Spring 2009

Dear Friends

This fall my husband and I lost one of our beloved dogs. I have written about our old black lab, Sunny, here before. When we picked him up off the mean streets of Houston one hot August night years ago, he was skinny, hungry, thirsty, and in bad shape health-wise. Even though we didn't feel we were in a position to add a dog to our family, we picked him up and loaded him into our car anyway.

From the moment he joined our family, he changed our lives in ways we could not have imagined. Sunny showed us how wonderful dogs are, giving us nothing but love, affection, and joy. He lived for his daily walks — nothing made him happier than being on the end of a leash, strolling through the neighborhood, checking things out, meeting all our neighbors, getting pats, sniffing everything he could, and surveying his land. He was gentle with everyone — never jumping, never barking, never showing any signs that he was less than delighted to meet you. Everyone knew and loved him.

He fell ill while we were on vacation. By the time we got home, he was in pretty bad shape. We spent another week running tests, waiting for results, and trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with him. In the meantime, he struggled with breathing, with eating, with his balance, and with standing up. It was heartbreaking, to say the least.

Finally, we couldn't let it go on any longer. He was truly suffering and it wasn't fair to him. We were just holding out hope that what was wrong with him could be 'cured' with the right medicine, the right surgery, with anything. But, sadly, it turned out to be cancer that had metastasized into his brain.

While the doctor gave him the shot to release him from pain, we held him, talked to him and told him how much we loved him, how great he was, and how we were going to miss him for the rest of our lives. He closed his eyes, his breathing slowed and stopped, and he slipped away.

Now we were the ones left to suffer and, boy, did we. Since his death, taking walks around our neighborhood was an exercise in painful memories — he loved sniffing that patch over there, this was the house where the kids loved to come out and pet him, this was the dog he would romp with any chance he could, and so on. We stopped walking. His bed between our chairs in the living room was empty and we couldn’t stand it so we put it away.

Now that months have passed, we have started walking the neighborhood again, and Sunny's dog bed has been put back out and reclaimed by one of our other pooches. We can talk about him and remember the good times with smiles now instead of tears. Time is slowly taking away the sharp pain and replacing it with a more melancholy ache. Even though it hurt very badly to lose Sunny, we are both so grateful for the love he brought into our lives. Opening our hearts can sometimes bring pain, but in the end, the pain is well worth the love that remains. And Sunny's love lives within us every time we take a walk, look at his bed between our chairs, and remember what a joyful being he was. This spring I hope that we can all open our hearts a little more, let our guards down a bit, and accept the love that life wants to send our way.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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