My beloved cocker spaniel almost died yesterday. On the way up to my apartment after his evening walk, his leg slipped into the gap between the elevator and the landing. The elevator door started to close, and he was about to have his leg ripped off. He lived, but I’ll never forget the lessons that dog taught me in those moments.
A dire situation
His leg was wedged deep into the elevator shaft. I tried and tried but couldn’t get it out. It didn’t help that the elevator door kept shutting on me. Since I was using both hands to try to free the leg I had to use my back to push back on the closing door, which made for a rather bruised back.
Thankfully a kind passer-by stopped to help. He held the lift door open, relieving me of one problem so I could focus on the jammed leg. After a few minutes it still wouldn’t budge.
I thought, “This is it. I have to break the leg to get it out. We might as well call the vet right now and put the poor thing to sleep right here in the elevator shaft, much more merciful…” As I miserably planned his death, my dog happily wagged his tail at all the attention.
Then another woman came. She took over holding the door open, so the first passer-by could get down on his knees and help me. Finally he managed to free the leg, and the dog. When I got home I was trembling and just hugged my dog and cried at the thought of almost losing him. He soaked up the love, still merrily wagging his tail.
Lessons my dog taught me
- When bad things happen, keep wagging your tail.
- Be patient, and your problem will eventually be sorted.
- Trust in the kindness of strangers.
- When you’re stuck, accept help from others.
- Humans worry about things that never happen.
- Just because someone thinks about killing you doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you.
- Your partner makes mistakes, but she’s trying her best.
- Lick the people you love today, before you fall into another hole.
“I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren’t certain we knew better. They fight for honor at the first challenge, make love with no moral restraint, and they do not for all their marvelous instincts appear to know about death. Being such wonderfully uncomplicated beings, they need us to do their worrying.” – George Bird Evans, “Troubles with Bird Dogs”
If you enjoyed this post, you might want to read Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Dave Berry.