It’s been a year – a year of seeking new pathways, learning new patterns of living, and new schedules.  Thad and I have had to adjust to taking care of something other than ourselves again. As often is the case, one change in your life can alter your days – good or bad.  For us it’s all because of one little thing that has entered our lives that was no bigger than my bread loaf pan.  I’m talking about a furry, funny, fur ball we call Liesl.

We call her Liesl Marie when she is trying to tease us with a game of “keep away”.  Francesca calls her Princess Pork Chop because since her spaying she’s bulked up.  I think she looks like a mix of cartoon characters of the past.  Her ears remind me of the character “Red” in Fraggle Rock – not to mention they look like she got a bad perm.

Don’t get me started on her butt.  Instead of the nice feathering of her tail, her butt looks like Yosemite Sam’s mustache.  Then there are two little spikes of hair on either side of her tail  that look like the horns of a furry devil.

Most people that meet her for the first time can’t help but smile at her because of her sweet and friendly disposition and how she is always wagging her beautifully feathered tail and looking up at you with the most awesome golden eyes.  Her feathering is just now starting to come in and although it is a lighter shade of red than the rest of her, I think its God’s natural highlighting of her fur rather than a cheap dye job.  Though I may chuckle at her caricature features  I melt with love at the wonderful creature God created and placed in my life.

Most of our contemporaries are too polite to voice what they’re thinking: that we weren’t using our heads in making this decision.  And they were partially correct. After all, we are in our last half of our lives, plagued with all sorts of physical aches, pains, and maladies – she could well outlive us.  We were through raising children, and could gallivant all over as we pleased.  We weren’t tied down to anyone anymore.  No more potty training and walks 2-3 times of day in all types of weather.  No more visits to the vets because aren’t your plethora of doctor visits enough, already?.  And of course there is the behavioral training, socialization, and responsibility of caring for a living, breathing creature. Truth be known, it is mostly us that needed to be retrained on properly raising a puppy.  And yes, all those things are true.  Sometimes raising a puppy is the last thing I want to do.

But it was the hole in our hearts aching greatly that determined our decision.  Having had dogs all our lives and then going without for 3 and half years we hoped the hole  would heal.  But every time we ran across a dog, any dog, the hole opened up and the yearning and sadness was great.

Yes, we had to potty train Liesl, but she learned quickly what was expected and hasn’t had an accident since she was three months old.  Yes, we had to teach her manners but she quickly learned all her basic commands and comports herself (mostly) as she should.  At night after her last visit to the outdoors she runs to her crate for her night time cookie and demands that we cover her so as not to be disturbed by our talking as we ready ourselves for bed.  In the morning, she quietly waits in her crate until we have done our morning bathroom routines to simply have some cuddle and playtime or what we call “Big, Bed Time”.  There she snuggles in for some loving, playtime and/or another little snooze. Often we have to coax her to get out of bed to go “potty” because she likes having the bed to herself.  She loves nothing more than to ride in her stroller while we power walk and enjoys car rides where she has a dog car seat on the console between the two front seats.  She is Thad’s co-pilot watching the road ahead and taking in the sights and sounds of cars and passersby.  Her favorite outing is to Francesca, Rich & the kiddos (her second set of parents and home) to play with them and their dog, Presley (an English Pointer Mix).  Presley and Liesl run and wrestle; their antics filling our hearts with joy and laughter.  Our grandson, Ryker and Liesl have a special bond and the first thing they do when they see each other is to run around chasing each other.  She loves helping us explore new nature trails and restaurants that are dog friendly.  She is well behaved and interested in all that is going on around her.  Her only desire is to “hang” with us.  And there is nothing we like more.

Dachshunds are considered delicate because of their long bodies and short legs but there is nothing delicate about their spirit.  Doxies are filled with determination, stubbornness, and resiliency and we believe Liesl thinks she is a German shepherd.  Yet under the tomboy image is pure sweetness and a lack of malice with just enough mischief to keep you guessing as to what she’ll do next.  Liesl is smart, always alert, and ready to play at a moment’s notice but just as apt to curl up beside you and lead you into a meditative state as you pet her smooth, silky fur.

She has brought laughter into our home on a daily and moment by moment basis.  She is pure entertainment and watching her beats any comedy on TV.  And while she can be labor intensive, let me tell you what it has been like having Liesl in our lives this past year.  Like our grandchildren did when they were toddlers, Liesl reminds us of the wonderment of nature and people around us.    She looks at everything and everyone with fresh new eyes.  This reminds us once again that everything in life is special and one must pause and take it all in.  It has been a blessing watching Liesl grow, learn, and mold into our lives.  It is sharing in her successes and coaching her into being “a good girl”.  It’s the absolute, unconditional love she freely gives to Thad and I – love that is not always felt because life today gets so very busy that we forget to stop, hug, and love.  It’s the love that has filled the hole in our hearts and made our home even more warm and comforting.

And yes, there are still a few things Liesl needs to learn.  Her high pitch squeals when she knows she is about to go out for her walk and the pull on her leash to cross the threshold is much like the energy of a matador bull bursting through the gates in an effort to surprise the lizards and squirrels.  We’re working on it – high value salmon treats are surprisingly helpful.  She is a foodie like us.  And after all she is only 14 months old.

Like any labor of love, the joy far outweighs the challenges or worries.   Like our grandchildren, Liesl keeps us moving, keeps us alert, and helps us feel alive even as our bodies are showing and feeling their age.  She’s like a personal trainer – helping us stay active.  And we sure do need that because with two grandsons  we  need all the stamina we can get.

So, yes, one little thing in your life can alter your days – good or bad.  With Liesl – It’s all good.

Thank you for reading my post.  If you have found it encouraging please consider liking, commenting or sharing it.  Feel free to even re-blog – may these words take flight!

I have additional insights I’d love to share with you found in the pages of my debut book: Surviving Medical Mayhem – Laughing When It Hurts.  To order a copy or learn more go to my website at www.lorettaschoen.com

 

Blessings for Health & Wellness.