I remember so clearly the day I first met Finley. He was by far the largest puppy of the litter. He had these gigantic paws and it was evident even then that he had a giant heart to match. Of course we played with all the gorgeous little pups, but there was never any doubt that Finley was the one who was meant to be ours. He had the gentlest eyes, and even as a puppy his calm and steady personality came through. It was love at first snuggle!!
Naming our fur family members is always an ordeal in my family. There are lots of us, and we are not lacking in opinions! So, our happy little fur ball was nameless for the first couple of days. Names for us must not only fit our pet’s personality, but also have a meaning that suits them. We could tell already that this little pup would grow up to be a real gentleman, so we began to google ‘gentleman names’. Finley, now there was a name that sounded right. Next hurdle, the meaning….Finley means Fair Haired Hero, yes it was perfect! He was most definitely fair haired, and we knew he had a hero’s heart. At long last we were all unanimously in favor, our handsome new boy would be called Finley.
Finley grew….and grew….and GREW! But no matter how big he got, his gentleness never wavered. My youngest child was only 5 when we got him. She had always been wary of dogs and so we were not sure how things would go; would she be terrified by this furry new addition to the family? We had no need to worry because Finley in his calm, steady, and loving way managed to cure my daughter of her fear of dogs. They became the best of friends. I would often see them walking across the yard together, with her tiny hand on his massive head. Ever the guardian, I will never forget how he would walk her back to the house from skating on the pond whenever she got done a little earlier than the rest of the us.
Finley took his role as a guardian very seriously. Nothing or no one came onto our property without our knowing about it. One rainy night, it was already dark, but I needed to go out to check on my ducks and tuck them into bed. I was all geared up in a large, hooded raincoat and not looking much like myself at all. Finley was out back patrolling and hadn’t seen me come outside, but he did detect ‘someone’ rounding the corner to the duck house. He came galloping towards me, barking furiously. I knew he would never hurt anyone, but even knowing this, it was terrifying! I threw back my hood and called out “It’s me boy”….and just like that all was good in the world and he was ready for a snuggle.
Now I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, Finley guarded gently. He was a big presence, with a big, big bark and that’s all it took. The combination of him being so loving and trustworthy but also brave and intimidating, made him the perfect family guard dog.
Finley was always there. A walk outside. A day of yard work. Skate days. Sled days. Summer days. Deck visits. Or pulling into the yard after a day in town. There he was. Finley, steady and sure.
Then it happened. Late one night my son and I heard a knock on the door. There was no bark to announce the vehicle that had pulled in. ‘That’s strange’ I thought. My son answers the door (I am hiding around the corner, ready to attack with my large metal water bottle should it be an intruder). I overhear a lady in a very distressed voice say she thinks she hit our dog. “He can’t move” she says. Despite my best efforts, I begin to cry, tears streaming down my face. I retreat, not wanting to make her feel any worse than she already does. I wake my husband to go and help my son bring Finley home. Still crying. My heart is breaking. I know it’s bad. They bring my big, brave boy home; despite all the pain he is in, he’s still so gentle, still so Fin.
When we arrive at the Emergency Veterinary Office, two petite girls come out to carry in my gigantic boy. “Is he gentle” they ask. With full confidence I say, “he is”. I am so grateful they believed me and did not muzzle him, somehow, I would not have been able to bear that. He does not even growl as they pick up his broken body and take him inside. We stay outside, Covid rules keeping us waiting in the parking lot. X-rays and a call from the vet confirmed what in my heart I already new, we would have to put him down. Thankfully, they let us in to say goodbye. It is so hard; it is too soon. Finley is only 3.
Finley you stole our hearts and we will always miss you. You were not just a dog; you were a friend and a part of our family. Have fun in doggie heaven big guy!
No Such Thing as Just A Dog
If only a moment in time could be rewound.
There was a knock on my door and I soon found,
that on the road your broken body did lie,
and it would soon be time to say goodbye,
to a wonderful friend, loyal and true,
you were hurt too badly so all we could do,
was to let you go with broken hearts,
to the place good dogs go when its time to part.
They love their people and fearlessly protect,
for a good dog’s heart could never neglect,
the drive they have to love and watch over,
their people who cherish their brave little rovers.
Dogs teach us about unconditional love,
always giving ‘no-matter-what’ cuddles and hugs.
A head in our lap, a paw in our hand,
they sit by our feet, they guard our land.
One look in their eye and it’s plain to see,
how deep their affection for you and me.
Our furry family brave and kind,
forever live on in heart and mind.
They each are unique, there is not one the same.
There’s no such thing as just a dog, this is my claim.
I must admit that what you are reading was not what I had planned to share for my second blog article. This, being just an infant blog in the community of bloggers, I have yet to prove my skill as a writer. Therefore my intention was to start by posting only very poignant things. Life however, as it so often does, took me in another direction. Only a few days ago, a remarkably simple and rather silly thing caught my attention. It made me laugh and gave me a refreshed perspective about finding joy in the ordinary, everyday things that surround us. In this case, that ordinary, everyday thing was a Pooh Bear stuffy in a doughnut floaty!
