Remembering Who Needs a Pat Most

Layla by Mary

My little black dog Layla is getting old.
She’s also a bit smelly, even after a bath. (What can I say? Body odour happens).

Layla has a lovely personality. She has spent the past twelve years being as good a dog as a dog can be, paying careful attention to everything her humans want, say and do, learning as much of our language as she can, and being an unrelenting example, as dogs tend to be, of optimism and hope. Particularly when the possibility of cheese is involved.

Layla’s nose has been somewhat put out by the introduction of a new little black dog into the family.

A beautiful mongrel, rescued from the streets by my daughter Mary, this new addition to the family was given the somewhat lyrical name, ‘River’. She is larger, stronger, and full of the kind of joi de vivre that only young dogs can exhibit. Rheumatism is still a long way off.

River Dog shaking

River has a ridiculously infectious happy dance. Give her a bone, a stick, a crumpled bit of paper, an old sock … (actually, just show up), and River prances. You can almost hear her saying “I’m SO pleased to see you; you’re the BEST part of my day!”  River’s unbridled enthusiasm for life, for waking up in the morning, for well … anything at all, combined with her odourless silky black fur make her totally  irresistible.

River Dog posing by Mary Parker

She’s not even ‘my’ dog, but River gets a LOT more attention from me. How can I ignore her when she lovingly places her doggy hopes and dreams right into my lap and gazes at me with those soft brown eyes? Of course she gets more pats, more cuddles, more of everything.

River Dog looking up by Mary Parker

But have you noticed how dogs start looking like their owners after awhile? It’s been said (more than once) that with her big bulging eyes and copious black fur, my little old Layla bears an uncanny resemblance to me.

Now, add that to aching bones, partial blindness and a bit of memory loss… and we might just have the dog equivalent of Malini. *Sigh*

Malini Parker and Layla Dog

Layla may be a bit smelly and a tad grumpy, but she still has a gorgeous, loving and loyal heart. She just doesn’t push herself forward with the youthful vigour that River has. So I give her less attention.

All these deep ruminations about dogs got me thinking. How often have I treated myself like I do Layla? Have there been times when I too, needed a pat on the back from me, the only person whose opinion matters?

Yesterday I complained that I was feeling exhausted and emotionally spent.

My niece quietly observed, “Aunty Mal, you’ve had a HUGE week.”

She then proceeded to list all the things I’d done this week that I wasn’t able to do the week before or the week before that.

I’ve completely forgotten what they are now, (apparently getting my memory back wasn’t one of them) but I know I can add this:

I’ve started painting again today.

And THAT, my friends, is worth giving this little black dog duck a pat on the back for 🙂


I’m so happy to hear from you. I read (and reply) every comment, so just click here if you’d like to say hi 🙂

Comments 28

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      Oh thank you my lovely friend. Now that I’ve ‘put it out there’ I’m going to have to stay true to it and keep painting. Or at least remember to reward myself for the effort, not the result (my new mantra!) xox

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      Hello Anna, I’m honoured you stopped by my dear. Yes, I am determined to stroke my silky ears and take myself on a daily walk as well as be kind, be very very kind :):)

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  1. Dear Malini, I am always pleased to hear from you and to read your notes and reflections!! I have grieved with you and your whole family, including your beautiful dog, Layla, for your loss of Greg. I attended a beautiful Dentist in Mandurah who knows you through your shared beliefs. I am so glad that you have this community to support you through the days ahead.
    Yes as our body ages, it does begin to whiff a bit and stiffen up but while we still care about the beauty around us we can overlook those things and appreciate the good in life around us.
    Our dog has been a huge factor in my recovery from the number of emotional breakdowns that I have had. he is there every day waiting for his walk and is still loving and faithful when it rains, like today, or I ache too much to walk him. He gives me the ‘pats’ that I need when human words are not always sufficient in the sad times.
    One moment at a time, Malini. Take care of yourself!!

