Posted by | November 2, 2011 16:16 | Filed under: Top Stories

Today, we had to put our beloved Beagle to sleep.  It’s among the most difficult things I’ve ever done. Banjin (Chinese for “half-pint”) was adopted at age 4 by Jocelyn, the woman who was to become my wife. Of course, that union might not have happened had Bonnie not approved (which he did, begrudgingly). Our relationship began as a long-distance one, and so when travel plans were made, his care was a key consideration. When I proposed, Bonnie carried the ring around his neck.

I’d had a dog as a child, and a cat as an adult, but never before did I realize how much a dog can define a family. A dog can remind you what playfulness is, break the tension during an argument, and sometimes give you the greatest gift of all by just being there. That’s because dogs are Buddhists. They live in the moment, are not attached to the past,  and not worried about the future. They don’t know regret or bitterness, and don’t maintain grievances. You are loved, not judged; accepted, not criticized. These are only some of the lessons I learned from Bonnie.

When Bonnie became incontinent three-and-a-half years ago, we put him in a diaper; when he became incontinent a second way, Jocelyn created a special diaper for him so he could be comfortable and so that we could maintain his well-being. The first time I had to put his  legs and his tail through the holes in this Rube Goldberg contraption before attaching it to his other diaper with safety pins, I thought I’d never master it. It took thirty minutes of my time and, temporarily, my self-esteem, as I was defeated by a 25-pound dog. But we were able to add years to his life while helping maintain his dignity.

Bonnie used to to take us out for walks, pulling all the way, lunging at other dogs, and marking every pole in sight. Eventually, things reversed, and for a long time we’ve been walking him, ever-more carefully  as he became saddeningly slow. With time, he lost his eyesight, his hearing and, finally, his balance. Sometimes we’d feed him by hand so he wouldn’t fall by his dish. Slowly, we saw his quality of life deteriorate.  Bonnie struggled in silence. He was nothing if not proud.

A caring listener of mine sent along a beautiful reminder of why we become better people because of our pets. If only we could learn even some of these lessons:

  • Live simply.
  • Love generously.
  • Care deeply.
  • Speak kindly.
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Here is Bonnie’s only television appearance, when I had the opportunity to introduce him to the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan:

Goodbye, Bonnie.

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.