Yes, I am a dog person; the disclaimer is on the table. The fact of the matter remains, I have learned a lot from a “tripod” or two over the years. I was a kennel boy through high school and college – worked with and learned a lot of lessons from a lot of different dogs. It might not be quite so PC anymore to use the phrase “tripod”, but it is one fitting and accurately descriptive term for a dog that is short a leg.
The other night we ran into Heidi, a dog we had not seen for a few months. She had lost a leg as a result of a freak infection. It was horrible to hear, and sad to see, yet there she was back out walking, happy as ever and full of life. It was one hell of a reminder.
Now it is not just a lesson that is only taught by a three-legged, or even four-legged dog. In reality it is one of the greatest lessons from pets, or from the greater animal kingdom in general. So what is that lesson? Simple really – play the hand you are dealt. Play it with grace, poise and yes even happiness. Never fret over what was, embrace what is and be grateful that there is a today and possibly a tomorrow.
Seriously, think about a time you have ever seen a dog wallowing in self-pity, worried about what others might think, or just not living in the moment? The other great visual is the “cone of shame”:
Humans would be mortified to wear that thing out in public. But to a dog, while it might be an annoyance and hindrance, it is not something that stops them from living life to the fullest. They never refuse to go for a walk because of how they look. They lose a leg, they figure it out and move on, happy to just be in the game. It is a hell of a lesson.
Granted, trauma is not a laughing matter, for anyone or any animal. Be it physical, emotional, fiscal or whatever, the fact remains how we respond to hardship is the key. There will be challenges in any journey, but the question is will we respond like the three-legged dog? Thanks for the reminder Heidi.