Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Never Underestimate the Power of Love

The puppy came to his door on a cold winter night, shivering, whimpering, and voicing a few timid barks. She knew she needed help, but was afraid she would get a boot in the side rather than a helping hand.

He turned on the porch light and saw her sitting there, a little puff of fur, big eyes. “I don’t want a puppy,” he said.

“Maybe she belongs to one of your neighbors and just got lost,” I said.

He turned the light off and tried to forget the puppy, but the look in those big eyes just wouldn’t go away. Back to the porch, light on, the puppy was gone. He breathed a sigh of relief.

Then a sound from the back deck let him know the puppy had merely moved to a different door. “What do I do?” he asked.

“At least give her food and water,” I suggested. “She’s too little to make it on her own.”

Once we went outside, the puppy shied away. She hid behind the barbeque grill. Finally, we coaxed her out, but she surprised us by ignoring the food and water we had put out for her. She didn’t seem to know how to eat or drink. The puppy was listless, and I had doubts that she could be saved, and if she was, would she always be timid and afraid of people?

The puppy finally took a little nourishment. He fixed a box with blankets to shelter her from the wind and weather.  The puppy settled down and went to sleep.

After calls to the neighbors, it became obvious that someone had dumped this puppy to die along the roadway. Although she was settled temporarily with some of the basics: food, water, shelter, the puppy would need a lot of patience, medical care, and most of all, love, in order to survive.

Humans, too, need this type of emotional support. When a family member has dementia, and you can no longer care for them at home, you may have to find another place for them to stay. You choose a home that will take good care of your loved one and will provide the basics and medical care they need.

Placing a loved one in long-term care doesn’t mean you walk away thinking now it is out of your hands. I believe the thing that disturbed me most when Jim was in a nursing home was the lack of visitors for some of the residents. It not only disturbed me, it disturbed the employees. They saw the loneliness, the listlessness, as day after day passed and no family member came with smiles and hugs. No one to say, “I love you.” No one to show their love by the simple act of being there, cheerful and caring.

Jim had daily visitors and family that loved him. Sometimes he didn’t really show much of a reaction—other times, his blue eyes would light up. Regardless, he knew someone would be there to spend time with him. To make him feel loved.

Love makes a life-changing difference with people—and with puppies. The puppy that had been abandoned has turned into a rambunctious, happy, healthy member of the family. Never underestimate the power of love.

copyright © by L.S. Fisher, July 2014
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