By K.J. Hales
Kids and canines have a lot in common, especially when it comes to being good. Just ask my little dachshund, Ellie.
One day after running errands I came home and knew something was wrong the minute I walked in the door. It was the smell. Then I noticed that there was no wagging tail to greet me. The house was silent and very, very stinky. I followed my nose into the kitchen and my mouth dropped open. I gasped at both the sight and the stench of what lay before me. The entire contents of our trash compactor were strewn everywhere. Shreds of paper, meat wrappers, potato chip bags, cans, rotting produce and flies, lots of flies. My mind reeled. How on earth could a wienerdog have done all this damage? My temper rose as I snapped a quick picture for proof of the crime and started looking for the guilty party.
I called and called but no there was no response. I searched the house and yard but found nothing. Anger changed to worry. Minutes passed and worry turned to panic. Where could she be? Is she okay? Then something caught my eye in the far corner of the backyard. There, hiding behind a tree, was a very guilty Ellie, shivering and trying to make herself as small as possible. Her sorry brown eyes peaked up at me from under her worried brows. My heart melted and relief flooded over us both. I scooped her up in my arms and she smothered me with kisses that said over and over again, “Mommy, I’m so sorry.”
What were the lessons we each learned that day?
- Forgiveness. No matter how bad the mistake, it’s always fixable and forgivable. I forgave Ellie for making such a mess.
- The power of apology. We should always try to be good but when we do make a mistake it’s best to follow Ellie’s example and say we are sorry.
- Making good choices. Our choices, both good and bad, affect not only ourselves but all those who love us. Ellie’s bad choice upset me. My choice to forgive her made us both very happy.
- Respect and understanding. Every person (and dog) has different trigger points that tempt or upset them. Help others be good and feel good when you can. Smelling all the things in the trash tempted Ellie to make a bad choice. I now try not to tempt her by leaving really good/bad smelling stuff in the trash for any length of time.
Ellie faces choices everyday that can be good or bad. They may not always be good. We have choices on how we react and deal with those choices. We help them make good choices in the future. At the end of each day the most important thing is that all our choices are made with love and respect.Another lesson I learned: Leave a note on the door to remind myself to lock the trash compactor before I leave the house.
K.J. Hales is the author of the children’s book series, Life’s Little Lessons by Ellie the Wienerdog. The first book in the series, It’s Hard to be Good,” is now available online at www.elliethewienerdog.com.