breath. Conor our collie was as good a dog as any family could hope for.
He was with us for longer than we expected, having out-lived any of his predecessors by a long shot. There are so many joyful memories for me, but those are mine and I will hold onto them privately. Those of you who have read my blogs faithfully over the last several years knew a little about Conor as I have written about him before and posted his picture on more than one occasion.
Today I will just share a few things that Conor modeled for me.
Unconditional love. Something that is so hard for all of us in this world of expectations and self-focus. Conor loved me regardless of who I was in the moment, my struggles, my warts, my trials, my moods, my failures, my successes….none of that mattered to Conor. He treated me like I was the best human being on the planet, every moment of his life. Oh, that I could be the person that Conor believed me to be. That would be an incredible feat.
Forgiveness. Conor was a very sensitive and smart, and he, being a dog, was also driven by instinct. Regardless of how harshly I scolded him for eating the chicken off of the counter or biting my hand as I brushed the knots out of his beautiful coat (a weekly war), he loved me as if it never happened in the next second.
Smiles. If you didn’t think a dog could smile, then you never met Conor. The picture below is classic Conor. He smiled all the time and it made you feel good. Just like your smile can make a difference in how someone feels. Smiles are powerful in touching hearts and opening doors. Conor touched a lot of hearts.
Serving Feeds your Soul. I spent many hours per week, feeding, brushing, giving water, playing with, walking, cleaning up after, and just rubbing his ears and petting him. Investing in your dog is like serving. Providing for them what they cannot do for themselves in our domestic world. In the world in general, when you do something nice for someone, or you help someone through your resources, it feels better than most anything else you can do. In the case of Conor, many things I did for him were for his necessities…I didn’t do them to feel good, but what he gave me back in companionship was worth many times to my soul what I did for him.
Appreciate the Moment. Everything on this earth is temporary. So much of life is wasted worrying and fretting over things that haven’t happened and indeed never end up occurring. Conor lived in the moment, as all dogs do. And that is a powerful lesson to us all. I love dogs so I naturally spent time with him, but as he got older, I was especially conscious of each time I sat with him, or when he would make the effort to stand up and come over to see me while I was on the couch (and it was a struggle for him the last few years as his back legs began faltering). I would stop whatever I was doing and stroke his fur until he had enough and had to go lay down again.
There is likely more I could share but that’s enough for now. I wrote in my journal yesterday for quite a while after his passing as the tears rolled down my face. Thank you for all the years my friend. You are missed and will never be forgotten.