Every day is a gift

The name of this whole blog could be “Every day is a gift.” I forget sometimes. Days like today remind me.

At seventeen years, Ivory is old by any standard. By the standards of sixty pound dogs he is ancient. He moves slower than the rest of my pack. You’ll see a lump on his left shoulder in some of these images. Walking is difficult for him. So he normally stays home when the rest of us go for our twice-weekly river hikes. But I was fortunate to have some free time this morning. Ivory and I left the other dogs home and enjoyed Pony Pasture by ourselves.

I posted a picture or two on facebook. A friend looked at one and mentioned that Ivory looked tired. He did, and he was. But – as I pointed out – he is also tired at home. We’ve been together his whole life. Ivory and I seem to feel the same way about many things. To the best of my ability, when I’m mindful, when I’m at my most human, I think like he does. If I had the choice between being tired at home or being tired at the river on a fine May morning, there would be no choice. So there we were, Pony Pasture on a fine May morning. What an indescribable gift.

In the parking lot we met our friend Happy the Clown and his beagle. Ivory’s first visit of the morning:

Meeting of the minds

We made our way to the river. It’s coming down from 11 feet. It was still over 8’ this morning. Which made for a very muddy river and river bank. As soon as we got to the water we met a person kind enough to take our picture – his name was Jay also! So, the first person we met this morning was named Happy. The second was Jay. Off to a great start:

Back at Pony Pasture...

What Ivory was looking for was a little time in the water. There was no shortage:

FINALLY at the water! The famous Ivory smile begins to reappear.

He and I always have a special connection with the river. On our difficult days – we have plenty – the river waits for us. It’s patient when we’re not patient with ourselves. That, obviously, is a difference between Ivory and me. Ivory is always patient with himself and with everyone he encounters. He is patience made flesh. Me, not so much. I’m patient with others – Ivory has taught me that much. As you can see, the river perks Ivory right up:

NOW we're having fun!

Have a great day and we look forward to seeing you soon,


Jay and Ivory

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Dogs, Fun, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Every day is a gift

  1. Evelyn Zak says:

    Ivory does look happy! Glad you got some quality river time with him on a splendid day.

    • He and I were both happy – I’m sure it was evident. That was truly quality river time and it was truly a splendid day. May is such a gorgeous month here. He hadn’t been to the river in a while. Whenever he’s been away a long time and returns he has an extra spring in his step. It was very evident today. The best possible use of a spring morning.

  2. Justin Smith says:

    “If I had the choice between being tired at home or being tired at the river on a fine May morning, there would be no choice.” I think that maybe we could all use a reminder of that sentiment from time to time.

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