My Dog Gandhi

Izzy and Lenore
Merle's Door Chicken Sourp for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Dog Did That! A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems

I have a completely deaf and half blind dog named Gandhi. We named him Gandhi because after naming our cat Fang, we are firm believers in giving our animals good-natured names. We also have a Scottie named Tonks and a Westie named Lassie who serve as Gandhi's guide dogs.

Now I know that all creatures have lessons to pass onto us, but I seem to have learned a bit more from Gandhi. Perhaps it's because I tend to pay closer attention to him, making sure that I haven't shifted the furniture on him or making sure he knows that we are leaving, because simply shouting a "goodbye" doesn't work for him.

These are some of the most important lessons that Gandhi has taught me:

  1. Trust is good! I tend to try to handle everything on my own and struggle with accepting advice, but Gandhi completely trusts his two little guide dogs to navigate through the environment and they haven't steered him wrong yet!
  2. Mindfulness is necessary. I'm not sure if it's because he is deaf or if it's just his personality but Gandhi is the most mindful creature I have ever known. He is always in the moment, whether he is playing, eating or sleeping. I read books on mindfulness but I learn so much more from simply observing Gandhi.
  3. Patience is indeed a virtue. Like his namesake, Gandhi can be very determined and sometimes he takes a bit of time to make up his mind. I have no choice but to be patient because any lecturing (or complaining) on my part is wasted. So, I watch Gandhi consider and most often I find that we are in agreement.
  4. Enthusiasm is awesome! When Gandhi sees/smells my walking shoes, he becomes a 75lb vision of bouncing joy. I used to grouse about the walk but I'm learning that Gandhi is right ...  taking a walk with your dogs can be a pretty darned good part of the day.

I enjoy reading stories about people and their animal companions.  Here are some that I have particularly enjoyed:

Izzy and Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me by Jon Katz

Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote

Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Dog Did That! compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Jennifer Quasha

A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher by Sue Halpern

Every Day's a Dog's Day: A Year in Poems by Marilyn Singer

Are there any books that you are fond of for the Dog Days of Summer? Cheers and have a lovely summer.

Comments

Thank you for your suggestions. I shall add the titles to my wish list!

I'm particularly interested in Haatchi & Little B, as your reminds me of a day that we spent at the horse rescue. While we were there the farrier built a prosthetic horse-shoe for a lame horse and the feeling of sheer joy that emanated from horse as it took it's first steps is a memory I treasure. Its so wonderful what can be done to help both humans and animals participate more fully in life.

I, too, am a fan of dog stories--both true and fiction. Three of the ones I have read in recent months all had to do with dogs (and cats) rescued from animal shelters. Since both our cat Ninja and elderly sheltie Sadie are both rescued pets our home wouldn't be complete without---they urged me to tell you about the following books:

Haatchi & Little B: the True Inspiring Story of One Boy and His Dog
by Wendy Holden
This awesome story about a British boy with a genetic disease whose family rescues a young three-legged Anatolian shepherd that was hit by a train. Their friendship is an immediate and unbreakable bond that helps Owen overcome shyness caused by his own special needs. I haven't gotten to the part yet where Haatchi receives his artificial leg yet, but I can't wait to see how this modern veterinary miracle takes place.

Gaby, Lost and Found
by Angela Cervantes
This children's novel for older elementary kids received the International Latino Book Award for "Best Youth Chapter Book in English" in July 2014. It features a cast of dogs, cats, and Gaby Howard and her 6th grade classmates who undertake a community service project at the Furry Friends Animal Shelter that ends up helping several of them (including Gaby herself) find loving foster homes.

And last, but not least...here is a collection of short stories for kids called:
Lucky Dog: Twelve Tales of Rescued Dogs
One of these is even narrated by a chihuahua!

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