I remember when Wink was just a puppy, maybe six months old, he was lying on the floor in my study, chewing on a nylabone. I was working at my desk. The next thing I knew, there was a blood-curdling yelp and he jumped about two feet in the air, running to me, and getting under the desk. I looked at the spot where he had been lying, and there was his nylabone, right next to an electrical cord. In his enthusiastic chewing, he had nipped into the electrical cord. Thank God it was just a shock; it could have been much worse. From that day on, Wink would go out of his way to avoid electrical cords. And I, also learning from that, did my best to make sure they were out of the way. But we both learned an important lesson--one that stuck with us.
I didn't intentionally teach Wink that lesson. It was one of those "life things" that comes, gives us a shock, and then moves on, leaving a memory that we won't soon forget--if ever. There are lessons that I did purposely teach Wink, and there are many lessons that he taught me. I hope that I always taught him for the right reason; I know that's how his lessons were given to me. Suzanne Clothier says that our dogs will not, cannot, lie to us.
One lesson Wink learned early in life was to exercise patience. He loved to play. I honestly think that he would have played until one of us dropped from exhaustion--at least until he became ill. His hint was to sit next to me,whatever I was doing, and give a little whine. It was barely audible. If I was busy, when he did this at the beginning, I would just ignore it. After a while (not long), it became one of those little in-the-throat grunts. If that was ignored, the next hint was a hair-raising, gut-piercing Corgi bark! That certainly got my attention, and he knew it. I would usually quit what I was doing to go play. He knew he had taught me a lesson. However...I realized that we needed to adjust this lesson to include both of us, and make it a lesson that we would remember.
The next time he started with the little whine, I looked down at him, scratched behind his ears, and said, "Just a minute, Wink." The first few times he wasn't especially happy about it, but he sat patiently and waited. I always kept my word, and he learned that too. After a while, when I said "Just a minute, Wink," he would go just far enough away where he could see me, lie down, and watch me until I said, "Okay," and then he was up like a flash, ready to go. This also worked if I was a minute or two late with walkies. We all know that Corgis are so routine-oriented that it almost borders on obsession sometimes. But "Just a minute, Wink," worked for that too.
I can't begin to list all the things that Wink taught me. Some day I'll write a book about it...it would truly take that much space. But if I had to prioritize the lessons he taught me, at the top of the list would be Unconditional Love. That love helped get me through some very rough times: a false accusation that altered the remainder of my life, two surgeries (one of them major), and just the day-to-day "glitches" that we have to encounter. His love was always there and it never came with demands or emotional blackmail, the way human love so often does. That's the best lesson of all!
Thank you, Wink. I can truly say that you made me a better person because of your love and devotion, so freely given. I miss you, my besses puppo, but the way time flies, daddy will be there in just a minute.