3 Lessons Of A Lifetime – From Our Pets To Us
Some folks say that the moments we tend to find the most memorable are the small moments that happen without pomp and ceremony. I recall a moment when everyone gathered on our street, both kids and adults to watch an elderly man create these big balloons from water and soap. I watched everyone stop. Everyone looked mesmerized as the kids danced around and the adults watched in the sunlight. It was as if everything was in the moment in slow motion. I walked past this scene and felt better. I still replay that scene in my head to this day and I smile. This beautiful ‘thing’ with the balloons, the elderly man and the crowd happened over a year ago and I still remember very clearly.
One of my very favourite beings in this world is my pride and joy and furry feline, Mr. Mooshie. He has never given up even once! Sure he gets frustrated at times, but then he goes with the flow and regroups to continue his day. He doesn’t vacuum or clean. He doesn’t earn any income but he has given me a lifetime of lessons and I want to share 3 of them with you. I will call them Lessons I’ve learned from Mooshie.
Lesson #1: The Power of Communication
Mooshie is a teacher. He has been teaching me since I adopted him from the Humane Society back in 1999. He looked at me right in the eyes and I was smitten. Within the first months of us living together, Mooshie displayed symptoms of a urinary tract infection. We treated him with veterinary care and he ended up actually having a struvite crystal blockage.
I didn’t know what to do. The vet gave me a couple of options and these were:
1. Mooshie could go through invasive surgery (thousands of dollars) that may not fix his situation.
2. Opt for euthanization as he would not have a good quality of life.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want him to feel pain. I remember Mooshie being on so much medication for his pain. I remember the look in his eyes and I remember being torn in making this decision.
I also remember asking him what he wanted me to do. I simply asked him by saying “Mooshie, what do you want me to do?”. After I posed this question he answered me. He saw the zipper on my jacket and started playing with it. That was the answer! Remember, this little guy was sedated and unwell at the veterinary hospital and guess what? He was in the moment and he still wanted to play. He communicated to me that there was a lot of living to do and this was not the time to worry. I just had to ask him what he wanted and the answer was there. He was telling me to not give up. That was 15 years ago.
Lesson #2: The importance of being in the now
Being in the now and being present is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from Mooshie. When I feel that things are chaotic and life gets to be too much, I look at him and watch what he does in the NOW. He’s not worrying about what may or may not happen tomorrow. Whether he is looking out the window or laying on his back upside down in a meditative state, he makes me laugh at how comfortable he is in his own skin. Sometimes we stretch together. He stretches and I get down on the floor and take a moment to cuddle him and tell him how handsome he is. Then I forget about what my worries were.
Lesson #3: How to adapt in life
Mooshie is now in the phase of his senior years. At the age of 18, he has lost his hearing so he isn’t as comfortable when he is out on the balcony or outside of the apartment anymore. He is not as confident or certain and we together have adapted to his hearing loss, a sense (hearing) which he used to depend so much on. Intuitively we’ve come up with a solution. I use hand signals with Mooshie. I signal him that it is safe to follow us down the hall to take out the garbage. I motion for him to stop if there is another animal in the hall and he trusts me.
He has to be fed on an interval timer since we are not able to feed him when we need to leave the apartment for a short time. He can’t hear the timed feeder anymore so he sleeps next to his timer with his paw touching it. We put a little bed beside the timer. Now he knows that when it does go off, he can eat. He’s accepted things. He’s adapted. He’s come up with some pretty cool solutions that only a cat can come up with or maybe all of us just need to come up with our own cool adaptive ways of living in the NOW.
For teaching me these 3 important life lessons I will continue to honour him. I will cuddle him and scratch his ears in the way he likes them scratched. Our communication with our eyes, his and mine will continue to be extraordinary. When I’m working too much, he will knock over my papers or walk on my keyboard. As I recall the many times he’s done this, I am laughing…especially as I type this. He used to get much more active in doing this when he was younger and being on older cat now, he is even better at being in the moment. When life gets too hectic I can rest assured that the remote will be knocked off the coffee table by my cat to get my attention, and I will stop to pet my dear Mooshie and forget what I was so worried about in the first place.
When life gets in the way….I invite you to take a moment and look at your pet. He/she will communicate many things to you that can bring you back to right here, right now. And then all of a sudden, what was troubling you in the first place seems not so large. Try it and see! 🙂