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What I Learned About Connection Sitting in the Vet’s Office

This past Tuesday I went to the vet to pick up my new puppy Barry after he had surgery and while sitting in the waiting room I watched a scene unfold that broke my heart and lead to this week’s Mondays with Mooney.

I watched a man resting his head on the crown of his dog’s head. Quietly he sat there as the dog stood stoically. A moment between a man and his dog that spoke more than any words could. I had the sinking feeling that this man was about to make one of the hardest decisions in his life, to end the life of his best friend. The vet came out to the waiting room, the man raised his head with tears streaming down his face and the vet told the him that they are getting a room ready and that he could take his time.  I sat across from this man with my own tears streaming down my face knowing what he was feeling and seeing it from the outside brought it’s own sadness and beauty. The man looked at me and I at him and we knew, we understood each other’s pain and without a word being spoken.

I thought to myself after this witnessing this, why do people who have dogs do this to ourselves? Why do we bring love into our lives knowing that we will lose it within our life time? And why do we do this to ourselves again and again? It was then that Barry came stumbling out with a cone around his neck so large that he could barely walk and still high from some of the medication that he was barely walking straight that made me realize why we do it. When Barry came out into the waiting room filled with people, he searched for me. He was looking for his person to make sense of what had happened and knew that I would make it alright. When he saw me, his tail wagged and he cried with excitement.  It was then that I realized it came down to connection.

The man and his dog said nothing to each other yet communicated everything. The dog letting the man know that it was ok and that it was time and the man letting the dog know that he was sorry for the decision that he had to make but it was for the best interest of the dog. It was this connection that made this painful moment so sad yet so beautiful. The man and I had a connection without exchanging words, just a look bonded us together knowing that we understood one another.

Why is connection so important? It makes sense of the unexplainable. It makes a life that is sometimes difficult, easier to accept. It makes big things seem small and small things seem big. Connection is what carries us through this life and into the next. Connection is what makes everything worthwhile. Connection feeds our soul and makes us feel special. It makes us feel not alone. Connection is a bond that states without words “I understand” and I do not pass judgment. Connection is what makes us human.

Strangely enough I learned the biggest lessons about connection from animals. As a dog lover and really an animal lover, I have learned many things about life by just observing them and being blessed to have a connection with them. It is these life lessons that help me be better connected with myself and others.

  1. Live every day because today is the only day that matters

  2. Love with your whole heart and unconditionally

  3. Don’t hold grudges

  4. Be happy

  5. Sometimes just sitting in the grass and enjoying the day is time well spent

  6. Never be afraid to show your emotions

  7. Death is a part of life and if you lived a good life, there are not regrets

  8. Greet everyone with a wagging tail (smile)

  9. Steal a snack (either literal snack or opportunity) when you can, you never know when the next opportunity may come

  10. Just be who you are and don’t try to be something or someone else

Dogs live lives unapologetically. They live for the here and now and they live for connection. They live to connect with other dogs and people. The connection between a dog and their person in unbreakable. There is a language that is not spoken but felt and understood. And if you are lucky enough in this world, you will have the same connection with people in your life. I promise you, if you live your life by the 10 simple rules a dog lives theirs, connection with those around you will be inevitable.

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