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15 things I learned from my dog

When my dog Parker died, he left the world a better place than he found it

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

11 Saving an animal’s life is rewarding. Parker was minutes from death when he was adopted. From the moment Parker looked at me as if to thank me … well, I cannot explain the feeling in words. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

12 Too many animals like Parker die needlessly. Irresponsible breeding, poor ownership, breed discrimination … the list goes on for miles. I used to make fun of Bob Barker as a kid when he closed his TV show with “Please remember to spay and neuter your pets.” According to Orange County Animal Services, nearly half of the animals they take in are euthanized. Approximately 85 percent of the dogs euthanized there are pit bulls or pit bull mixes, and most are dead within two weeks of intake because the shelter is so full. The numbers of euthanized healthy animals nationally are staggering. Parker helped me understand the gravity of this problem.

13 Take a lot of pictures. My Dad used to quote the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” yet my family did not take an abundance of pictures. The ones we took were very nice and too few. Unfortunately, I have too few pictures of Parker and even fewer of Parker and me together.

14 Have no regrets. Parker lived for the moment, he loved unconditionally and he saw the world in a beautifully simple way. Parker made the most out of his short time with me. He taught me how to love unconditionally again. Seeing how happy this dog was to love others made me realize how truly powerful love can be and that I needed to love unconditionally again. As painful as Parker’s passing has been, I do not regret having spent my time with him.

15 God exists. Parker’s last lesson may be the most important lesson of all. I do not presume to understand God. Moreover, I feel no human can truly comprehend God. Admittedly, I have questioned God’s existence. But I believe that without God, there is no soul. I saw Parker’s soul in his eyes and in the love he gave to me and to others. Any being that beautiful has to have some sort of benevolent creator. Parker cemented my belief in God despite my own previous cynicism. I can only hope that my belief causes me to act more morally going forward.

Parker, wherever you are or wherever you have gone, please know that your spirit lives. Thank you for enriching my life.

Drew Paul is an Orlando resident, a business consultant and the CEO and co-owner of Nebula Integrated Systems, a software development and computer networking company. He loves animals, and he currently shares his life with his dog, Charlize, who was adopted from Orange County Animal Services.

Puppy Love
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