If you've read some of my past blog posts, you probably know that I am a dog enthusiast. Over the years, my wife Lynn and I have enjoyed several canine companions. Scooter was one of our favorite dogs. But I remember him most for a rather unusual reason.
Toward the end of his life, our dog Scooter went blind. It happened over a period of several months. At first we weren't sure what was wrong with him. He used to be so fiercely independent. He had always seen himself as alpha-dog–grouchy and self-centered. But now, the poor little guy would walk around bumping into things. This seemed to frustrate him, so he'd withdraw and go curl up in a corner. This just wasn't like him. We became deeply concerned.
At 99 in “people years,” you might expect a dog to begin deteriorating. But we found Scooter's blindness heartbreaking! He seemed so helpless; so vulnerable. I couldn't help but wonder what he might be thinking. (Do dogs think?) How was he coping with his disability? Now that he was completely blind, did he still have a reason to go on? We were really upset about Scooter's condition.
Of course it wasn't Scooter's attitude that improved, but ours. Lynn and I started treating him with dignity again. We laid aside our pity and just started loving him more. And because of his “helpless” state, he was more open to receiving our help.
What I learned from Scooter
We started working with Scooter. We taught him new commands, took him for walks and helped him learn his way around again. Sure, he still had his moments, but he adjusted quite well. Most of the time you couldn't even tell that he was blind.
But what was most remarkable was that he now seemed happier than we'd ever seen him. He was no longer grouchy or self-centered. He grew more affectionate, loving and playful.
Why was that?
I think it’s because his blindness helped him see what he had failed to see before. Instead of trying to do everything himself, his blindness opened him up to accept our love and care for him.
And this is why I’m telling you about my blind dog…
- I want to be willing to learn new things, even if it means “bumping into things” sometimes.
- I want to receive the wisdom, knowledge, love and care from those around me. I need to learn from all those amazing, intelligent sage beings who are a part of my life. (Like you, for instance.)
- I want to be more loving toward others and be done with self-pity.
- I want to be more humble and less self-centered.
- I want to be more content and less grouchy.
- I want to be more playful and less serious.
That's what I learned from Scooter when I was willing to open my eyes.
In what ways are you learning and growing from those around you?