Featured Journal

LIFE ACCORDING TO HENRY

Written by Scott Rager

Sometimes a pet owner faces the difficult decision to relieve the suffering of their four legged friend. The decision is never easy and I think it always leaves the human wondering if they did enough.

This morning, that decision was made in regards to our family dog, Henry. 

Henry and I have a rocky past.

My Mom adopted him from the Hastings Animal Shelter several years ago. He seemed all wrong at first. He was an owner surrender nearing the end of his shelter options and he was old, big and stubborn…

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At the time, Henry was a yellow lab pushing ten years of age. He had a history although no one quite knew the extent of his background story. I first met Henry when I was visiting my parents several years ago. My first morning at home, I reached down to give that hairy lug a kiss on his forehead and he bit me in the face. After several applications of gauze, ice packs and antibiotics I learned that he had a rather possessive quality when he was attending to a chewy or a bone.

A catchphrase was born that day: “Bone time is alone time.”

Even though Henry and I started off on the wrong foot, I have to say I have learned a lot from him. During my time back home in Nebraska, he has taught me a great deal.

This is “Life According To Henry”:

1. “Accept Ownership” – For Henry, it is a bone. Literally. For me, I want to have that focus and commitment to those things in my life that matter. HENRY LIFE LESSON #1: Protect what you are lucky enough to have with every fiber of your being. Everything in your life is significant.

2. “Celebrate Your Belly” – Henry had a rather “full” figure. When Mom rescued him, he was thin from years of neglect and through her feeding regiment he grew to take on the physique of a canine sumo wrestler. How could you NOT give this face a piece of bacon?

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As a result, Henry adopted a seated position that resembles that of Buddha. He was never ashamed, nor did he coward in self-loathing. He accepted himself and that is evident in the pose he would strike when he was intently waiting for a morsel of food from the dining table. HENRY LIFE LESSON #2: No matter how you look, don’t be afraid of wearing your swimsuit in public; Henry wouldn’t give it a second thought.

3. “Walk – Don’t Run” – Henry once received a lot of exercise. Mom walked him around the North Park at least three times a day. They were staples in the dog/park community of Holdrege. Until recently, Henry was clocking in over three miles on any given day. HENRY LIFE LESSON #3: Even though your bones are getting old, keep moving!

4. “Be Honest” – When Henry crossed paths with a female dog he would take a liking to (Amy the Schnauzer, in particular), he would roll over on his back and show off his “bits and pieces”. Good or bad, he would put it out there. If we could all be that frank the world would be a better place. HENRY LIFE LESSON #4: Show people your true colors and if they don’t approve, move on. Life is too short. Allow yourself to be vulnerable because at the end of the day, your true support system will surface.

Thanks Henry.

You are wise beyond your years.

Enjoy your rest “Pin Head”.

 Read more from Scott on Her View From Home and on his blog County Seat Living.  

 

About the author

Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called “County Seat Living”. His personal goal for “County Seat” is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he’s writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.

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