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Acts of Love

Acts of Love

Acts of Love

After Finn passed, I reflected a lot on our last year together while I mourned. I remember being grateful that I stayed present throughout the entire process, even though it was difficult. I thought a lot about my indebtedness to my friend Kate who gave me the whole basement of her home, so Finn didn’t have to trek up the stairs anymore. I’ll forever be thankful for her incredible gift. And, I remember having moments where I was pretty darn proud of myself for having learned patience over our almost 14 years together.

Given Finn’s spunky sense of humor, I can only imagine he sent Gavin to me to teach me that patience is a process, and there are always opportunities to be more understanding of others’ needs. Even when he was a tree-scaling, butt-biting, fast-as-lightning-ten-minutes-a-day puppy, I used to sing “You can’t hurry Gavin, no you just have to wait” to the theme of You Can’t Hurry Love, a lot.

One night, I was sitting on the steps, trying to coax Gavin to go outside for one last pee. His body language vacillated between I don’t wanna and sleepiness, so, tired myself, I said, “outside or bed, buddy?” His eyes lit up, and he shuffled back to my front door. I doubt he knew what the words meant, but my body language likely demonstrated the message he seemed to want to hear. 

To this day, if it’s cold, rainy, dark, too early, too late, too noisy, or any number of Gavin deterrents, I give him the option of going outside or crawling back under the covers, his favorite place to be. Another common occurrence in our house is coaxing him out of bed to eat his pills in the morning.

If it’s too early, Gavin time, he’s not hungry. So, often I leave him alone for a bit and do other things because I don’t want to add pressure to him if he’s not ready to eat yet (a phenomenon I can’t possibly understand as an always-hungry-gal). It may take a few tries of gently trying then giving him space but eventually, he’ll give me the “oh, I’m hungry” look and gobble up his pills in whatever creative way I’ve managed to hide them in that morning. 

Recently, as we were going through our routine, the trash truck stopped in front of our apartment, one of Gavin’s least favorite sounds. Being nervous, I knew he wouldn’t eat, so I just sat on the floor with him and comforted him until he relaxed. Then, something miraculous happened. Gavin started sniffing the tray of liverwurst globs and jar of baby food I had ready for his medication. He wanted to eat, without any effort on my part, at all.

And, I realized that my attempt to not add social pressure on Gavin to encourage him to eat wasn’t what he needed. My boy needs more snuggling to stimulate his morning appetite. 

Since then, he’s been eating much quicker and with much more enthusiasm than ever. And while I feel a tinge of guilt for not picking up on what he needed sooner, I’m so glad I figured it out. May we pay closer attention to those we love. It’s amazing what can happen when we do. Not only do I get more snuggle time with my dog, but I have more time in the morning, and that’s a gift we can all use.

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