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Lessons Learned from Butterscotch

Butterscotch grew up with our girls and when we lost him, we lost a family member. You can learn more from the family pet than you ever realized when you take the time to reflect on his life.

1. You are going to mess up, but the people you love will forgive you and might even laugh about it later.

That dog chewed up everything including at least 8 water hoses and the heaters we put in his pen to keep him warm in winter! He was always chewing something up that he shouldn’t have and digging holes that you could get lost in. Once, when we had the screen porch rescreened, he jumped on it and ripped it before the ink on the check to pay for it dried! Thank goodness the preacher had stopped by or the girls would have learned some new words from Derron that day! Then he grew up and some days he was the only one glad to see me come home. He was always lying in the back yard waiting to race my car up the driveway. He became a constant source of love and acceptance for our family that flowed both ways.

2. Having pets does not necessarily teach consistent responsibility, but it does teach you that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to for something you love. Turns out that all those promises of feeding him every day and cleaning out the pen weekly and making sure he gets trained and exercised daily are a lie. I love my children, and I’m proud of their accomplishments and hard work, but if they knew we would cover for them, they let us. So, it turned out that Derron and I had some new consistent responsibility when Butterscotch came along and they had a new playmate! However, when we were exhausted, it was fun to make them clean out the pen or bathe him just for the entertainment and the commentary.

3. You can be knocked down early on and still live a long happy life, especially if you have a friend wiling to carry you somewhere comfortable and make sure you are ok.

Yep, Butterscotch was hit by a car when he was younger. He was a pretty big dog and he healed fine. We still laugh about seeing Lyn Dawsyn carry him up the hill that day since he weighed more than she did practically. She was bawling and he was just taking a ride up the hill. I have no idea how she carried him, but 10 years later, he was still wagging that tail every morning!

4. Routine can be important as we get older.

Once Butterscotch got older, he wore a path in the yard coming in and out of his pen. He took the exact same path, every single day. Routines are important. They help us remember things and give us something to control when everything else seems pretty uncontrollable.

5. When you’re tired, you should rest.

It’s true. This one we have a hard time with but dogs do not. They run when they want to run and they rest when they get tired. Everyone deserves a little rest, take it when you need it. Everything will be there when you get back, trust me.

6. You shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t want to, but you can usually be enticed with your favorite snack!

Derron could teach Butterscotch all kinds of tricks if he had enough treats in his pockets. We all have to do things we don’t want to at times, but they are necessary for our success or the stability of our family. Do them, and then reward yourself. When you finish a big project, there is nothing wrong with splurging on your favorite meal, a nap, or just a trip to the lake.

7. Make sure those you love know it.

Butterscotch was big and sometimes he scratched or knocked us down, but we had no doubt that he loved us and was glad to see us come up the driveway every single time.

If we could all love like Butterscotch and ask for as little in return, oh what a wonderful place the world would be. He was always happy to see us coming and stopped for his love as soon as he came out of his pen in the mornings. That was it. Figure out what your most important things are and work on those.


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