The Lessons my Dog Taught Me….RIP Brownie

April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

We lost Brownie today

But in looking back on our life with her

I smile at the things she taught us


Brownie was a stray

One day as we were driving home from school

We saw her running down the street

She was wearing a vest from a dog kennel

We opened the door to our car

And without hesitation, she jumped right in


We drove to the kennel she had escaped from

But no one was there

No person that is

There were 20 or more animals inside though crying out for help


We made a few phone calls

And it was discovered that this business was virtually abandoned

The owners rarely took care of the dogs there

And we still do not understand how the dogs had been left there by their owners

We only know that they had been abandoned

No food or water

And clear signs of abuse


Since Brownie escaped, all the other dogs were rescued as well

And when we took one look into her deep brown eyes

We knew she would become a part of our family


From day one, she had health issues

A large tumor on her forearm was the first thing we dealt with

She fought cancer multiple times over the past 4 years

She often had colds!

It seemed if something could go wrong…it did

Finally she succumbed to a neurological disease that was incurable


As she began to lose the use of her back legs

She had to find ways to compensate

We knew the time was coming when we would have to say goodbye

And that day came today

None of us wanted to let go

But instead of sadness

I choose to remember the things she taught me


1.  Rescue Yourself

Brownie could have stayed behind in that kennel with the rest of the dogs when they were abandoned.

She could have waited for the calvary to arrive.

But if she had done that–she might never have made it out.

Instead she took initiative.

She rescued herself.

And you know what??

Sometimes that’s exactly what we have to do.  

How many times in my life have I wanted to just sit down and wait for Prince Charming to arrive?

How many times have I hoped and prayed that someone else would sail in and fix my life?

Brownie didn’t wait.

She orchestrated her own escape.

 And she ran through the streets until she found help.

Her courage to escape her own bad situation brought help back to the other animals left behind.

Not only did she rescue herself—she rescued her friends.

I know we’d all like to wait for the miracle to come to us.

But sometimes, we have to BE the miracle.

Sometimes we have to be our own hero.

We may not believe we have it in us.

But Brownie took that leap of faith

And when she did—she found help.

That’s what we have to do in this journey.

Take that first step out in faith and just start walking.

In time, help will come.

But sometimes, it takes us making the first move.





2. Treat Yourself

Brownie would play hard.

She loved to be outside.

She loved to lay in the sun and she loved to play ball.

But when it was time to come inside and rest, she didn’t settle for just laying on the cold, hard floor.

She always insisted on the best blanket in the house.

Even it was YOURS.  

I can’t even tell you how many times I would lay down in the recliner with a blanket

Only to find it slowly slipping away from me.

She would sit below me and inch by inch the blanket would begin to pull away.

I would yank it back up.  And she’d manage to yank it back down!

Eventually the struggle would end with her finally getting it from me

OR (more often) with me surrendering!

And there she would be snuggled with MY blanket!!

I’d have to get up and find another one!

Brownie knew what she wanted.

She knew she had played hard that day and now she deserved a break.

And when it was time to rest, she was going to treat herself.

Not with FOOD.

Not with a biscuit.

But with something else—Like MY blanket!

Brownie lived with a lot of pain due to her numerous health issues.

She fought the pain but she also made herself comfortable when she could.

As any severely obese person knows—pain comes on a constant basis.

Living as a 400 plus pound person brought me DAILY pain.

One thing I learned to do was to try and make myself as comfortable as I could when possible.

Life was already painful enough—why not treat yourself when you can?

From Brownie I learned the luxury of a good pair of bedroom slippers.

I had never really worn them before but when you have a really great pair of bedroom slippers—you feel a little luxurious.

So I would buy them–and she would carry them off.

I have more single slippers in my closet than any one woman should.

Eventually I learned that slippers meant sharing.

She got one and I got the other!

But at the end of the day, we both learned that pain may come but you can treat yourself

You can treat yourself (not with food) but in the best way you know how whenever possible.

We deserve it!



