On a farm in New York, a faithful dog waits for his friend. I thought many of us could relate to these pictures. Maybe not in a perfectly preserved pick up classic, but certainly the idea of a companion sitting and waiting in the front seat ready to travel the roads and explore life together and expecting nothing more than to be in the moment with you. Ah this is life without worry. There will always be food and water and a pee break. There is nothing better in the world than one hand on the steering wheel, the elbow on the window ledge, and a dog’s head resting on your lap as you gently rub his head just behind his ears.
On my first day of practice back in May, 1984 I had this experience with my dog E-Z. He had waited patiently for years as I worked my way through the trials of learning all the material presented in my classes at Cornell. Long nights and cold winters along with warm summer days all blended together but my dog remained special in each of them. My promise to have him in my new vet truck on my first call seemed to help him stay alive into his old age. On graduation day I fulfilled my promise to him as I drove with the windows down to Janet’s farm to see a bad eye in a foal. His head placed outside the passenger window, eyes almost closed, and ears waving in the wind, he knew that this was a special trip. I returned home with tears in my eyes as I knew, this would be the only farm call we would ever make together. As we drove home, he laid his head on my lap as I convulsed, tears freely flowing down my cheeks. He was my first euthanasia as a veterinarian the next day as cancer took his life.
It takes nothing more than seeing this dog in the cab of this pickup truck to remind me of my best friend I had so long ago. If you are blessed with a dog, horse, or even a human who is your best friend, go hug them right now and learn to live in the moment with them. Because living in the moment is all we have and makes us incredible horsemen, leaders, parents and friends. As Albert Einstein proved a century ago, there is no time before or after other than in our minds. There is only now and dogs know this better than anyone.