Dogs' optimism conveys 'paw'erful messsage


By Amanda Stickels, online executive editor
I couldn’t even imagine living with a disability, let alone living with a disability and not being able to talk about it. This is how my dogs Bacchus and Avalanche (Avi) have had to live their whole lives.
We first got Avi four years ago when he was eleven years old from Adopt a Husky. I remember first seeing him at the Pet Expo at the Arlington Racetrack and instantly falling in love with that adorable furry face.
That face, however, was missing an eye, and the other was blind.
At first, my mom worried that he would not be able to manage walking around in our usually cluttered house, but Avi proved her wrong as he gradually memorized the layout of our house.
However, he still would run into things, sometimes so hard that he would yelp. Despite this, he was such a happy dog. His kindness and gentleness was evident as he would lean into me as I pet him or let little kids in the neighborhood pet him.
Even though he had much to be angry about, he never took a second of life for granted. He enjoyed every step of every walk and every single piece of food. Avi showed his love through cuddling up or laying across my lap as I watched TV.
Unfortunately, he passed away two years ago because of old age. About half a year later, we adopted Bacchus when he was five years old. Oddly enough, Avi got around better than Bacchus.
Bacchus had Lyme Disease before we adopted him, which,avi according to the CDC can cause arthritis and severe pain in the joints, bones, tendons and muscles, and it can also have long-term effects of the same sort. This is evident when he constantly runs into walls and trips over his own feet on walks.
He, like Avi, maintains a happy attitude. Bacchus is probably the most persistent optimist I know. Whenever someone puts their hand in their pocket, he thinks they’ll pull out a treat for him.
Watching my dogs struggle is extremely hard to see. I would get extremely frustrated because there was nothing I could do. When I first got Avi, I would be near tears each time he tripped and fell over something. With Bacchus I’m used to it; I just pick him up and move on, but it still hurts the same.
Despite these setbacks, they both have been so optimistic and happy. Never have they been deterred from loving life by their disabilities. Avi’s tail was always wagging, and Bacchus is always the happiest boy after a meal.
They’ve made me realize how much I complain about petty things that don’t even matter. While I’m whining about how slow my phone is, it’s painful for Bacchus to lay down.
I’m extremely privileged in my life and always want more whereas all Bacchus and Avi need to be satisfied are food and love, and they don’t take it for granted.
They both have displayed that to be grateful and that life isn’t all about what thing I have, but being happy with what I do have and being ‘paw’sitive.