I have been working on a very important story. For months now, I’ve been writing the story of my dog Dexter. Over and over, filled with vignettes and photos and the occasional video. It’s been great fun. My friend asked me a really critical question the other day. “What is your message?” she asked. What, exactly, am I trying to say with the story of Dexter? Why am I writing it at all?
The obvious answer is that I want to keep Dexter close to me, and I want to remember all of the silly little things about him (not that anything was particularly “little” about him). I don’t want to let go.
But then another friend pointed out that I cared for a medically challenged dog, and that’s a special thing to do. So perhaps that’s the point. How to care for a dog with physical and psychological problems. That’s definitely a part of it, and something I think I have a little bit of experience with. But I know people have gone much farther, down into the world of naturopathic healing and alternative medicine to heal what ails their animal.
That doesn’t feel like the message here. Or at least not all of it. My own message – what I want to leave behind in this world – is a message of kindness and compassion. I think it’s so important that we put some focus on loving kindness. The world is too divisive, too full of bullies with microphones and keyboards. I’m weary of everything mean. I even find it difficult to yell at other drivers these days. I mean, I DO yell at them, but then I am sure to yell an additional “I’m sorry!” about being mean. Weird, but true.
My philosophy can be summed up in one phrase:
For anyone that has not watched the show Derek on Netflix, I have to recommend it highly. It is about someone that is walking love. Walking kindness and compassion. Amazing show, even if you are not a Ricky Gervais fan. You may not get the humor, but you’ll get the heart. I feel filled with light when I watch it, even when it brings me to tears – which is often.
To me, Dexter was like Derek. Derek had limitations (though we never quite know what they are) and so did Dexter. Derek kept his kind heart and found love in all corners of what could be considered a pretty depressing environment. Dexter was kind and gentle, even though he was in pain, even when he was confined to a small room. He was never, ever, anything but sweet-natured. They would have got on well, I think.
But he was also a real rascal. He was funny, he kept us on our toes and caused incredible damage and destruction. His story is rich – filled with episodes of ridiculous mischief. His story is filled with heart, with love, with tears, with the way that he touched people’s lives.
His kindness was magic. His mischievousness awe-inspiring. His love healing and his slobber sticky. His gas smelly and his eyes soulful. He was my cup of hot chocolate.
So I think maybe my message is to show how one over-sized, goofball dog can be an example for us all.
If you met Dexter, you’d never forget him, and he might secretly be your favorite dog ever. Would you like to meet him?