My Old Dog and I

My Old Dog and I

Did you rescue your dog, or did you get your dog from somewhere else?

We rescued our dog, Hana, from a farm in Hiroshima.

It was a “love-at-first-sight” kind of relationship.

At that time, we were working and staying in Japan. We were actually not sure how long we would stay in Japan, and rescuing a puppy was not a very practical thing to do.  But one look at Hana and we were sold – our decision to adopt her was based on our hearts, not our brains.

This is how dogs capture your heart.  They look at you with those round, soulful eyes.  They give you that “don’t you want me?” look.  They come at you with those wet kisses that no one can resist.

We rescued Hana in October 2002 and took her home to Toronto the summer of 2003.

Eighteen months later, because of my husband’s work, we returned to Japan with Hana in toll, staying for 11 years before returning to Canada in June 2017.  This time to Vancouver.

Two and a half months later, she left us to go to the Rainbow Bridge…

Life with My Dog

Life with Hana was so wonderfully, gloriously happy and fun.

We had a lot of good time traveling around Japan together.  She loved car rides, and was saintly good even in long trips.  Never complained.

On highways, she knew we were not there yet so she would go to sleep.  Once we turned off the highway and meandered onto narrower roads (if you have been to Japan, you’d know a lot of the side roads there are narrow and curvy!), she would wake up and start getting excited, as she thought we were getting close to our destination!

There were lots and lots of smudgy marks on the backseat window, where Hana pressed her nose against to try to see outside.  It was her way of saying, “are we there yet?”

But the most amazing thing that Hana did for me was how she helped me get through tough times.

While in Japan, I worked at home on the computer a lot, and there were times when my computer would freeze, or things didn’t look the way I wanted them to, so I would get royally upset.

My home office was on the second floor, and Hana’s bed the first floor. Every time I started cursing, she would run upstairs, put her head on my lap, wag her tail, and give me that pleading look, as if saying, “Calm down, mom!  Everything’s gonna be fine!”

I have to admit, I could never stay upset for long once I saw her face!  But still, she would lie down outside my room, keeping an eye on me, just in case.  Only when she was sure that I was finally sane again would she go back downstairs.

Now that she’s gone, whenever I get frustrated, upset, or feel like cursing, I would stop myself midway, thinking that Hana wouldn’t want me to be and feel like that.  So you see, she is still helping me even though she is no longer by my side.

Lessons I learned from My Old Dog

Having lived with my dog for 15 years, I have learned quite a few life lessons from her.  Here are some:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Stop and smell the flowers (Hana literally enjoyed doing that!)
  • Love unconditionally
  • Be truthful and loyal to your loved ones
  • Be spontaneous
  • Enjoy today to the fullest
  • Show that you care
  • Be playful, no matter how old you are
  • Never give up without trying
  • Stay strong in adversity
  • It’s OK to look silly, who cares so long as you are happy and having fun!

Your turn! What have YOU learned from your dog? Leave your comments below.