Frosty Lessons
© Betty Sue Eaton
It is my belief that pets can and do teach us every day how to live if only we pay attention and
learn the lessons they are showing us! We have lost several dogs to extreme illness and
remember each one as the special friend they were, and I truly believe they taught me as
much about surviving as anyone or anything I have known.

Three years ago, we had to have our beloved 13-year old miniature poodle, Di, put down
because of a massive toxic infection. She had refused food for a week and had even attacked
our toy poodle, Frosty, a younger and more gregarious little guy. Di was in awful pain and
each time she looked at us, we could see it in her eyes as though she were pleading for us to
let her go.

Afterward, Frosty prowled the house searching for his older housemate high and low. He
missed her terribly even though she resented him coming into our home from the start. She
made his life miserable by her behavior. When he was finally trained to use the doggy door in
our bedroom, Di would lie in the hall to prevent his passage to it. When we let him out the
living room door and he tried to reenter through the doggy door, she would lie in front of it in
our bedroom and snarl at him as his nose poked through the flap. Finally, he just gave up
attempts to use the door at all.

Finally after months of looking for her, he accepted her absence and devoted all his love to us
and we returned it equally. He never again tried to use the doggy door nor jump on our bed at
night where she used to sleep. He did, however, take his naps during the day on a throw we
had in front of the fireplace for Di, and since I didn't launder it for weeks after we lost Di, Frosty
was comforted by her scent on it. He just lay on it looking dolefully out at us as we looked
dolefully back at him.

Now he is 10 and is blind, has a severely enlarged heart, fluid on his lungs, and last summer,
developed epilepsy, and for all of those afflictions he takes several medications. I administer
them in small pieces of cheese after asking, "Frosty, want a piece of cheese?" He always runs
to take his medicine!

What does all this have to do with recovering from our own grief? Everything. Frosty takes his
medicine willingly trying to cope with his illness. He plays and romps like a carefree puppy
when he feels up to it. He sleeps when he should, eats when he wants to, takes care of his
own hygiene and toilet needs, and always gives us unbounded love, joy, and loyalty.

When we are faced with the finality of losing someone in death, we should follow Frosty's
example: Take the promises of God to heart as His words are the medicines we need to
recover from the shock. They do not deny that we have suffered a great loss but they do help
us to deal positively with it.

Like Frosty, we can enjoy life when we can, despite being in deep mourning. Laughter allows
us to release pent up emotions and relieve tensions. Even when laughing so hard that we end
up shedding tears, it is a great rejuvenator of the spirit. No one will deny that sleeping takes
much less energy than keeping up with daily life, but like Frosty, we should use our time to
more constructive use than languishing in bed long after our quota of sleep and rest have
been satisfied. After eight hours of sleep, Frosty will vocally remind us that it is time for him to
come out of his little cage for his food and play, and his place in front of our chairs when we
sit. Likewise, we should try our best to continue with our daily routines and find our place
before Jesus' feet continually.

Perhaps not the least of Frosty's messages to us is the fact that losing Di did not diminish his
love for us, nor her, by one iota!  Neither should we lose one iota of love or memory for our
deceased dear one, but especially not those loved ones who remain with us to help encourage
us to continue to live a full life every day.

That is what God would want us to do.


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