I believe animals are more resilient than people because they don’t think as much.

Species-centric humans think we’re so great because we are smarter than the rest of the critters on the planet.

Chimpanzees may have been shot into space, but they didn’t build the rocket. You don’t see cats constructing bridges, though I sometimes wonder what dolphins and whales would do if they developed opposable thumbs. Maybe the land masses would be as swamped with plastic as the oceans are now.

Is thinking always a great thing? No. Watching my leggy redheaded dog Jezebelle recently I realized she is blessed with the ability to bounce back from adversity and pain much better than I.

Jezebelle received a lousy holiday gift, a nasty looking growth on her eyelid. She ended the year under sedation, having the tumor removed along with two teeth as I took advantage of the moment to order a dental too.

She muttered in discomfort the first evening but the next day she returned to her daily hour-long walk. Three days’ worth of pain pills helped, though not when it came to me applying gel into her eye.

Still, she didn’t complain much about it. Within two days you couldn’t tell from watching her that anything had happened.

Then Jezebelle suffered her third episode of vestibular disease. I call it vertigo. It was bedtime when she began staggering around my bedroom, lunging, circling and looking distraught. To rest, she would attempt a controlled fall, only to decide that wasn’t relaxing and she would unsteadily haul herself up to continue staggering.

Despite my lounging on lumpy cushions on the floor to provide comfort and assurance, Jezebelle spent five hours distressed. Eventually she fell deeply asleep.

The next day she seemed as happy as ever despite being wobbly. She completed her usual evening constitutional with me supporting her by her harness. She behaved as normal, wagging her tail and loopily following me around the house, as though nothing had happened.

People spend a lot of time learning how to meditate to clear their minds. Do animals spend their days in perpetual moments of Zen, no thought to the past, future or consequences?

Cascading challenges clutter my mind. Jezebelle’s lump is malignant. Will it return? Major work and personal trials and tasks keep me from sleep and focus. Even when I am not consciously aware of the throes of my life, there is an inner tumult on automatic pilot.

Jezebelle blissfully enjoys her days unaware that her body may turn itself against her again at any time. If she gets her meals, her walks, her car time, she’s happy. If she can sit by my side for major minutes of petting, she sighs intermittently because she cannot hold so much happiness inside.

Jezebelle is the ultimate role model for joyfully living in the moment. Of course, someone has to ensure the household’s well-being. Is there a way to be responsible and carefree?

I’ll think about it.

Load comments