My Best Friend Is a Dog

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
― Milan Kundra

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”
― Will Rogers

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I have a Best Friend. Yes, that is him. You will notice he is a dog. I recently heard a quote that basically goes like this: “God created Dog to be a perfect companion for man, and to be a reflection of His love – you will notice, DOG is GOD spelled backwards.” While I don’t necessarily believe in a God, as such, if a God did exist, I would like to think He or She would have many of the attributes of a dog!

My best friend’s name is “Rusty”. So, meet Rusty. Rusty, meet everyone. I can almost guarantee you that if Rusty and I were walking down some street somewhere, and you, whoever you are, were approaching, Rusty’s little tail would begin to go, and his butt would begin to wiggle as he anticipated meeting another friend. Rusty has never met anyone that did not become his friend.

This little dog was graciously given to me by a dear friend that could not care for him due to a very busy work schedule. I will be eternally grateful to her! When I first got him almost five years ago, he was, shall we say, a little terror! He chewed through a lot of stuff! He peed almost everywhere! (Thankfully, I had hardwood floors!) Over time, with a lot of patience and guidance, his behavior began to change.

Today, as I write this, Rusty is comfortably napping at my side. He is nothing like that six month old puppy my friend gave me five years ago. He has become my best friend and constant companion. He loves going for walks and car rides – especially to the beach. When we get halfway to our local beach, he gets so excited he can hardly contain himself. Once we get there, there are so many sights, sounds, smells and other dogs, that what was intended to be a thirty minute outing can last, well, until he is good and ready to come home. He loves swimming in the shallow water and chasing and “attacking” the waves. He can be quite strange at times.

Rusty shows such unconditional love. When I am having a bad day, he does not judge or condemn – he snuggles in and licks my bald head. He gives me that look that says, “It’s ok, Daddy! You got me!” One other thing about Rusty, is that he is a rescue dog. No, not the kind that was rescued from a shelter. Rusty is a rescue dog because he has rescued me. I have suffered from clinical depression for most of my life, and, while medication has helped, there is simply no substitute for having another living, breathing creature that is totally dependent upon me for everything. Rusty forces me to get outside on those days when I just want to hide under the covers. Once outside, it is hard not to walk with a smile on my face. Having a dog makes it easy to meet other people. I have never met a fellow dog walker that did not want to stop for a moment and chat about our dogs.

He never complains, and is always willing to go explore new territory. Or, just sit at home on the sofa, lounging in front of the TV watching Dr. Who or some other silly show. As long as he is with me, he is content and happy, as I am with him. After all, isn’t that what a best friend is about?

Peace.

The Inescapable March Of Time

Time is the most undefinable yet paradoxical of things; the past is gone, the future is not come, and the present becomes the past even while we attempt to define it, and, like the flash of lightning, at once exists and expires. ~Charles Caleb Colton

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Time. Sixty seconds – one minute. Sixty minutes – one hour. Twenty four hours – one day. A year. A decade. A century… Human beings are the only species on this capable of measuring time. Our ancestors looked to the heavens in the distant past and tracked the motions of the constellations to measure time. The time for sowing. The time for reaping, measured in the heavens. The sundial. The clock. The watch. All invented by humans to keep track of this precious commodity called “Time.”

Time is important to us. It is valuable. Employers measure a workers productivity based on time. Mere seconds can determine the winner or loser of a game. I think more importantly, though, and on a much deeper and intimate level, time measures a life. Childhood to adolescence. Adolescence to adulthood. Adulthood to old age. Old age to….

Once a year, we celebrate the passing of time as one year passes and a New Year begins. Many use this time of celebration to reflect on the year that has passed, anticipating the year that is to come. When I was a younger man, I never really gave this much thought. The New Year was a time to be with family and friends getting together and celebrating. This year, 2015, I will be Fifty years old. Something happens to a man when he gets to be this age. Thoughts of his own mortality begin to sink in. I, for one, realize that there are fewer years ahead of me than the years that lay behind. To be honest with you, many of those years have not been good. Whether that was due to circumstances or dumb choices, it matters not. The good news is, those years are not lost or wasted. They contain valuable lessons that speak to us and motivate us toward change. That is why I am looking forward to this new year ahead.

Whatever may come your way in 2015, I hope this is a year full of hope, wisdom and strength.

Peace.