May the Spirit Never Die

Six life lessons from Willow the dog

Written by Amanda Roberge, Executive Board Member

Anyone who knows me knows that my dog Willow is my baby.   Willow has taught me more than any classroom could. Willow, a border collie, came into my life as an 8-week-old puppy after I graduated from the University of Southern Maine. One of the first things that I learned from Willow was patience because training a puppy is a lot of work. From house breaking them to teaching them tricks. There were many sleepless nights until Willow learned to sleep through the night. Shortly after Willow turned 1 year old she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease where her adrenal gland does not produce enough cortisol. We almost lost Willow to Addison’s disease. Through her diagnosis I learned that life does not always goes as planned, but if you have a little hope and strong enough will you can persevere through the roughest of times.

Willow is now a happy and healthy two and a half year old puppy that loves simple things like going for walks and riding around in the car. She enjoys exercise, which includes playing Frisbee, soccer and tug-of-war in addition to chasing our two cats around the house. Willow has made getting daily exercise fun again. She has taught me to enjoy the occasional cookie but to also balance it with tasty fruits and veggies. Willow’s favorite snacks include pumpkin cookies, apples, peanut butter, and blueberries, but certainly not bananas. The following are the most important lessons of what I have learned from my dog:

  1. Patience
  2. Life does not go as planned
  3. A little hope and some strong will can get you through anything
  4. Enjoy the simple things in life like walks and car rides
  5. Exercise can be fun
  6. Enjoy sweets but keep a balance diet
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