Look what I found! It’s an article Sarah and Paul wrote about a puppy. She found it in an old file folder. I like it, because I’m going through a sort of rough time. I have a new little brother. His name is Friend. He rags me endlessly. He’s making everything different, messing with the comfortable life I’ve enjoyed as the special sole dog, and, yes, I admit it, being quite spoiled.
But my adjustments are nothing like what this puppy went through. I hope you like his story too, just in case you too ever feeling like you’re flailing around like me trying to get things to be better.
The Trooper Story for When the Going Get Tough
It all began when we discovered that from the time we were both little kids, we had dreamed of having a Scottish Terrier. So, as soon as we bought our first house and started to work from home on our own, we actualized that dream. We got a Scottie. But our Scottie didn’t look like the other Scotties you’re probably familiar with. He was a rare Wheaten Scottie, as blond as golden fields of grain. And we loved him very much.
Since there are less than fifty Wheaten Scotties born each year in the United States, we decided to breed these beautiful creatures. We got a mate for our male and. you can just imagine our delight every time they had a litter of their unique puppies. Little did we know that one of their pups would become an inspiration that would help us through many a rough spot that inevitably arises in life.
As it happened, shortly after one litter of these rare pups arrived, we had to go out of town on a business trip. As we always do at such times, we hired a house-sitter for our dogs. We left specific instructions on how to care for the newborn puppies because they were just about to enter a critical stage in their development: the time when they get up off their big round tummies and start to walk.
This is an especially vulnerable time for Scottish Terrier puppies because their large heads and bodies are disproportionate to their small, short legs. So, it’s vital that they start walking before their bodies get too big for their legs to support. If they don’t get enough traction to get up on their legs, they develop a condition called “swimmers,” from which few ever recover. The puppy with swimmers grows too fast for its legs and since it will never be able to stand on its feet, must be put to sleep. We could empathize with the predicament these puppies faced at this time in their development because having decided to pursue our dreams without the regularity of a paycheck, we too felt vulnerable. We, too, weren’t sure if we could get our new venture up and running before our resources ran out. We, too, had to rise to the occasion, but we didn’t know if we could. And just like for our Scottie puppies, we needed to create a firm foundation for ourselves if we were to launch our dreams.
You can only imagine our horror and our dismay when we returned from our trip to discover that the largest, most robust and hearty of our gorgeous puppies was lying on his stomach flailing … flailing … flailing … and flailing, … trying to get on his feet. He had swimmers. It was, of course, because he was the most robust, the most hearty, the largest and most eager of all the puppies that he’d developed this problem. He’d grown so quickly that he’d simply outgrown his legs. Evidently he hadn’t had the proper grounding beneath him while we were gone. Somehow, he hadn’t been able to get the traction to lift himself up at the crucial moments.
Fortunately, it was summertime and we quickly put him out of doors on the grassy firma terra where his claws could dig into the earth. Then we crossed our fingers that he would find the strength to stand. Day after day went by. All day, every day, other than when he was eating or sleeping, all this puppy did was flail and flail and flail and flail and flail, hour after hour, trying and trying to get up. It was heartbreaking to watch him.
Yet he didn’t appear panicked, desperate or scared, just determined, concentrating intently and deliberately on his four cuddly, rolly-polly, fluffy legs do something he seemed to know he must do. We were praying for him, but as the days passed, we began feeling more and more despairing. We realized the day was approaching when we would have to take him to the vet and have him put to sleep. It would be too cruel to allow him to continue flailing forever as he grew larger and larger. But, oh, how we didn’t want to do that. The first thing we did every morning was to run outside to see how our valiant golden puppy was doing. You can imagine our elation when finally one morning, there he was up on his feet running and scampering about with his littermates as if nothing had ever been wrong. We were overjoyed. And at that moment, we named our triumphant puppy Trooper, in honor of his courage and his conviction.
It was clear that throughout all those hours and all the days Trooper was on his stomach flailing and flailing, somewhere deep within in every cell of his body, he knew that he wasn’t supposed to be lying on the ground. He knew he was supposed to be standing up and running around and fulfilling his canine destiny. And, you know, that’s the way it is for all us. Deep within every cell of our bodies, each of us knows, just as Trooper knew, that there’s something we’re here to accomplish, something that has called us to take the path we’re on, something that’s important not only for us, but for our family, our community, our nation, and our planet. We know that somehow we must rise up and do what needs to be done. We know that somehow we can, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
The drive that kept Trooper flailing day after day and week after week in a seemingly impossible effort to get to his feet is the same drive that keeps us all going until life feels “right.” It’s an inner knowledge of who we are that never lets us forget.,if we listen, what we’re here to do. No matter how bad things get as we flail away to find out way, this inner knowledge is there to propel us all through what lies ahead, just as it has helped to propel us all the years since that summer.
So, whenever you start to feel like you’re flailing, yet know in your heart you know you must never give up, think of Trooper and know … anything’s possible. You can rise to the challenge and fulfill to your destiny.
© 1996, 2014 Paul and Sarah Edwards