A few weeks ago, the staff of my Asheville vet clinic, Billie and Linda, brought their little furry canine friends to work. As I watched Rose, Julep, and my dog Gracie romp around the clinic, I was struck once again by the individual nature of these little beings we are blessed to live our lives with. Each one of them has her own personality, her own way of interacting with the world around her, and her own very special language.
- Dr. Laurel’s 13-year-old Lhasa Apso, Gracie, supervising the play in the office
First, there is my 13-year-old Lhasa Apso, Gracie. She is a regular fixture at our Asheville vet clinic, so many of you have probably already met her. Gracie came to me nine years ago as a rescue from a puppy mill, burdened with hip dysplasia, arthritis, and dental problems. Despite all this, there has always been an easy-going spunkiness to her, a love and appreciation for life that shines out of her. I like to call it her Jiminy Cricket personality, and that shows through best when the weather is cool. Now in her later years, she is a lounger by trade and spends a great deal of time napping under the reception desk or in the pharmacy, but on a crisp, cool morning, there is a pep to her step that none can match. Gracie reminds me to slow down, take it easy… I imagine she gets a good laugh out of watching us bustle around the clinic on particularly busy days.
- Gracie taking a nap in the clinic lobby
- Rosebud helping Linda with her office work.
This little ball of fluff is Rosebud, adorable companion to Linda, our rockstar receptionist at our Asheville vet clinic. Rose truly is a big dog in a tiny body. She loves long walks around town and lots of exercise, and she prances around, plumed tail high; clearly, she is in charge! Her language is toys, and when she visits the clinic, her first stop and primary focus is the exam room toy box. My favorite thing about Rose is her connection with Linda. She wants to be near her always, sharing everything, even space.
- Billie and Julep
At last there is Julep, my office manager, Billie’s, ten-month-old terrier mix puppy. As you can imagine, she is full of energy and approaches life with a load of enthusiasm. She adores people. If Rose’s language is play, then Julep’s is affection. I’m not sure Julep has ever met a stranger or a person she didn’t love. She is small, weighing in at only five pounds, so the world is very big to her. However, this doesn’t keep her away from adventures! She is a brave and gentle little soul, and we can all learn from her sweetness.
- Rose and Julep diving into Dr. Laurel’s exam room toy box
As I write about these pups of varying ages, constitutions, and personalities, I am reminded of a piece of a poem by Audre Lorde that reads, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” To these dogs — these wise beings — all that matters is the moment and their shared experiences. Age, color, politics, status – none of that matters. They embrace each other with acceptance.
I am constantly amazed by the things I learn from animals and the way watching them inspires me to take a closer look at my own life. Today, I hope that you also find an opportunity to be inspired by your fluffy companions.
PS: Here are some more pictures of the Sunvet Pups at our Asheville, NC Clinic. Hope you enjoy!
- Julep and Gracie
- Julep and Rosebud plotting their next adventure
- Julep taking a break from playing with Rosebud for a quick photo op!