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Stuart Peck is a freelance writer and video producer who specializes in outdoor, travel, corporate and commercial messaging and branding.  He has written for national magazines, video copy for healthcare and other corporate videos.  He also provides production support for commercials and TV shows.  

Life Lessons from a Beagle

You never really appreciate what you have in life until it's almost taken away from you.  I've learned that lesson on several occasions over the past few months.  The most recent this past weekend when my 15 year old beagle had a seizure.  In the hours following her episode I did a lot of thinking and realized there were several life lessons to be learned from my beloved beagle.

Lesson #1: Don't take anything for granted.
Life is too short.  Enjoy the time you have with the ones you love.  There will come a time when they will not be there to call on for comfort and support.  If you have the opportunity to do something fun and exciting or maybe just take a nice walk around the block, do it!  You never want to say "I wish I had..." but instead "I'm glad I did."

Lesson #2: Embrace life.
Every morning at five minutes til six my beagle would declare it was time to wake up.  With a nice, long howl she would tell me she wanted breakfast... even if I was not interested in the same thing.  Sometimes I put the pillow over my head and turned over.  On other occasions I turned up my radio and tried to ignore her persistent demands. On Monday morning, I wasn't sure if that familiar wake up call would come.  When the sun came up and six a.m. rolled around there it was, the howl that for so long I had tried to ignore!  It was a little weak, as anyone would be after suffering such a traumatic event, but it was there none the less!  Instead of ignoring her demands I couldn't get to her aid quick enough.  She may have been weak and hurting but she was ready to face the day! 

"Bring it on world," my beagle howled.  "I'm ready for whatever you've got!" 

A little dazed she raced down the hall ready for a full bowl of breakfast.  On this Monday, one bowl wasn't enough... she wanted two.  She climbed up and down the stairs outside, ready to embrace life.

Lesson #3: Take it one day at a time.
As I worry about at the future holds for my little beagle, this piece of advice comes from my girlfriend. 

"She's old, some days will be good and others will be bad.  Take it one day at a time."

In life sometimes we need to slow down and not worry about what's going to happen next week, next month or even next year.  Take it one day at a time and some will be good and others not so good.

Lesson #4: Never under estimate the power of a nap!
On the night of my beagle's episode, she looked dazed, confused and scared.  Walking in circles, I thought her end was near.  However, putting her in a nice quiet place with the lights out and the sun down... she took a nap.  12 hours later, she awoke a much fresher beagle.  No matter how big the challenge or how bad the problem... never under estimate the power of a nap.