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When crazy is sane (or a dog’s life)

Lobo the wonder dog, photo courtesy of David Fox

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the craziest things we do turn out to be the most sane?

Acquiring an animal can be like that. I don’t think I’ve had a clean-floor day since my springer spaniel twins came bounding into my life four years ago.

But for my sister, inviting a dog into her life was even crazier.

In her last year of ovarian cancer, my sister’s life was rough. It took incredible energy, time, and resolve for her to schedule medical appointments, get the right drugs, go to doctors, undergo treatments, and try to manage the pain—with her husband carrying his part of the burden while trying to keep the stuff of ordinary life going.

When I heard that they had decided to adopt a rescue dog from Mexico, I thought, “How can you possibly?” (Even though the dog came highly recommended.)

Thankfully, what I said was, “How great!” Good call, because that seemingly absurd decision proved to be inspired, and the dog, Lobo, became a source of joy that helped keep my sister going until the end.

Proof: Sometimes our craziest decisions can be the most sane. Especially when they bring love into our lives.

An Ode to Dogs

My sister once gifted me with Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs.

My sister once gifted me with Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs. The poems within were simple, perhaps not her most eloquent, but charming, written as if they were spoken by her pooches.

For my sister’s memorial, I decided to write my own dog song, similarly unpolished, as a tribute to Lobo and the critters who keep us going.


The dog runs across the yard
chasing a squirrel,
a bird,
or maybe a ray of light.

It’s so much fun, mom,
to run around in circles.
It’s life that is happening.

And, isn’t it great, mom,
pant, pant
slurp slurp,
kiss, kiss,
maybe I can roll in that fish?

Would that we, too,
could waggle our tails
or at least stop to notice what’s right before us
in this big beautiful world
of bones and becoming.

So, high maintenance or not, I salute the Lobos of our world, the mutts, the rescues, and the purebreds that steal our hearts.

Nothing that brings us that much love could ever be called absurd.


2 Responses

  1. We did the same when my daughter was dying. She grew up with a dog and missed one so much. The Golden Retriever we adopted from a purebred rescue organization (about which I can’t say enough good things) was older and lovely. Amy adored her, and the dog stayed right by her. And afterwards, Dixie was a huge comfort to me. I grew up with a dog too – my dad brought her home when I had chicken pox – a gift my mother called “crazy”. It turned out to be very, very sane – even to my mother.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this Michal. Such perfect examples. It sounds like Dixie was a wonderful dog — I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a daughter (sister was hard enough) – but Dixie obviously did and stood by you!

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