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      They are beautiful creatures indeed, Gill. Our family would be lost without them, so many lessons learned from their loving, faithful, joyful natures. I’m sorry to hear of your troubles, and I deeply appreciate your caring words. Take care xox

  2. Dear Malini,
    Another beautiful, hopeful post that I enjoyed so much. I have to say, as I was reading it and slowly scrolling down on my monitor thinking how sweet your words always are, I got to the part of you comparing yourself to Layla….scrolled a bit farther and the pictures appeared of you two side by side. I’m sitting alone at my computer, and I seriously cracked up!! Oh boy, you made my night, probably because I could feel you smiling when you looked at the photos also. I am going to have to take a very good look in the mirror at me and my 17 yr old sweet Lhasa-poo, Lucy!
    Night, Cinda

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      ha ha Cinda! hey, we had a dog called Lucy too 🙂 Unfortunately she didn’t make it past her 5th year. Honestly, a number of my friends and rellies have commented on the likeness between Layla and me… perhaps I need to get some new friends 🙂

      Thank you for your sweet, sweet words, Cinda. I am so honoured and grateful that you read my words and leave such supportive thoughts.

      hugs xox

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  3. I agree with your sentiment Mal. And it’s okay to ask for a pat now and then too (I’m available anytime)…

    On another more selfish note… I can’t wait to see what you’re painting. If the first one you painted was anything to go by then I’m sure they will be nothing short of magic.

    Love and pats (and maybe a little scratch under the chin and a tummy rub) xxx

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  4. Ah, you are such a good writer! I laughed reading this; I’m sure you’re not THAT much like Layla. 😉 This was a lovely start to my day. <3 And YAY for the painting! That is really super. xx

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      Well, Tara, the evidence of your physical similarities speaks for itself !! Thank you for saying nice things 🙂 x

  5. Dear Mal
    Just a few things, I am sure others have commented on, but I did not read all the others above, as i wanted to say my piece.
    Last week you left me in a torrent of tears – you had started painting again, AND IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL!!
    The story/journal you wrote with it was also inspiring – as you always do for me.
    Then today you send me an email to read (with this of course) and I look at the pics of your two lovely dogs (and I am NOT a dog lover, sorry) and find that while you may have the beautiful eyes of Layla, you also seem to have the youthfulness of River coming through (so looking like a mongrel of a mongrel? – haha)
    ‘TIs with joy I read all this lovely missives of yours, and even while in NZ during Greg’s last weeks and following his passing, I found my thoughts often turning to you both and wishing to show you something more in Wellington and it’s surrounds which I felt he may have enjoyed seeing. This happened especially after taking a great-neice to Weta Cave and she bought a Gandalf Hat for her dad – mad me think of the magic of Greg’s music and the wonderful Baha’i Community there who also said prayers for him after his passing. (My daughter told them)
    So, you look like TWO dogs not one. Thank goodness!! I would say welcome back, but you haven’t been away, just gathering yourself for whatever the world throws at you next. In the meantime, much love.

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      oh Robin you are so funny 🙂 First you say you’re not a dog-lover, then you say I look like BOTH dogs!! How am I supposed to take that?!!

      Btw thank you thank you for the kind words and the prayers and support, even from Wellington. Greg was so loved and his life enriched by wonderful people such as yourself.

      much love

  6. Well, I never saw it before but now you mention it, Layla does bear an uncanny resemblance. And if you add the waddle…:):):)

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  7. Malini my heart simply overflowed with love when I saw that you started painting again. LOVE!! 🙂 So glad that your niece showed you how HUGE of a week you had. Many pats on the back, you are so deserving of this. Happy painting!! xo

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  8. Awwwwwww you deserve MANY pats on the back little duck!! Love this post it made me laugh out loud! … As you might know since you were sitting a meter away from me at the time 🙂

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    2. I’d like to be sitting a meter away from both of you right now please!

      OK so I’m clearly a little behind in my reading… but I’m very happy and proud of you for all you’ve accomplished 🙂

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    Hey Robin,
    yes, it feels good to write and create again. Makes the sad days more bearable and the happy days, happier.
    Thank you, I appreciate your kind words 🙂

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