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How My Dog Changed My Life

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
October 4, 2022 3:04 am

How My Dog Changed My Life

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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October 4, 2022 3:04 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, regular contributor Paul Bauer reflects on a pivotal moment involving his canine companion.

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Download the Starbucks app. And we continue with Our American Stories. And up next, a story from one of our listeners and now regular contributors, Paul Bauer from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Today, Paul brings us a story he's titled Lessons from Gizmo. When I became an empty nester and my home became quiet and lonely, I decided it might be time to get a pet. I knew nothing about dogs, but there must be a reason why they're called man's best friend. So I went for it. Without a clue on how to go about picking the right precious canine and very few brains in my head, I went with my ear. And I chose the sweetest sounding breed I could find. I purchased a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. With a royal name like that, how could I lose? This regal sounding dog was going to be my ticket out of middle class. And like the young Prince William of England, I would ascend straight into royalty.

I'm not so sure that was a good plan. Looking back, I'm now five years into this canine experiment. And though I have a breed that starts with the word King Charles and ends with the word Cavalier, I have yet to meet Queen Elizabeth or even sit next to Bob Uyghur at a baseball game for that matter. Good seat, sir. You're in the wrong shape, buddy. Come on.

I must be in the front row. But Gizmo, the princely dog, has managed to teach me a few things. I've compiled a list of the top 10 things I've learned from this furry creature. Number one is humility. There's very little pride in owning a dog, especially when you have to do sanitation duty. Do you like holding those bags, swinging them by your knees while on a hike? Furthermore, while walking your dog, what's the proper way to introduce yourself to a passing stranger or a friendly neighbor when you have a baggie in one hand and a leash in the other? Try saying, pardon the poop, without being humble.

It's very sad. Number two, you have to learn who's boss. Are you short on long suffering? Then get a dog like me. And that canine character builder will teach you who's boss in no time. Take, for example, the game of fetch. I thought all dogs played that throw and retrieve interactive practice. So when I first bought my dog, I looked forward to spending hours and hours of quality time with me throwing balls and my happy pooch, bringing him back over and over, back and forth.

All for not. My dog has no interest in that kind of bonding nonsense. When I throw the ball, she pouts and breathes and looks me in the eye, glancing up on my arching eyebrows as if to say, too much work, sir. Sorry, I can't help.

Maybe that was where the King Charles part comes in. My dog, Gizmo, she'd rather be waited on than returning fetches thrown by me, her master. My failure at teaching her these basic animal instincts is not for lack of trying. I've tried just about every kind of object possible. A stick, a rope, tennis ball, golf ball, racquetball, fuzzy balls and super balls. It doesn't matter.

All of them are losers. I throw them out as far or short as possible. And with hope, I say FETCH!

But the reaction is the same. A stare down. Not even a twitch of a muscle or hint that maybe she should go chase that ball.

I end up retrieving it myself, and I can plainly see a smirk on Gizmo's face as she observes this routine. I even tried what I thought was pure genius, cutting a hole in a tennis ball and filling it with treats. That one actually brought minor success.

We got halfway there. She did chase it down, but there was no way she was bringing that ball back to me. It was a closed deal.

Negotiations were off. She ate the treat on the spot and of course left the ball there for me to fetch. My patience is really being tested, but after five years of trying, I have not given up.

Number three, I've learned my diet is not so bad after all. First, let me try saying something with a straight face. I do not have an eating disorder. There.

I said it. Only problem is, it's all a lie. Now in my late fifties, I have matured and gotten real about life.

And I've learned that carrying a few extra inches around my waist, this time I get used to the idea I'm never going to be ultra slim again. And I do have an eating problem. I admit it.

But at least I'm not as bad as Gizmo. That dog will eat anything that resembles food. Even some things that don't.

Grass, dirt, roadkill, it doesn't matter. It's all food to her. As for human food, no matter how sneaky I am, she knows when I have food. And when pressed, I will hand it over and she will gobble it down in seconds flat with no manners to boot. So I've come to realize I have problems with eating, but I'm a model of self-discipline compared to that dog. Number four, you're never really alone.

You don't need sunshine to cast a shadow, I have learned. This dog will not leave me out of her sight. Even the bathroom is not safe. If not for the door, she would be right there wondering why I'm in there sitting on that thing with my pants down to my ankles. As it is, she's relegated to scratching at the door telling me to go hurry up and finish my business.

