This week brought one of the saddest of days for our household. We had to say “goodbye” to our Golden Retriever, Daisy.
I’m the type of person who believes that each episode of our lives can teach us something… if we are willing to take notice, we can learn valuable lessons. Even in the death of a beloved family pet.
It only seems like yesterday we were holding Daisy (as a puppy – and choosing her over the big snuggly boy) and teaching her all the “rules of the household.” She was a great student – learned what was “right and wrong” so quickly. And lived out her 12+ years with a keen notion to please us. She was a faithful and endearing companion. She loved her family… and her family loved her.
There was nothing particularly special about Daisy. She didn’t do tricks. She never won any prizes or competed in any shows. But she was always there to meet you at the door (with one of her “babies” [toys] in mouth) to make you feel like you were the most important person on earth. She never met a person she didn’t like – often (when on our walks) she would take off running to greet total strangers (who weren’t real certain if her intention was to befriend them… or end them!)
She was gentle. Good-natured. Loved to eat (she was a big gal!) …and loved being “scratched” behind the ears (honestly, she could go for hours!).
Lessons to be learned…
* Make people, not things or success, your center of attention. Daisy was always wanting to be near people (especially her people). She was outgoing, kind, and just had a welcoming presence about her. Those qualities alone are some of the highest and best to which any of us could aspire.
* Make a difference in your little world. When Daisy passed there were probably only a handful of people that mourned her loss – but those of us who mourned cried buckets of tears because of the place she had gained in our hearts. So often in life we want to be somebody. Woo the masses. Become someone to so many – that we miss the importance of just making a difference in the lives of those around us. We can get so caught up in trying to impress the world that we miss the vital importance of just making a lasting impression on those around us.
* Life is so fleeting – cherish those around you. Death has a way of reminding us just how important life is… and how precious are those people in our lives. Treasure your “loved ones.” You just never know how much time you may have with those in your life. Spend time with them. It doesn’t even have to be doing anything particularly special – just be with them, and love on them in all the small ways.
* (In this life) Death is final. There is something so sorrowful in a creature’s last breath. But we all know we are going to be there someday. Death brings down the curtain on our opportunities to make our lives count for something worthwhile. We each have just one lifetime to fulfill what our Creator created us to do – and we never know how much time we have. There is a line in one of my favorite songs (linked at the end of this post) that rings so true about what truly matters in this life: “What we give is all we have, How we love is what will last.” These are the things that are foundational to a life well-lived.
* Live to please the Master. Daisy’s best quality was her obedience. She lived to do what was pleasing to us – even when she might want to do something else. In so many ways, I think that is what God is seeking in us… a simple trust and a willing obedience. These are really the nature of Biblical faith.
I have often wondered if dogs go to heaven – or if our beloved animals will be there waiting for us. I have heard it said that if it is important to us… it will be there in heaven for us. I hope that is true. When I pass from this life, I sure hope that Daisy is there with toy in mouth waiting for me. I’d like to just take a few hundred years and scratch behind her ears just one more time…
The Afters… “This Life” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLhu-T8OBEA