April 25, 2014

Daisy turned 18 years old on April 15th. Daisy is the Border Collie mix who has been my loyal companion for those 18 years and who was the inspiration for My Life as a Border Collie: Freedom from Codependency. It was through my observations and experiences with Daisy that I was able to look closely at my codependent behaviors and learn valuable lessons about where my assets of giving, caring, and serving become codependent. It is wonderful to be a hard-working, people-pleasing human being until those behaviors cause problems for our self and/or others.

Daisy helped me to learn all of that - in addition to many years in my twelve-step program, counseling, reading, and talking with others on this path of codependency recovery.

And so we were blessed with another full year with Daisy and a birthday celebration on the 15th with treats and a gold ribbon tied to her collar.

Daisy is amazingly well except that she has great trouble using her hind legs. She is not in pain and is still quite herself except that her movement is limited. Walks are short. Meals are often eaten lying down. And her efforts to herd Eddie, the 11 year-old black lab, are still focused and intentional but very brief.

This additional year with Daisy has taught me many more things, and in the spirit and structure of My Life as a Border Collie, I offer these additional lessons:

I can not single-handedly keep any person, creature, or thing alive. I can and will do my part to contribute to the health and safety of someone/something else, but I am not in control of the big picture of life and death. Let go and let God.

Every day is a gift. Yes, every day is a gift and not to be taken for granted. Life is precious here and now. Each morning when I wake I want to remember this. And each day that Daisy wakes, I want to remember this. As Daisy’s veterinarian has repeatedly suggested, “Enjoy her.”

Daisy is not my higher power. Each day that she wakes and we walk, I hold her leash in my left hand and then take the hand of my higher power in my right hand and move into my day. My higher power is larger than Daisy and I and the life we live together.

Walking an old dog promotes mindful walking. Practically speaking, Daisy’s slow moving style has helped me greatly to practice my mindful walking and to learn how to shed hurry and busyness and replace it with presence and peace.

Sugar cookie dough and vanilla ice cream really do help the medicine to go down. Why force a solution when I can notice and follow a sweeter, easier, and effective path that is there all along if I will get out of my own way full of fears and control and allow life to flow.

It is fun to sit together in the shade and feel the breeze on our faces.

It is fun to walk together in the dark with me noticing the stars and lightening bugs while Daisy enjoys some night sniffing.

Thank you, Daisy, and my recovery program for this abundance of lessons that just keep coming.