Life lessons from a dog.


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I was looking very forward to this weekend, because I was taking care of my dear friend, Katya, my first friend here in San Francisco and the best dog ever. But this weekend was not without its trials. She has been diagnosed with something esophageal, and she’s been struggling with keeping her food, water, and meds down recently.  Despite some lethargy, she remains in impeccable spirits and high energy when ready for a walk.  But after her 40th vomiting session of the day and four rolls of paper towels later, I lost my cool and yelled at her as she threw up on my white couch at 3:15am, through the blanket that was put there for such an occasion.  And as I picked up the sodden blanket, I just started crying.  Out of frustration, fear, sadness, and all that I’ve been holding inside these past few months. I imagine this is what moms feel like when their kid is sick – exhaustion from the lack of sleep, helpless in their efforts to make it better, vulnerable in their fear. I cried because I was mad at my impatience with her. It was less anger at cleaning up another load of bile and entirely about being alone in this experience.  But she doesn’t know that.  She just hears the tone of my voice.

Thankfully she was quick to forgive, and walked slowly back over to me, her tail wagging, despite her continued gagging slowing her steps.  For hours more, she was restless, and I finally my head hit the pillow at 7am, both of us exhausted from the experience.  The load of laundry I did before the sun rose was evidently done with my eyes closed.  I neglected to see a red sock left in the washer and I sit, now typing, on a pink couch cushion.

I’ve been overly busy recently, doing everything but withdrawing from life. I’m meeting tons of new people, and trying to take care of myself. But really, I am exhausted – physically, mentally, emotionally, and my faith has suffered.  I’m so fearful, and far from peace today.  I know that coming out here was the best thing for my career, and I’m grateful that I’ve found a place that forces my skills to sharpen.  But I’m so afraid – that my nieces will not recognize me as they grow, that my friends will forget me, that being out here is too hard to do alone,  and that this quiet will continue.

So Katya seems to have opened up my floodgates, as I have tears running down my face while watching a priest cry on 60 Minutes. And maybe that was her purpose for this weekend – to teach me to accept what I’m feeling and to express it. To not distract myself from my challenges, my anger, and lack of understanding – but instead to learn to not be scared of them, and ask them to stay a while.  To warm themselves by the fire, and take a load off.

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One thought on “Life lessons from a dog.

  1. Dogs are quick to forgive! If that was a kid that yelling session would result in years of childhood therapy! (J/k, not really).

    Be careful about being so busy. Some would say if you aren’t taking care of yourself, if you aren’t aware of yourself and your thoughts every minute, you really aren’t living life after all.

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