“There are three faithful friends – an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.” –Benjamin Franklin
Commitment—even when it entails sacrifice—seems to have gotten a bad reputation of late. In our society’s rush to pleasure and enjoyment, we often forget that true love must come with commitment, and this with self-sacrifice. Whether it is a marriage or caring for an elderly dog, there may be some suffering along with the joy.
Yesterday, I took our beloved little Anakin for his first post-chemo checkup. He appears to be in remission at this point, but there is some evidence of further age-related deterioration. At the age of nine, he is a senior dog, but not necessarily elderly. We have begun to see some weakness and loss of coordination, along with possible signs of dementia. Small things in the larger view of his health and abilities, considering that he is an overall very happy and loved dog.
For us, he is still that straggly little dog who showed up on our front doorstep at the age of one. He was scared and wet from the rain, but he seemed to know that he had found the right house. We took him in and helped him through most of his problems. He learned to bark and play, realizing that the abuse that he had experienced before he met us was finally over. He was our “Little Mister,” and we were his family.
Now, eight years later, we all have aged. Some may question why we went to the expense of chemotherapy for a dog, but we couldn’t imagine not giving him that chance for additional life. I was brought up to believe that taking care of pets is a commitment that you don’t simply discard when things get rough. Like marriage or any other worthwhile relationship, you stick with it, showing that person—or little dog—just what love really means.
Anakin is still our Little Mister. He may not be able to run like he did when he was a younger dog and may require some extra supervision, but we love him just the same. His abilities and health may change, but our love only grows stronger. And that’s the true result of commitment, a strong and abiding love borne out of sacrifice and pain.