As of this moment, I am convinced that Chloe-the-dog has a memory span of a dory fish. OK perhaps ‘convinced’ is not the right word to use. More of an interpretation, a hypothesis , a notion that no matter how much throe gets dished out, no matter how much angst she acquires from us, dog-diva seem to not hold any ill-will or malevolence. She just shakes it off and simply forgets it. She keeps running back to us and loving us despite the discomfort we sometimes have to subject her to. For example, diva-dog HATES her monthly flea treatment. I am not sure if it is the smell, or maybe it hurts, or perhaps ‘Revolution’ gives slobber face a bad fur-day. What ever the reason, Chloe HATES it. Hates. It. So come that time of the month the moment she gets a whiff of what will soon transpire, Chloe-Revolution Treatment-Hater, hightails out of dodge. She vanishes. Skedaddles into the mountains. So, the human villain aka me, gets to make her monthly pilgrimage through the valley of the shadows to find fuzz-ball hiding and panting away on the same spot, nicely lodged between the wall mounted heating rack and the bedroom ottoman. In 3 expeditious ‘Bruce Lee’ steps involving tugging, arresting and obstructing, the treatment juice goes on and doggie goes off. Quicker than you can say Jack Robinson. And this sensational drama unfolds same time, same place, every 4th of the month. And there can be no doubt that my dog hates it. And there can also be no doubt that she looks at me dubiously soon after the shenanigan. But what ever tenebrous feelings she would have of me, all are soon forgiven and forgotten because 20 minutes later (or less), she finds me and implores me to give her a scratch. And boy, do I give her the mother of all scratch. That is her way of communicating ‘I hate your guts but it’s OK. All is forgiven’. As I further excogitate on the whole ‘dory fish’ and doggie’s memory, I recognize that diva-dog does not actually forget. She would actually have to remember in order to expect the administration of the blood-sucker treatment. But this would mean that despite the incommodious episodes, she remembers and yet, always forgives.
Yesterday, I attended a memorial service at my children’s high school. Five years ago, on April 15th, 2008 a group of students and a teacher attended an outdoor pursuit school camp and while crossing a very very swollen river, a flash flood overtook them and all seven drowned. The teacher was found still strapped to another student who had a disability and could not cross on his own. Two other students were found still holding each others hands because one was too afraid to cross on his own. My eldest daughter just turned 16 recently, the age of the students when their parents lost them. Sitting in a packed auditorium, I could not help but enumerate the sheer pain and exasperation each parent must have felt when they received the devastating news on that day. As a mother, I am unable to envisage how they must have felt. Nobody can. But I can attest to the fact that for each of the parent left behind, each of the sibling left behind, and each of the relative left behind none of them have once spoken out in bitterness. Not once have any of them expressed rancor to those accountable. They have cried, wept, mourned, sobbed in public and in private but not once have they brandished anger. Instead, each have picked themselves up and as one of the dad who lost his son said yesterday,”When we lost our eldest son we tried to hang on to everything about him, his surfboards, his theology books, his guitar. But the very worst things can get turned around to be the very best things. The very smallest thing that you might do can be turned around to be part of the most important things on the planet”. What Strength. What Hope. What Forgiveness. It is foolhardy for me to compare the application of insect treatment on Chloe-the-dog to the enormity of what ensued on April 15th but perhaps there still can be a lesson for all of us to take away. That essentially, the tenet, the principle and the maxim so palpable hitherto is that without forgiveness, life can quite easily cease to subsist. Simply, that if my pet chooses to bite the hands that feeds and cares for her, she would have to be put down. Prodigiously, if those people who suffered that tremendous loss just gave up and laid blame, at the end, bitterness and spite would claim their soul. Gordon B. Hinckley wrote,
“The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either — or both — when needed?”
Chloe, you are beautiful…
Dedicated to the 7 in Heaven; , Tony McClean, Natasha Bray, Floyd Fernandes, Tara Gregory, Tom Hsu, Anthony Mulder, Portia McPhail..Jumping In Puddles