On this New Year I can look around me and see my good fortune. I got a smile today when ten-year-old Tanith leapt over the arms of my office chair to curl up close behind me. I smiled because she is such a happy dog, and because at ten she has the strength and agility to make such a move. And I smile because when I dipped into the pickle jar she raised her head hopefully. I've never reconciled myself to her peculiar tastes so I said "Dogs don't like pickles!" I brought it close to her and she delicately removed it from my fingers, sucked it into her mouth and swallowed it whole. I indulged her in another. At the moment I am perched on the very edge of the chair and she is squeezed behind me, curled up, sleeping peacefully. Her easy steady breathing is soothing to me. Her coat is soft and smooth and slick. I reach down and play with her silky ears and she gives a grunt of contentment.
I look around me and I'm grateful for what I have. My home is warm and dry. My bills are paid. I spent the weekend with my family. I watched my brother marry his childhood sweetheart. Tears came to my eyes as I watched how they looked at each other during the wedding vows. As we greet the New Year I recognized our good fortune that my other brother was able to make the trip cross-country with his wife in good time and in good health.
I look at Oso, my other ten-year-old dog. And I am struck with my good fortune at his health following removal of a malignant thyroid several months ago. And how at ten he still has a gleam in his eye and the strength and agility to perform his favorite trick. We go visiting at convalescent homes, hospitals, youth facilities and more. And he plops his head in a lonely persons lap and rests while they stroke him or gently fiddle with his ears. And then we might step back and demonstrate the size of a 13-inch hoop against his 21-inch height. And we wow and awe them as Oso sails through the little hoop. This is a team effort as to be successful I must hold the hoop at the correct height and move it in synchronization as his legs pass through. Today I'm not wondering how much longer he will be able to do that, I'm just struck with gratitude that today he can.
I look at Tsuki who has brought to this house the gift of youth. He teases each of his elders by turns into playing games of tug, and wrestle and bark and bounce. He sneezes when his favorite cat, Dusty, rubs across Tsuki's chest sliding his tail across Tsuki's nose. Dusty and Tsuki are as close as any dog and cat can possibly be. They are rarely more than a few feet from one another. Now Tsuki stands next to me, his head resting on my leg while I stroke the top of his head.
And I watch as Yoda, another of my cats, makes slow but definite recovery from surgery after tearing an Achilles tendon. And how he gimps across the bed to butt heads with Oso, his favorite dog.
In these troubled times I choose to stop and notice that I have what I need, indeed my good fortune overflows. I know that I can offer a helping hand and never even miss it.
I smile again as Tanith tucks her head against my hip and sighs. I'm so glad she got me thinking of my good fortune. She is such a wonderful little pickle dog.
Tanith passed away April 8, 2003 from hemangiosarcoma
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