I had a conversation about dogs and puppies at work yesterday, because my colleague’s daughter had got a 6-week-old pup. I don’t know how many of you reading this are dog people, but bear with me, there is a point to my story.
Three years ago, I got Columbo, a black Cockapoo puppy. I was brought up with cats and have had cats around me all my life, but something inside me had always told me that one day I would be a dog owner too, I was just waiting “for the right time”. Well, there is no such thing as the right time, so in January 2015, I decided to welcome Columbo as a family member.
Little kittens are house clean and independent at 7 weeks old, so having a puppy was a shock to my system. Realising that it would take at least 6 months of my life in almost 24/7 “Columbo-mode”, I’m ashamed to say that at one point it made me regret my decision to get a dog. Today I am so grateful I persevered because I cannot imagine life without Columbo anymore, and I am so grateful that Cockapoos have a very long life expectancy. Obviously, life never gives you any guarantees, but chances are that Columbo and I can still enjoy many years together.
However, this background story brings me to one special day when a song lyric came to me from a very unexpected place. I went to the vets for Columbo’s first jabs. As we drove up to the vets, a lady who was parked next to us was helping a very old dog out of her car. The dog was walking very slowly, and I waited to help the lady with the door. Well inside, we both sat down in the waiting area. Columbo, being only a few months old was very eager to talk to this old dog and the lady’s eyes teared up as she said that it felt like only yesterday when her dog was a pup. Then she told me that this visit may be the last one for her dog but if not, they were talking days or weeks, not months.
The old dog was lying down on the floor very calmly. It had such wise, old eyes and I think it knew it was time to go and had accepted that fact, but the dog was prepared to wait for its owner to accept it too. Columbo was very curious, but at the same time I sensed he felt something “bigger” was going on and for a while he was just sitting by the side of his new, very old friend.
After a while we were called in for our appointment, and when we came out again the lady and the old dog weren’t there anymore, so I don’t know if they got anymore time together or not.
This visit to the vet was a very powerful experience for me in many ways. I felt so sorry for the lady and I felt a great love for the old, wise dog. In some stupid way I also felt guilty that I had a brand-new pup and had Columbo’s whole life ahead of me, while the lady was at the end of her dog’s life. This was especially true as, at that particular time, I didn’t appreciate Columbo as much as I should have. The bond wasn’t there yet.
Being such a powerful and emotional experience, it obviously stayed with me. And it didn’t take long before I knew I would have to transform the experience and my emotions into a song lyric. I chose to give the old, wise dog the lead role in the song, and give Columbo a lesson born out of the wisdom only a long life can give via the chorus. I called the song “Enjoy each walk” and there is one sentence in the chorus that still brings a lump to my throat, because I so often fail miserably, when it comes to remembering this important piece of advice;
“Eat every treat life lets you have,
don’t ever feel they’re plain.”
I don’t always remember to appreciate the little treats life constantly gives me, because I am too busy trying to make a living for myself, my mind is on tomorrow’s problems, or I take out worries in advance. Because of all this, I forget to stop and be thankful for being alive, breathing and being able to listen to the birds or to feel the warm sun in my face at the precise moment that I actually have been given.
The lump in my throat is also there, because thanks to Columbo, my lovely, black four-legged friend that I almost rejected, I have started to see so much more of life’s tiny, special treats. Columbo has probably taught me more about what is important in life than anyone else, and even better: – he has taught me what isn’t important at all. I have mellowed an awful lot in the three years I’ve had the privilege to share my life with Columbo.
“Enjoy each walk” shares the place with 7 other lyrics of mine that, so far in my lyric writing career, have scored the highest points in various competitions. Fredrik Holm made the lyrics into a song and I will share an early demo of that song with you here today if you feel like listening.
Take care until next time, and Happy Writing!
Enjoy each walk
They met up at the vets one day,
the pup and the old hound.
For one the days were fresh and new,
and one was homeward bound.
The old hound’s legs had walked their miles
they couldn’t do no more.
While waiting for his last goodbye
he laid down on the floor.
The pup sat down beside the hound
to say; come play with me.
But something stopped him in his tracks,
not sure of how to be.
The hound looked up towards the pup,
his eyes were calm and wise.
It’s all ok, just sit with me,
I’ll give you some advice.
Remember to enjoy each walk,
in sunshine and in rain.
Eat every treat life lets you have,
don’t ever feel they’re plain.
Yes, chase the cats, it is a thrill,
but do it with a smile.
Be kind to all that is around,
it only lasts a while.
Life only lasts a while.
The time had come for that old hound,
to leave this earth for good.
The pup went on to live his life,
in time he understood.
The hound lived on inside his mind
through lessons learned one day,
when that small pup took time to sit
and help a soul away.
©Åsa Sandberg 2015