Tuesday, November 12, 2013
PUTTY IN HER PAWS
It isn't always easy living with a PBGV or as they are often called a Peeb! But it is impossible not to fall in love with one. Their delight in the smallest detail of life can turn a bad situation into a tender moment.
Gracie can demolish 5 rolls of toilet paper, retrieve the tissues off of the night stand and drag the sofa pillows to the yard. But with one paw on my knee, I become putty in her paws. She s a treasure, a delight, and a blessing, a trouble maker and a clown all in one.
She makes me smile when I don't feel like it. And she manages to chase the blues right out of the door. Her sheer delight in watching me open the back door, just for her, us such joy. Bouncing up and down, ears fling, feet elevated from the floor by at least 5 inches, she tears out the door on some clandestine mission of grand importance. How I love this dog. And blessedly, I am not the only one. For several years she has worked with and visited America's wounded war heroes. It is here that her reason for living shines...you see she is blind.
Mark Twain once said that "Every great poem begins with a lump in your throat." For me, I couldn't agree more. Gracie is more than excited to visit our favorite soldiers at anytime or any place. She has taught me that life is a spiritual journey, and sometimes all you have to do is show up and have a little faith that something completely amazing is possible that day. And every now and then, right when you least expect it, something amazing does happen. And you are no more in control than a feather in the wind.
The greatest journeys begin with a single step. With our amazing dogs we have the power to change some one's life. To give a moment that will be cherished forever. The simple and honest act of taking Gracie to work with our wounded warriors can bring meaning and depth and poetry to someone who needs it more than they know.
A friend of mine had asked to see some photos of Gracie with 'her' warriors. I sent her an assortment. Soon she wrote back thanking me and then the net day wrote back a second time to tell me how they had touched her and that she couldn't get them our of her mind.
I understand this. To be witness to Gracie's intentional motivation of loving and being loved, it isn't difficult to understand why people respond to her as they do. The responses of the courageous young men and women to Grace are often overpowering. These are guys and gals who laid their lives on the line, who took the bullets, who fought the fight and paid the price. Yet in the presence of this 28 pound dog, they turn into children with their first puppy. They hold her head gently in both of their hands and looks into her eyes with love, a deep and special love. They may never see her again, but for that moment they connected to something greater than themselves. For that single moment, that cannot be explained, they felt loved back, totally and completely.
Gracie, as should we all, sees past the outward appearances of people. She touches hearts in a way that defies all logical explanation. And yet somehow it is explained clearly. This intense, and unconditional love, is what we should all strive for but seldom do.
Tom Davis in "Why Dogs Do That," says "There are no strings attached, no riders, or special stipulations; there's no fine print, no expiration date, no statute of limitations. They (dogs) love to a depth and degree that few of us, I fear, reciprocate."
I find myself remembering Gracie's and my time with the warriors in snapshot like moments. Struggles, tears, fears, courage, and smiles are often too powerful to fully comprehend. They they come back to me, much like the photographs did to my friend. They are forceful, strong, intense, turbulent, and ardent. Never to be forgotten or taken for granted.
None of us remember days. What we do remember are those moments, those snapshots that cause that lump in our throats to surface and the tears to come. The gasping moments, when we unexpectedly see the face, or hear the voice of a loved one or a flower blooming on the side of a cliff that literally takes our breath away. A wise and cherished friend once told me that every one of us has that sad place deep inside of us. It is from that place that hope and peace and grace come. And for me it is compassion. For, as my friend told me, out of compassion comes passion.
"Let's not make such a habit of hurry and work that when we leave this world, we will feel impelled to hurry through the spaces of the universe using our wings for feather dusters to clean away the star dust."
~Laura Ingalls Wilder