Teddy is 13 years old, a yellow lab mix, and has been part of our lives since he was a puppy.
Now Teddy is growing old. He suffers from arthritis but medication is helping. He also goes through days where he is anxious and cannot settle. On those days he is, quite in spite of me, my greatest teacher! He paces and pants... and pushes furniture out of a path that only he can envision for hours. As I am the only one at home during the day, he paces around me, again and again, and again and again. At first I am compassionate and caring, but very soon I become less so and as my heart rate rises, and my stomach clenches, I start becoming... well, cranky!
Then I remember that, more so than even my children, he is also incredibly vulnerable and I am his main human. So he looks to me for help. Unfortunately, for me to offer him any healing energy or even calm, I need to learn patience and compassion in the face of incredibly annoying behavior! This is when he teaches me... he reminds me constantly that I have not reached a place where I can put aside my needs for quiet to recognize that, whether I can really help him or not, he needs me to be calm and compassionate. For although I might not be able to take away his anxiety, at least I'd better not be making it worse! That is my practice. Teddy is my teacher.