This post will be a stray off course for me, but my muse has been pestering me to share a message in a unique way. So, here we go.
Every evening, I settle into a restful spot on the sofa and fluff up a head rest alongside my right hip. Meanwhile, our five-year-old male Samoyed dog, Tuukka, watches me intensely, waiting for his prompt.
“Okay, big boy. You ready to snuggle? C’mon up.” Before I can pat the couch to indicate a safe landing zone, our 65 pound boy springs from his prone position on a dog bed into a bounding gallop across the living room. He leaps with precision over my outstretched legs and uses the back of the sofa to stop his forward momentum. He makes a clockwise 180 degree turn, exhales with a moan, and collapses his body. A puffy pillow (blanket) swallows his head in comfort. A perfect gymnastic-style 10. Every night!
“Whoa, Dad! What’s wrong? You ain’t feeling too good, like you got some bad energy about you.” Tuukka sneezed, flicked his tongue, and then yawned. “You need to calm down.”
“Yeah, I know boy. I’m just worried.”
“Worry? I don’t understand. What is worry?”
“Well, you know that feeling you get when you can’t find your little blue ball or your green football? You run around the yard or the house and you can’t remember where you left it.”
“Yes. I know that feeling, and I don’t like it. It’s not fun.”
“Well, boy. That’s worry.”
“Should I bring you my ball? That bad feeling goes away when I find my ball. I can go get it for you; I left it on my bed.”
“No, you don’t have to do that. Thank you for wanting to help me. You just stay here and let me pet you. You make me feel better.”
“Okay. I’ll stay here with you. If petting me makes you not worry, I stay here. I like petting; it makes me sleepy, and I like sleeping.”
“The truth is Tuukka, I’m worried about you.”
“I make you not feel good? I don’t ever want to do that. I’m sorry, Dad. I didn’t mean it. Really, I promise I will be a better boy.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong, but you are sick and that worries me.”
“What? I don’t feel sick? I swear I haven’t eaten any snacks out of the cat’s litter box in a long time. That always makes me sick! I feel fine. I don’t understand.”
“Me neither, Tuukka. Me neither. You may have a disease that is making you lose all your fur. We don’t really know what’s causing it.”
“Wait. Is that why you keep giving me baths and taking me to that place where it smells like a lot of sick dogs?”
“Yes, boy. We are trying to make you not sick and make your fur grow back and make you feel handsome again.”
“But, I don’t feel sick. I get a little itchy every now and then and sometimes I feel cold, but I feel good. I don’t know what handsome is, but if you want me to feel it, I will feel handsome for you.”
“You are such a good boy, Tuukka. You know mommy and I love you just the same, don’t you? We are going to do everything we can to fix you up, okay. We’re going to bring you to a dermatologist in a few weeks. She’ll fix what’s wrong and we’ll make you healthy again. We’ve tried Tuukka, to do it by ourselves, but we don’t know what to do anymore. So we will get you the help you need.”
“Am I broken? I feel like I lost my ball. I worry? I don’t like this feeling. Dad, your eyes are leaking? I’ll clean them for you. I give you lotsa kisses. I make your bad energy go away.”
“No, Tuukka. You are not broken! You are perfect just the way you are, on the inside. Your coat and skin may be in a messy and unhealthy condition, but deep down in your soul, you are just fine. You are the most beautiful boy dog we have!”
“I don’t know what you just said, but can you keep petting me? I like when you pet me; makes me feel… Ohhh, is that what handsome is? Then I feel handsome a lot when I am with you, Dad. I am sleepy and I take a nap now. Maybe we have a snack when I wake up?”
“Okay, boy. We’ll have a snack when you wake up. I promise.”
There are times in our lives when we try our hardest to make life easier for others. We hide and mask our own pain, discomfort, and worry while we help others. Sometimes, despite our best effort, we can’t succeed alone.
We need the help of others. We need dog groomers, and veterinarians, and specialists to help us find a root cause of a problem and develop solutions. We need family, friends, and coworkers to help us reach a common goal.
More importantly, someone needs you. You are the little blue ball or the green football in someone’s life to take away the worrisome and fearful feelings. No matter the condition of one’s exterior, whether it is a brittle and ugly coat of fur, or a masquerade smile someone wears, you are needed!
So please, do not judge others for you know not what they live with daily. Be a support system for others. Be a soft hand upon the fur, an attentive ear to listen to a story, a trusted friend to tell the truth and help guide someone out of their darkest hours.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.