Sunday, October 13, 2013

A few thoughts about Penny...

We lost Penny on Friday to old age.  She was my dog from Virginia.  Her passing was as gentle and quiet as she was in life.  Her friendship has been a constant for the past 12 years.  I savor what she has taught me.

When I first rescued Penny, she was a pup with a broken leg.  I was impressed at how stoic she was.  The boy who owned her had no means to pay for her surgery or give her the care for her recovery, so I told him that I would pay if he would let me have her. 

God gives us what we need even when we are oblivious to what that is.  Those were dark and difficult days for me, I moved through life like a robot,  but after Penny's surgery I cared for her as a good and responsible nurse.  One night after carrying her outside to do her business, I happened to notice that she sniffed the air with pleasure.  So, I sniffed the air to check it out.  It was cool and crisp and green-smelling of life.  She looked around, so I looked around and because it was a big sky, I looked up.  The stars were bright and twinkled.  Penny caused me to look up and out of myself...It was an awakening. I began to see the world through the eyes of a pent-up puppy anxious for mending, and over the next 3 months Penny shared her ways with me and we both got better.

One night, during her recuperation we lay in the hammock together bundled in a sleeping bag to watch a meteorite shower.

Penny had a special bed in my bedroom where I hung a little painting at her eye level to make her space like mine - art-full.

Penny and I were two black-haired, brown-eyed, Eastern Shore girls and we thought each other beautiful.

I entered her in a costume show for dogs as a benefit for cancer.  She was a pit bull/chow mix and her costume:  a pink faerie dress with gossamer wings that flapped!  I just knew she would win - how adorable is a pit bull faerie pup!  For me to enroll in a doggy pageant was a small feat of courage, but she inspired me to a new boldness.  She lost to a boy scout terrier, but in this case, we were winners too.

Time and time again, God used Penny to get a message through to me.

I've come to understand that choosing to care for her was an exercise in caring for myself and more than that, it puts one in the habit of not turning away from what is wrong in the world. 

Penny was my first dog-love.  She was a gift every day of her life. Twelve years times 7 is a long life of friendship in dog years.  I am embracing what I've learned from her:  Love and live. It helps make things better for yourself and for the world.   And you can practice on a dog.

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