To Jackson, with love…Happy Birthday to the Best Dog in the World!

jack&boat7

Today is our lab’s 15th birthday! As I watch him sleeping next to me as he so often does while I’m working, I find myself becoming sentimental, if not a little (ok, a lot) teary eyed.

Quite often as human beings we think of ourselves as the more intelligent group. Yet, I have learned so much from our four-legged friend.

I’ve learned about unwavering LOYALTY:

No matter if we are having a bad day or how upset we may become when he gets into mischief, he takes it all in stride. He still looks up at you with those big brown eyes as you’re fussing and huffing and let’s you know he still loves you no matter how grouchy you are at that moment.

I’ve learned what it means to be STOIC:

I looked up the word Stoic because I wasn’t sure if this was exactly the word I wanted to use to describe Jackson:

sto·ic/ˈstō-ik/

Noun: A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.

Stoic is exactly the right word!

As I mentioned, Jackson is 15 today. With wisdom, and many experiences under his collar, unfortunately, there also comes the aches and pains with getting old. This past year, our friend has been presented with some challenges yet he NEVER complains, winces or lets on how uncomfortable he might actually be.

Jackson can no longer go on walks with us, not even short ones. But watch out when he’s sleeping! His body gets going as if he is not walking but chasing after those squirrels and maybe the occasional duck in the lake.

He has difficulty going down steps and struggles to then get up those same steps. Getting up and down is no easy task for Jackson yet he does it with as much grace and dignity as he can muster.

Some days are better than others. There are those days where he just seems so very tired. Those are the tough days that make us anxious that he may not be with us for much longer but those are also the days that make us grateful for the time we’ve had together.

I’ve learned true DETERMINATION AND WILL:

Old age may have done a number on his ability to move quickly and with ease, but put a bowl of food out or toss around a tennis ball and…well, it’s a MIRACLE!! You’ve never seen a lab move so fast! You would think he’d been pretending all this time that he is as old as he is.

Most importantly, I’ve learned about HAPPINESS & LOVE:

To see our “old man” is to be in the presence of absolute happiness and unconditional love. Through all the challenges of getting old, one thing has not changed. His heart continues to beat strongly & is full of love for his family and just about anyone he comes in contact with. If we ever question how he is feeling, his wagging tail lets us know that through the good and bad he is a happy, happy dog!

Happy Birthday my friend!