Canine lessons in life

By TOM WOERNER
Posted 5/24/22

A friend of mine recently posted about things he has learned from his 14-year-old canine friend throughout his life. As I now pass 12 years with my own dog, my mind wondered to similar …

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Canine lessons in life

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A friend of mine recently posted about things he has learned from his 14-year-old canine friend throughout his life. As I now pass 12 years with my own dog, my mind wondered to similar thoughts.

I’ve written before about Sadie, my 40-pound shelter dog friend. I could have frankly written a lot more. Her life is full of adventure and, hard to believe, maybe I’ve learned a little from her.

Watching Sadie every day for 12 years, I think I have learned the importance of a daily nap. That only increased when I started teaching now nearly three years ago.

Heaven knows Sadie gets hers, probably times 10. That kind of sleep pattern gives her plenty of dog park energy. Since they recently built one in our town, the dog park has become a regular part of our schedule.

Those trips taught me something else, the importance of making new friends. Inevitably, Sadie comes home with a new acquaintance. Some of those we see often on return visits. Others are one time meetings, which are equally as fun. I would do better to do the same going about my every day life.

On the opposite end of that spectrum, my four-legged friend has taught me to be a little more suspicious of strangers. If someone dares interrupt her afternoon nap, or any other time, with a knock on the door, they are greeted by her ire.

Not saying I should become angry with every visitor, but my soul is too kind hearted. I would be better served to approach all folks I don’t know with a little more caution, to give them a warning bark before I let them too close.

Also along those same lines, there is one lesson I still need to learn, the one where I’m more loyal to my friends. No human outside my family has been as loyal to me as this dog. She greets me every day with her valuable toys ready to play. If I don’t oblige, I’m immediately scolded.

Sadie loves exploring new places, that’s something I hope the next 30 years of my life includes more. For her, those places are nearby swamps, neighbors’ yards and wooded paths. She particularly enjoys new swimming holes, which is a concern this time for year with scaly creatures slivering around.

We almost learned a hard lesson recently when she tried to make friends with a copperhead snake. Thankfully the snake wasn’t as interested in making her acquaintance. I was able to get us out of there before the situation became more serious.

I started my own explorations with a trip earlier this year, with another planned for this summer.

I’ve also learned to protect the things I value more. Sadie is famous in her own little world for where she hides toys or snacks. I often find them at the bottom of a pile of laundry. They are also carefully buried in couches and my recliner from time to time. I’m quite sure there are some in my house I haven’t found yet. I recently found a plastic bone in one of my shoes. Nothing surprises me with this one.

Through elementary, middle and high school and two college degrees I’ve done a lot of learning, but no lessons have been more fun than what I’ve learned from my canine friend. I hope I have several more years to continue the process.

Tom Woerner writes for The Daily Record and is former editor of the Harnett County News. Reach him at woernertmw@yahoo.com.

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