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Rated: 13+ · Other · Spiritual · #1318076
Spiritual lessons come from the strangest places

When I first met Tibby she was seven years old; half a lifetime for a dog, which she was.  Tibby was my wife’s (girlfriend at the time) Shih Tzu.  She did not like me for the longest time (Tibby, not my wife) and I had a great deal of problems winning her over.  It did not help the day she bit me on the nose which caused me to gush blood, and I chased her around the house with murder in my eye.  Tibby and I simply did not hit it off.

My wife Peggy told me that it was because Tibby had been scared by a man as a puppy and she had not liked men since, although I think there was more to it than that.  Peggy’s ex-husband was an alcoholic and I can guess that in his drunken stupors he terrorized the little dog who naturally transferred her mistrust to all men. 

I am not sure exactly when but a time came where I became acceptable to Tibby.  She was terrified of storms and one night when Peggy was gone Tibby came to me for shelter and I made her feel safe.  After that she always came to me instead of Peggy when there was bad weather.  That made me feel good because dogs had always liked me and I found it difficult to deal with Tibby’s distrust.  After that Tibby would let me pick her up and pet her, but she would only stay on my lap for half a minute then she would want down.

I watched over the years at how people were drawn to Tibby like a magnet.  She was a cute little dog with some gnarly teeth in front that created an adorable under bite and everyone wanted to pet her.  Tibby however saw those hands coming at her and went into defensive mode, and if you were foolish enough to get your face too close she would surely nip at it.  So despite her natural appeal she had very few friends.  She would not even let my wife hold her for more than a few minutes.

I began to see the parallels in my life and Tibby’s, for I too had been badly abused as a child.  It is sheer genius the way that God chooses to get spiritual lessons through to us.  I used to sit and talk to Tibby and tell her how many friends she would have if she would just allow it.  After saying it several times I came to understand how much alike we were and I realized that everything I said to Tibby I should be saying to myself and that I ought to be taking my own advice.  You see I too was dragging about a ton of resentments regarding my mistreatment as a child, and I would not open my heart to many people for fear that I would again be mistreated.  I understood from watching Tibby that in order to live the full life I wanted I would have to forgive those who mistreated me and trust that the new people in my life had better intentions than my parents had.

In the summer of ’06 Peggy and I went on vacation leaving Tibby to be boarded at the vet.  When we got back she was happy to see us and she jumped, sort of, into my arms and licked my face, which she never did.  A couple of days after we got home I noticed she was not eating or drinking and she was very lackluster.  I took her to the vet and he said that it appeared she had a liver infarction, sort of a heart attack of the liver, and that it was not working properly.

I asked the vet if he was sure and he said pretty much so but that we could take her home for a few days and see if she would improve.  He promised that she was not suffering and that a few days would not hurt.  I took her home and tried the special diet the vet suggested but Tibby simply could not eat or drink.  However she would allow me to hold her and I did that almost non-stop for three days.  At the end of the three days Peggy and I talked about it and it was clear that we would need to put Tibby down.  I was unprepared for the level of grief I was to experience.

I called the vet and scheduled the procedure for the following day then I did all I could to make Tibby happy and comfortable.  And I cried.  I could not believe how much I cried.  I went in and paid the vet and I cried as I wrote out the check and I could not understand why I cried, but then it struck me; I felt that watching Tibby had helped me so much in my life yet I had been unable to do for her as she had done for me.  Tibby never got the chance to know how many people wanted to love her.  I felt like I had failed Tibby.

The next day we took her in and Peggy and I both held her as the doctor administered the shot, and I watched Tibby die.  It took several minutes to compose myself enough to dash through the waiting room to the car where I cried all the way home.  There were so many tears that I could barely see to drive.  I had just watched that little dog that taught me one of the most important lessons of my life die and I was inconsolable.

That night before I went to sleep Tibby’s spirit came to visit me.  She told me not to be sad, that we had done the right thing by her.  It was her time.  She also thanked me for wanting to be her friend and she told me that I had done everything I possibly could to that end.  As I lay there communing with Tibby’s spirit I understood that she was here just for me to teach me that valuable lesson.  When she finally left I cried myself to sleep.

After a few months Peggy began to caucus for a puppy but I said no.  I still ached over the loss of Tibby and I had no interest in ever feeling that again.  Then one night Tibby’s spirit arrived once more and said that if I did not get a new dog that I missed out on everything she was here to teach me.  She said it was time to move on and take another risk.  Then I felt love and Tibby left.

Peggy and I went to look at a little Shih-Poo puppy (Winnie) and got it, and we got a little terrier mix (Frankie) from a litter that had been dumped on the breeder’s lawn.  They are beautiful little dogs and I love them both.  I often wonder what spiritual lessons might be in store for me from having them in my life.  And sometimes I think of Tibby and I still cry a little, but mostly I hope I have honored her by living a life different from the one I led prior to knowing her.  She touched me in a way no human ever could.
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