Dogs don't seem to believe in the impossible. Anything seems doable to a dog with determination.
I've seen a dog swim back and forth across a pond trying in vain to reach a duck. The duck was toying with the dog. When the dog got close to the duck, the duck would fly to the other end of the pond. The owner was annoyed and really late for work. The duck was having some fun and the dog was well over lap 125 into his efforts to catch the duck. The dog didn't even look close to giving up when I left.
I've be been impressed many times by how determined dogs can be. “Nothing but a hound dog crying all night.” That, too, is a dog's determination. We've heard people complain about a dog barking all night. The dog wants something. He is trying to communicate what that is. The result of his efforts is not unfolding so he keeps it up with a dog's determination. Woof, woof, woof...Woof, woof, woof...Woof, woof, woof...Woof, woof, woof...ad nauseam.
Dogs don't give up easily. I was taking care of a friend's cattle dog one year during hunting season. I'd thrown a neon orange neck warmer on the dog's neck because I did not have an extra dog vest. As the dog was running along with the other dogs the neck warmer began to ride up over her eyes. She didn't stop running even when it finally blocked her vision. She'd bump into a tree than pick herself up and keep trying to catch up with the other dogs. I caught up with her when I could and pushed the neck warmer back down so that she could see again.
The same dog once reached out the window of a moving car and grabbed a branch with her teeth. The window was all the way down and the dog flew out the window. When her owner looked back in the rearview mirror she saw her dog dangling on the branch, still holding on with her teeth.
I heard once of a Germain shorthaired pointer who got impaled by a stick while hunting but did not stop until the hunt was over. He had to be rushed into emergency surgery to pull the stick out.
Yup. Dogs have gusto. A real joie de vivre that is inspiring. There are some real lessons to be learned in watching a dog go after life with such verve.
Faith was such a dog. She inspired millions of solders, especially ones who had lost limbs. She was a chow lab mix who had been born with a missing front leg and the other front leg stunted and atrophied. She could not stand up as a new born puppy and everyone including a series of vets had recommended that she be put down immediately so that she did not suffer.
Her owners saw something in her, though, and would not put her down. They had the atrophied front leg removed and spent time sitting Faith up and encouraging her to hop on her back legs. A family corgi also helped encourage Faith to move. She learned to walk and hop on her hind legs. She became a mobile and happy dog. She went for walks and to dog parks.
Faith became famous. She visited lots of injured solders. She inspired many people to try, to carry on, to have a dog's determination for life. There's no teacher better than a dog to teach about determination and faith. The domain of a dog is to believe it can be done.
Faith died on September 22, 2014. She was 12 years old. This piece was written in her memory. Inspiration can come from many places. Faith is one such place.
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