Jules teaches me a lot about life: facing challenges (he is blind), ageing with grace (when I adopted him they said he was 10 years old, but that was just a guess), dealing with rejection (the Chihuahua-Mix club at my house tolerates him icily; he doesn’t get to be in their mutual face-washing parties, but they wouldn’t be so unkind as to ever growl at him, either).

three amigos spring 12

Jules sits outside, soaking in the sun’s rays, closing his eyes, feeling the breeze ruffle his silly poodle hair. He stretches out, with his feet straight back behind him, and enjoys a quick nap. He gets up and runs around the yard, now that he has mapped out where the trees and fence are, and he runs with his floppy ears flapping, barking for the fun of it. Just one little peppy sprint, and that’s enough for him.

He barks assertively–and surprisingly loudly– when he finds himself alone: “What the heck? Where’s the party? Hellooooo?” And we have to go upstairs or downstairs to get him, and bring him to where we are. Then he settles in for a nice rest, as long as he can hear our voices near, and get a nice gentle neck massage.

He walks along confidently at the end of a leash, trusting life, even though he can’t see what’s ahead.

Whatever he does, he is in the moment, enjoying himself, giving love to whoever is open to receive it.

I think he is my role model.

People make a mistake when they overlook the senior dogs as potential adoptees. An old dog demands so little, is content just to be alive and be near his or her people. If we all required so little from life, we’d all be as happy every day as Jules is.

Joy Davy is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Hinsdale, Illinois. Jules is now her co-therapist.