I open the back door this evening, and my waiting dachsund, Rudy, jumps gleefully to greet me! He bounces from side to side expressing exuberant joy, just because it was me who came through the door onto our back porch. If my aging little pup has aches and pains, he sure doesn’t show it. He is really getting on in dog years now, born in the spring of 1998.
However, although he’s a teenager in human terms, a mere 13, he is well over 9o in “dog years.” He sure doesn’t show it or let on about being old, and his heart is clearly more adolescent than aged. Despite the aging evidence of his greying coat, he has the playful attitude of a puppy. I want a cheerful, youthful heart that overcomes the negatives lupus brings into my life, just like that!
So, tonight I join him on the porch and scoop his dinner from a dog food bin. Rudy barks and dances around me as my predictable routine of feeding him is played out for his waiting benefit. I ask him if he is hungry, and he replies with an energetic barking, “of course.” Yet, he bounds right through his doggie door to follow me back into the house, abandoning his waiting dinner.
He is more interested in being where I am than eating the food he has waited hours to receive. Little Rudy is an attentive companion and never tires of seeing me, always joyful and content to just “hang out” wherever I happen to be. I want to be more interested in others than in my lupus symptoms and own troubles, precisely like that.
At night, his greatest joy is spending a few minutes on top of the bed covers while my husband and I watch some TV before putting out the lights. Even better, he can hardly contain himself nights we enjoy popcorn before lights out. He begs for a hand-out, and bounds up and down off our bed as if he were a spry little doggie athlete.
Finding his ball, he jumps back up on the comforter wagging his tail, ever-expectant we will join him in play. He seldom complains, or at least very rarely voices his discomfort. Once in a while, he lets out a brief wince or whimper that reveals he has old-age doggie arthritis. But, no cloud ever darkens his cheerful heart and up-beat doggie soul. I want to be uncomplaining about pain and flares of my lupus, wholly like that.
Rudy’s little doggie life is uncomplicated. He plays, sleeps and adores us, and his greatest troubles are brought on by the neighborhood cat. She saunters across our back yard block wall, vexing the little hound below. I feed her on our front porch, and afterward she luxuriates on the front driveway in plain view of the watching dog behind our wrought iron patio gate.
These doggie vexations are short-lived. He never whines later about his kitty cat woes and troubles. I want to get over my lupus bad times and physical troubles quickly, like that.
My dog doesn’t know anything about my lupus. He has no comprehension of such things, and is oblivious to the things that pain and trouble me. He operates at a vastly different level. He enjoys each moment for what it is, and doesn’t fret a bit over hours or days ahead beyond the present time.
He knows no worry, except the transient irritations from the pesky cat, and goes forward into each new experience without baggage or emotional burdens. He enjoys the beauty of every moment, and I want to remember to not let lupus steal my joy, so I can be like that.
Mornings as I sit on the porch swing with my coffee, Rudy rolls in the warm sun-drenched grass. He often turns his face into the morning breeze, sniffing the pungent outdoor fragrances, and perks up his ears toward the chirping birds overhead.
Looking back at me across the porch, he often catches my eyes as if his is trying to tell me something. I imagine he wants to express gratefulness that I spend those few minutes outside with him. He communicates that my presence makes a difference to him.
Watching his carefree play in the yard helps me smile and relax. Despite lupus brain fog, I want to be present in life’s small joyful quiet moments, relaxed and drinking in the morning, and appreciating the difference the people (and pets) around me make in my life, like that!
So, today I learned something about living with lupus, from my little long-haired dog. He is full of joy, interested in others more than himself, enjoying life’s small moments and untroubled. In the Bible I have read that each day has enough troubles of its own, so we are encouraged not to worry about tomorrow’s concerns, such as what we will eat, or drink or wear.
Rudy has mastered this! I definitely want to be like that!