My guest blogger today is my dog Roscoe, who is sitting beside me as I type this.
Within the last week Roscoe, who is almost ten, has lost most of his vision. We noticed that he started bumping into things and seemed unwilling to go down the steps. The vet confirmed that he is almost completely blind. His blindness has probably been caused by metastasis from cancer with which he was diagnosed last June. At first Roscoe was a little upset by his blindness, but remarkably he seems to have adapted very quickly to the new status quo. I strongly feel that there are lessons he would like to impart and although he loves walking across the computer keyboard, he is not terribly accurate which is why I am helping him write this. Here are a few of the things he would like you to know.
1-Focus on what you are still able to do rather than the things you can’t. This morning Roscoe kept head butting my bedroom door until I let him in and brought him into bed. I was rewarded with kisses and tail wags. Roscoe still has his appetite and ability to beg for food others are eating. And despite the cold weather he is happy to take walks, accept belly rubs and participate in life to the best of his ability. Most of all, he is still able to give and receive love.
2-Don’t let them count you out. When Roscoe was diagnosed with his cancer last June, even after having had surgery, the vet told us he probably would only live 2-3 months. Every article we could find on the Internet confirmed this grim diagnosis. With some herbal supplements and a lot of love he was here to celebrate Thanksgiving and ring in 2016 with us. Vets (and people doctors) know a lot, but they don’t know everything.
3-Live in the moment. Although Roscoe is part of a family of extreme worriers he does not seem to be affected by our neuroses. He has faced each day with optimism and grace and although the end is probably getting near for him, he continues to look for things to enjoy. His motto seems to be “Why worry about tomorrow when today is perfectly fine?”
4- Take time to stop and smell the roses (and everything else). Since I am more of an indoor cat by nature, Roscoe has been a great motivator for me to get outside and commune with nature while he stops to sniff everything he encounters. He often refuses to be rushed and reminds us that taking time to notice the small things is a very important lesson no matter how much (or little) time you have left.
Before Roscoe joined our family I liked dogs but didn’t consider myself a “dog person”. I was surprised at how attached I have become to Roscoe and how much I love him. I know something about loss, having buried an infant son, my brother and just this past summer, my dad. It’s easy to say Roscoe is “just a dog”. But I have also learned that love is love and perhaps there is no truer form than the love offered by a dog. I also know however, that because Roscoe is such a sweet and loving dog he would not want us to be too sad after he is gone. He would want us to remember all the lessons he taught us, not just the ones since he got sick, but the ones from his entire life as well. As for now he says we are done with this blog and would like his dinner.