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Pets and People - The Bond Beyond - Pets...a SelectSmart.com Flowchart
Pets. Pets and People - The Bond Beyond
By ARMills
Viewed 787 times since July 2013.


This SelectSmart.com Pets. flowchart, a free online decision tool is a creation of ARMills and for amusement purposes only. The implicit and explicit opinions expressed here are the author's. SelectSmart.com does not necessarily agree.


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The Passing of the Torch.

Amos Moses crawled out of the safety and security of the den where he was born. He was predestined to be a vagabond, bound by unconditional love and devotion to one individual, but with the ability to win the hearts of all who would come to know him. Amos made his way to the wide mouth of his den. He closely resembled a tarantula in his manner of gait as his fat little belly wobbled from side to side, his tiny legs not yet strong enough to raise the bulk of his body completely off the ground. His recently opened eyes were not yet seeing clearly and his still sealed ears heard nothing as he made his first journey into the light. He was the first of three to come out of the den that day. My friend's German Shepherd, Annie, was the proud mama and daddy was an Australian Shepherd from the neighboring ranch. She and I took the pups to the vet. As we left the Vets office with a clean bill of health, I stuffed the reddish yellow ball of fluff into my jacket. I kept him within touching distance of me from that point on. I marveled at my little companion and wondered where our journey would take us.

My work required me to do extensive traveling, and for a decade, Amos was my constant companion. He was no longer a five pound ball of dirty fur, but ninety pounds of reddish gold fur with a white chest and four high white stockings. He was a handsome and majestic dog. We traveled all over the United States and Canada. We experienced life at many levels. He was my protector, my friend, and my confidant. I never knew I could be so totally attached to a dog. He could read my mind and knew when I was sick or sad. I had no doubt that he would give his life to defend me. We had melded into one entity.

Life teaches us some hard lessons. It taught me that a life can be changed in the blink of an eye... literally. I lost the vision in my right eye over an eighteen day period. I was told that it was permanent, progressive, irreparable, and that the other eye was affected also. Bottom line, I was going to be totally blind... soon. Shock, fear, confusion, loss, anger, and denial hit me with the force of an avalanche. I drove commercially and by CDL regulations, a driver cannot operate a commercial vehicle if she is blind in one eye. My job was over. The next five months were spent learning Braille, cane mobility and how to do things with little or no vision.

Amos knew something was not right. He would lean up against my legs and try to push me to help me avoid a hole or an obstacle. He seemed to sit closer to me, snuggle closer as we slept, and he seldom took his eyes off me. He had sensed that something was wrong and had taken it upon himself to take care of me. He did it well.

I had applied for a Guide Dog. I traveled to California and was paired up with Mr. Tibbs. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to bond with him because I felt like I was betraying Amos. As our training progressed, however, I learned to trust this new partner... I remember the day and minute it happened. We were crossing several lanes of traffic in Los Angeles, at rush hour. A car didn't stop and Mr.Tibbs physically pulled me backwards out of the line of travel of the car. O.K., no problem... trust established. The first twenty-eight days of training we were required to be attached to our dogs by a six foot leash, except when we were in the shower. I discovered it is impossible not to bond to something warm and fuzzy that is physically tethered to you for a month!

After graduating with flying colors, Mr. Tibbs and I flew 3,000 miles home. It had been the only time I had been apart from Amos and it had been for an eternity of thirty-two days. I knew he must feel as though I had deserted him. My biggest fear however, was how to introduce Amos and Mr. Tibbs without Amos feeling replaced in my life.

They met. Amos welcomed him and all seemed well. Then, when I had to leave Amos at home and take Mr. Tibbs when I went out, I noticed a sadness creep into his eyes... as if to say that he felt discarded. I spent extra time with him and gave him special privileges befitting his rank and seniority, but to no avail. He always was happy to see Mr. Tibbs and would share his food or toys with him. The problem was with me. He didn't know why I wasn't depending on him anymore. Amos was eleven. Arthritis was seeping into his bones. He took a little longer to get up. My pal was aging well, but still the inevitable signs of age were making themselves visible, and I didn't like it.

On a warm fall day, a year after Mr. Tibbs had joined us, I took them into the yard to enjoy the warm sun. Amos was off leash. Once the sad look had come into his eyes, it had never left. I knew he felt replaced but I didn't know how to tell him he would always be first in my heart. The look said, "I don't know what I did wrong, but if you want to leave me at home. I will wait for you and love you anyway." As I walked across the yard, I twisted my ankle and fell like a ton of bricks. Amos was on the far side of the yard. Mr. Tibbs had his harness on and was at my side. As soon as I went down and hollered in pain, Mr. Tibbs was all over me, trying to see if I was o.k. and licking my face to encourage me to get up. When the initial pain subsided and I realized nothing was broken, I tried to stand. Mr. Tibbs sidled over to me and practically shoved his harness under my hand. There is no doubt it was an intentional move on his part. I held onto the harness that fastened around his chest and body. He took a wider stance with his feet, stiffened up all 80 lbs of muscle and became a solid object I could use to pull myself up.

Amos had started toward me from across the yard when he heard me holler. Because of his arthritis, he had been slower and did not make it to me before Mr. Tibbs had begun to take charge of things. Amos stopped and watched without approaching, which I found rather odd. Once I was on my feet and standing without support from Mr. Tibbs, he approached. He didn't come and love all over me, which was what I expected, but came and loved all over Mr. Tibbs. He licked at his mouth, which is an "acceptance into the pack," behavior. He was wagging and wiggling all around where Mr. Tibbs and I were standing.

Later that evening, I noticed that Mr. Tibbs and Amos were both asleep together at the side of my chair. Amos had given up his traditional place and joined Mr. Tibbs and I. After I let them out for the last time that evening, Amos looked up at me and I noticed, (with what little sight I had left in my left eye,) that for the first time since Mr. Tibbs had joined us, the light was back. The sadness was no longer there. Somehow in his doggy way, Amos had accepted his retirement from certain areas of my life with the confidence that he wasn't less in my eyes, that he could lay down his sword, and that Mr. Tibbs was worthy of being my guardian. He seemed relaxed. He had given Mr. Tibbs his approval. Once he saw that Mr.Tibbs was able and willing to take care of me, as he himself had done for over a decade, it all came together for him. The torch was silently passed to the upstart that had disrupted his life.

Amos still watches me as I move around the room. He keeps an eye on the young whippersnapper that has now proven himself. Love is indefinable. Life is good. Yes, we are all at peace... and the torch has finally been passed.

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