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Senior Correspondent

Recently, I asked my wife Betty to give her thoughts on some aspects of the satisfying retirement we have been living for the past 12 years. Her posts were well received and generated lots of good comments.

I think Bailey, our dog, became a little jealous. Several times since those posts have appeared she has forced her way into my lap while I attempted to use the laptop. In her own subtle way she was letting me know she had some things to say. Since she has no thumbs to hold down the shift key, I had to type for her, but I think this captures the heart of her message to us all.

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them with a kiss.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride and smile.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp and play daily, and play ball.
  • Thrive on attention, and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you're not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently..

Thanks, Bailey. 

Actually, a friend of a friend sent this list of what a dog could tell us. It has been floating around the Internet for quite some time from some unknown source. It is hard to argue with this simple plan for happiness and contentment. 

Here is another dog story that may or may not be true. But no matter. Again, it teaches us a good lesson:

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a 10-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for 6-year-old Shane to observe the procedure as they felt that Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him.

Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The 6-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay around as long."

Remember two things:

  1. Falling down is part of life. Getting back up is living.
  2. Don't complain about growing old. Not everyone gets the privilege

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