Number five, I'm not that smart. If there's anything I've become convinced of since buying Gizmo, it's this. I'm being outsmarted by a dog. She is my superior, the dog is the one in charge, not me, so I better get used to that fact. We walk when she wants to walk, we go where she wants to go. If I feel like stepping it up and making it into a jog, it's no guarantee she will jog with me. Gizmo will jog when she feels like it, which is almost never. So I might as well follow my leader and obey her instincts.

Kind of like the old Hannah Babara cartoon character, Quick Draw McGraw, Gizmo says, in essence, I'll do the thinning around here, bubba boy. She even orders food for us both. When I'm out cooking on the grill, I know why she wigs her tail and watches me intently. She's not happy to see me. She's only making sure I cook the steak just right. Medium rare, I have learned. She has me feeling too guilty to give her a piece with some fat and grizzle on it.

She might get sick, I think to myself. So of course, she gets the center cut, leaving me to eat the part that's not fit for a dog. Number six, I'm a lousy barber. My dog has also taught me something about personal care. I'm now her personal hairstylist. I'm too cheap to pay for a groomer. I don't even pay to have someone give me my own haircut. I'm not about to pay someone to do my dog, so Gizmo is at the mercy of my scissors. If she's not going to play fetch, I'm not going to go to beauty school. Her precious fur coat looks as though it had a run-in with a weed whacker and lost. Luckily for her, I was told you can't shave a King Charles cavalry spaniel. It just doesn't work. But if it did, the Regal Gizmo would have a look just like my personal favorite, the Michael Jordan Kirby Puckett Chrome Dome, a dog dude made to look just like me.

But as it is, she's the only dog in the neighborhood with a mullet. Number seven, if you snooze, you don't always lose. I'm not lazy, not when compared to Gizmo at least. I no longer have to feel guilty taking a 10-minute nap in the afternoon. When this dog is not eating, following me around, or if losing to play fetch, or complaining about her mullet, she's sleeping, period. She believes in the power nap strategy for success, like Einstein.

So I follow her example. Number eight, you don't have to fuss about housework. Our house used to be spotless before Gizmo. We were the model of good housekeeping. But all thoughts about our house being perfect, or even any guilt about leaving the living room just a little bit messy, that has completely vanished.

Gizmo gave us perspective. From the beginning of this experiment, the shedding beast has turned our house into one continuous fuzzball, not a house of impeccable perfection. We have worn out three vacuum cleaners and still cannot keep the place fuzz-free.

I think Mr. Hoover invented the notion that every home needs a pet. Number nine, it's better to stick to a routine. I used to love change.

Variety, that's the spice of life, right? But now in my middle-aged years, living with my King Charles Cavalier spaniel, I've changed my mind. You mess with your routine and you pay for it the following day.

Gizmo reinforces that notion. Don't even think about sitting down to unwind after a hard day at the office. The dog must be walked first.

Try putting your feet up for a few minutes, and she will stare you down with a look that could kill a squirrel. This is Gizmo's time, and you better get up off your booty and take her out for a walk so that she can come home afterwards and sleep. Number ten, doctors are overrated. For anyone considering the medical profession, you might want to forget about brain surgery or heart transplants and go right to the more lucrative position of a veterinarian. I've never paid for one of those other surgeries, but I can't imagine they're more expensive than Gizmo's yearly checkup at the vet and their corresponding medications. Gizmo has me trained. Animal science and canine medicine, that's where it's at.

There's a gold mine there. With all this wisdom I've acquired from dog ownership and all these lessons learned from life with Gizmo in an empty nest, I have to wonder, how did I learn anything in life without a dog? That pooch has changed my life. Too much.

Way too much. She has taken over. I have become my dog's intern, stylist, psychiatrist, personal attendant, provider and student. Maybe I shouldn't be such a pushover and I should consider teaching this old dog a few new tricks, but I'm too prone to roll over at this stage in my life.

That's just the way it goes. She's the dog. I am the tail. It is, after all, dog's life, isn't it? And great work as always by Greg Hengler on this piece and a special thanks to Paul Bauer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He's a devoted listener and also a great contributor. By the way, I have pugs and anyone who has pugs understands and empathizes with my friend Paul.

My goodness, King Charles Cavalier Spaniels and pugs have a lot in common. They run the show, period. The story of Gizmo and lessons from Gizmo here on Our American Stories. T-Mobile for Business knows companies want more than a one size fits all approach to support. I want the world. So we provide 360 support customized to your business from discovery through post deployment. You'll get a dedicated account team and expertise from solutions engineers and industry advisors already right now. I want it now. 360 support that's customized for your success. That's unconventional thinking from T-Mobile for Business. What up?

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-27 08:17:58 / 2022-12-27 08:23:52 / 6

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