THE SPOT in the backyard is now piled high with dead leaves. To the causal onlooker, nothing about it would appear special. But they would be wrong. Dead wrong. It is THE SPOT where my Clancy dog taught me a foundational life lesson.
Clancy didn’t know he assumed the role of teacher as he lay in the grass that early sunny spring morning. He was in the moment: nose lifted high, eyes squinting, and brain in another place. What was going on? What was he thinking? Why the far away look in his eyes?
Six years earlier, Clancy had become our friend. He lived up to the reputation of the Cairn Terrier breed by being as cheerful and playful as his relative Toto on the Wizard of Oz. We often shared the front seat together as we sped down the highway. He would lay on the bed, watching TV with us. And best of all, critics will howl in laughter but I swear this is true, he too became a Chicago Bears fan. How do four-legged creatures often become closer friends than the two-legged variety?
“How do four-legged creatures often become closer friends than the two-legged variety?”
But a couple of weeks before that spring day when Clancy lay in THE SPOT, we noticed odd behavior. He came up missing for hours, taking shelter in the secret nooks and crannies of our small house. The water bowl on the floor started drying up far quicker than ever before as he lapped water like one living in the desert. The boundless energy once on display for all to see disappeared under an ominous cloak of apathy.
Something was wrong. A phone call secured an appointment to the vet for the next day.
After locking in a time for the appointment I let him out back to do his daily duty. Several minutes later I noticed the absence of his customary scratch at the back door signaling his desire to return inside. Looking out the window, there he was, in THE SPOT. Without doubt he was savoring the moment, soaking in his surroundings. At that precise second he seemed more in tune with life than ever before.
The next morning before we headed out, we had a little talk. Seeking to reassure him, I reminded him we had been friends a long time. A little tail wag indicated full agreement. And then, off we went to get some magic pill from the vet.
An hour later I returned home with no friend at my side. The vet, after running necessary tests, determined he suffered from a terminal illness. He had to be put down. Shock. Sadness. Tears.
Just this morning I looked out the window and saw THE SPOT. Immediately I remembered the life lesson Clancy taught me. Sometimes you need to just stop and take it all in. Be thankful for what you have at that one moment. We have no guarantee of tomorrow. Life is all about today. Squeeze it dry. Suck the life out of it. Sniff the air. Enjoy the breeze. Live that moment like it might be your last.
Thank you Clancy. The lesson you taught me will always be remembered.