Back in 2004 when Scott and I were still newlyweds, we decided we needed a puppy. There were no disagreements on what kind of puppy we’d get. We wanted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, because they are obviously the cutest puppies on the planet. 😉 Despite their shedding, history of heart disease and shortened lifespan as a result, we set out to find the perfect cavalier pup. It wasn’t long before our hearts were set on this adorable tri-color pup.
We set a meeting place and drove about 45 minutes at night to meet.
We realized things might be a little shady when our meeting place was a closed down gas station. But no matter, we pulled in with our headlights on and hopped out to meet our pup. But to our surprise, the breeders pulled out two puppies. They had a tiny little blenheim colored (white with chestnut markings) puppy AND our chosen tri-colored pup. Of course, the little blenheim immediately came running straight into my arms, while the tri, walked around sniffing the place out a bit distant and aloof.
We knew who we came for, but this little snuggly guy sure was making it hard.
Of course, you know the story, we ended up with TWO Cavalier fur children right out of the gate. They were our everything. They were great with the kids and just the perfect little pets. Until one day, about six years later, when our little blenheim baby William developed a distinct heart murmur. It caused his health to decline rapidly and we weren’t ready for that. We were expecting a short lifespan, of around 10 years, but he was just about to be seven! His little life deteriorated quickly and he shocked us all by passing on later that summer, at only 7 years old.
It ripped such a terrible hole in my heart, I could hardly bare it.
As a result, the day his brother Walter was diagnosed with a heart murmur, just a year later, I began expecting the worst. Every time he’d begin to pant, I’d completely overreact. I took him for every diagnostic test under the sun, started him on preventative meds and bought him his own little fan to sleep with beside his bed. I gave him extra attention during the day and extra snuggles at night, knowing any day could be his last.
That was seven years ago!
Walter is now 14 years old and, though he is elderly, he’s happy as can be. At Dr. Pupp’s office over the weekend, we got to take turns listening to his (very loud) heart murmur. We’re still aware that any day could be his last, but he’s outlived my fear by 7 whole years. I think it’s a mix of nature and nurture that have helped sweet Walter stay with us this long. Every day with him is a surprising gift, no doubt.
What if we looked at our lives that way?
It’s easy to judge people’s past behavior as an indicator of their future. We tend to transfer those same judgements onto the other people in our lives, or even ourselves at times. We expect history to repeat itself.
But what if we didn’t?
What if we expected change and surprises?
The truth is, people can change. You can change. The past is behind you, along with everything in it.
Every day is a new chance, a surprising gift.
Look for the gift today.
to more love,