The other day my daughter asked if Pooh Bear could join her in the bath (I mean who else, besides Winnie the Pooh, would be able to make use of a small doughnut floaty? AND, it would be such a shame to let it go to waste). ‘Why not’, I thought, even though as a rule stuffed animals are NOT the best choice for bath buddies. Of course, I made bold proclamations such as, this would be the only time (of course explaining the problem with having stuffies in the bath) and don’t get used to the idea etc. As I am sure you have already guessed, I did not hold myself to this. Really, how could I? Winnie looked TOO cute in his floaty. It brought us both so much joy to see him bobbing around in the water, and surprisingly, he did not retain nearly as much water as I had expected. Now this adorable little Pooh Bear regularly has a scrub and tub with my daughter!
The very first time I saw Winnie in my daughter's bath the adorableness level was picture worthy. Pooh Bear looked so content and joyful, totally at peace with himself and the world, that it warmed my heart. For me, this little bear was symbolizing the importance of contentment and being present in the moment.
The next part of this story is much less profound, perhaps bordering on immature, but it is none the less good for the funny bones. Watching my daughter with her Winnie, another thought crossed my mind, ‘that is so cute….she has a little Pooh floating in her bath’. Then, there was no going back! The inspirational poem I had planned on writing would be no more. Things had become way too 'punny'.
A Bath Time Pooh
I know it’s kind of silly, but I do find so much joy,
In this simple little image of a buoyant Pooh Bear toy.
So I wrote a little poem, about a floating Pooh,
I hope you are amused by it as you read it through.
One day my daughter took a little Pooh inside her bath,
She looked so very happy and it really made me laugh.
Cozy in the water, this little Pooh was chilln’
Bobbing all around the tub when the water was a fillin’.
I smiled and thought, ‘that’s so cute, she’s bathing with her Pooh’
So of course I took a picture, I mean what else was there to do?
Now I know you’re thinking, this poem is merely punny,
But pun time is over; even though poo puns are funny.
Floating in his doughnut Winnie looked so free,
Even toys can be symbolic and a message we can see.
Embrace life’s good, release the bad, and don’t forget to laugh,
Even if it's only at the Pooh in your child’s bath!
Laughter is an important part of life. It can bring healing, restore our hearts and rejuvenate us. So I hope that as you read my little poem about a bathtub Pooh you smiled, felt joy and maybe even chuckled too!
Picture this…. a scrawny, shy and relatively insecure little county girl. That was me! I had friends, but not many, and not the kind that I felt comfortable sharing my many insecure thoughts with. Being 13, with only the smallest sign of breasts developing, no armpit hair and definitely no sign of a menstrual cycle, my insecurities were skyrocketing! I mean, EVERYONE else had ALL those things…right!? The chit chat in the gym change room confirmed my suspicions. I began to question if I was even a real girl. Now as a 46 year old women, who has been dealing with the above stated items for many years, (exact number unnecessary - this is not the time for hurtful mathematics!), I think it is hilarious that I was so anxious for them to arrive.
After worrying about my body’s ‘dysfunction’ for months and months, I finally put my brave face on and confessed to my mom that I was most certainly a malfunctioning model of a girl. Not much was said at the time (my mom being almost as shy as me to discuss these topics), but I knew my concern was heard because sooner than later, a children’s book showed up in my bedroom. This cute little story entitled Leo the Late Bloomer would end up having an impact on me for my whole life.
The protagonist of this story book is Leo the tiger. Poor little Leo was behind all his friends. They were all blooming, but Leo, he was not doing much of anything at all! His dad was worried that Leo would never learn to talk, much less read or write. Maybe, Leo’s dad though to himself, Leo is just not a bloomer.
Even though this book was meant for children much younger than me, my mom was wise in her quiet and subtle approach. The message got through and I had renewed hope that one day, just like Leo, I would bloom.
Leo the Late Bloomer had nothing to do with puberty, yet it provided me with hope in my current situation. It would also be the first of many lessons I would travel through in my life about blooming late. Having struggles with anxiety and self doubt at many different intervals of my life, I held back on pursuing things I had passions in my heart to do, but eventually….I DID them! So instead of getting down on myself, instead of looking back and feeling discouraged about wasted time or lost opportunities, I think about Leo and how he bloomed when the time was right for him. I think about how his joy was the most complete having waited, longed and anticipated his blooming. He will probably never take it for granted. I think he would use it to better his life and the life of those around him.
There are times when we are blooming, and we know it. Then there are the times when we feel dormant. In those times of apparent dormancy, let us remind ourselves that unseen things are happening. It is often after times of quiet and stillness that come forth the most beautiful and dynamic blooms of all!
LIFE! This amazing, but complex cocktail of experiences and relationships that create in us powerful emotional responses; which of course can be both positive and negative. We learn and we grow. We change. We laugh and we cry. We hurt and we heal. Through it all we become who we are. In our weaknesses and in our strengths, we share our lives with one another. This blog is meant to uplift and inspire, to bring joy, to offer hope and of course, to share laughter.
My life has not been a tidy little package wrapped in perfection and topped with an adorable little bow. It is full on, and at times messy, but also rich in love and full of joy. I hope that as you peer into my stories, the stories that woven together create the fabric of my life, you will be more than merely entertained. I hope you will laugh out loud, feel moved in your heart and be inspired to grab life by horns and live it passionately! Welcome to TED’s musings.
Who is ted?
Well, for starters, my full name is Tobi Elizabeth Duckering - AKA -TED.