Life Lessons from Sammy

My golden retriever died yesterday. Sammy was 15 years, 9 months and 5 days old. He was more than a dog to me. He was also my walking partner, sounding board and one of my best friends. In addition, he was one of the inspirations for my new book. As a tribute to him and because writing is therapeutic for me, I thought I’d jot down some things I’ve learned from him.

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Routines are OK but be flexible too. – Sammy loved to eat. He received meals in the morning and the evening. In his last few months, he had trouble digesting the portion sizes that he got in two meals. Because of this, I started feeding him smaller portions three times per day. He quickly figured out that although he wasn’t receiving as much food as he used to get at a meal, he got to eat more often. What can we learn from this? Sometimes the routines that we get used to will change for one reason or another. We must embrace these changes and see the goodness in our new situation. If you’d like to learn to become more resilient to change, check out my workshops on this topic.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. – Sammy needed me. For example, he needed me to let him out when he had to get outside. He couldn’t get outside on his own, so he’d go stand by the door when he needed me to open it for him. Late in life, he sometimes had trouble getting up on his own. He’d give me “that look” and I’d help him get on his feet. What can we learn from this? You can’t do it all. There are times we can and should be looking to others for assistance. It’s not a sign of weakness. It indicates that we need each other. We should also understand that we all have gifts that we should be sharing with each other.

Always show love and compassion for others. – Sammy didn’t care if I was having a bad day. He didn’t care if I wasn’t feeling well. Sammy was always happy to be around me. When I lost my job back in 2016, he was glued to my side during those days I was home feeling sorry for myself and trying to get my new business off the ground. The night before he went in to be put to sleep, he spent a couple hours going back and forth between my wife and I to receive hugs and to rest his chin on our laps. It was like he was telling us it was OK that he was going to die. What can we learn from this? It is our duty as humans to show love and compassion for others. It’s our duty to serve. If everyone thought like this, our world would be a lot better place.

Thanks for “hearing me out”. If you’re a pet owner, give them a hug today. Think about what you can learn from them and how you can apply those lessons to your personal and professional lives. Happy New Year!

Kevin JurekComment