3.  Modify Yourself

How many times as a 400 pound person did I say I could not exercise?


Because it was impossible for me to walk across the room without losing my breath

Because I knew the workout was out of my league?

So I gave up before I even started

Brownie had numerous physical issues in her life.

At the end, she suffered from a neurological condition that eventually made her lose the use of her back legs.

Sometimes they would work and sometimes they would not.

Near the end, she had almost no use of them at all.

When Brownie found it hard to walk, she scooted.

Often when she would start walking back into the house, her leg would just take her in another direction altogether!

I can’t tell you how many times I saw her walking in only to find herself turned around.

Sometimes she would decide to just go with it!

Sure she was heading in the house but her leg took her in another direction.

So she said…Why not??

I will just find something down this route that interests me instead!

Other times, she would fall down and rest for a few minutes before getting back up and trying again.

If Brownie couldn’t walk, she scooted.

She modified the situation to fit her ability.

And that’s what we have to do.

I couldn’t walk a mile at 417 pounds.

I couldn’t even walk 5 minutes.

So what did I do?

I started with 30 seconds.

30 Seconds at a time

I modified it

And that’s what I continue to do with everything in this journey

Because we can’t let the things we are INCAPABLE of doing—keep us from the things we ARE capable of doing

And if we end up going in some direction we didn’t intend on—then like Brownie—we find a stick or a ball on that route and make the most of it!!






4.  Love Yourself

When we found Brownie she had a big tumor

Her nose was all scarred and roughed up from where she had apparently been digging for food at one point as a stray

I also found my own body scarred and abused from my desperate search for food

Just as her search for food led to scars, so my search for more food led to the scars of obesity

A very visible and obvious signature to the world that something was “wrong”

Anyone who has faced obesity knows it is something we publicly wear

Something we can’t hide

And it can make us feel ugly



Brownie had scars she wore too

Scars all over her nose

Scars from where the tumors were removed

But in spite of that, she loved herself anyway

Even as her health deteriorated, she continued to roll in the grass

Bark at the dogs next door

Lay on the most comfortable blanket in the house

And stare at us with that look of ….”I still got it!!



This is what we MUST do as well.

No matter your age.

No matter your size.

No matter your scars.


You are worth it



It may be a sad day

But in the sadness, we must be reminded of what we learned

Because that is what we take with us

Those are the things that never die


Thanks for the Life Lessons, Brownie!!!

We will miss you.



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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane t. April 16, 2014 at 8:09 pm

So sorry for your loss…what a special dog!


Linda Kuil April 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

What a beauty she was and what a wonderful life you all shared.


Shannon April 16, 2014 at 8:37 pm

So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog… she looked like she was so full of life and personality! Also, the compassion you had to take her in when she wasn’t the most “ideal or perfect” animal definitely doesn’t escape me. God Bless you!


Jessica April 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Oh you made me cry, Holly! What a wonderful, touching tribute to a sweet doggie. That you were able to find lessons in the sadness is admirable. (I’ll be a mess when I lose my little guy – he’s 13, but going strong). These are all great lessons, which goes to show if we look outside of ourselves, the answers are usually right there. I’m not saying it very well, but I hope you get the gist. Anyway, so sorry for your loss….the furry members of our families are special!


Christine April 16, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I’m so about the loss of your beloved Brownie. He was such a beautiful and smart dog and that was a lovely tribute to him.
Christine recently posted..the doctor calledMy Profile


Adelyn April 17, 2014 at 1:08 am

What a wonderful tribute. Hugs to you all…


LuckyMama April 17, 2014 at 2:26 am

Brownie looks like she had a ton a personality! I know you’ll miss her. I’m glad you’re remembering good things.

We lost one of our beloved dogs in 2010 – we still talk about her all the time.


Lorenda April 17, 2014 at 4:17 am

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your family’s companion. We lost our doggy two weeks ago. It’s so hard. I’m glad that you are remembering what a happy life that your family gave her. Those first couple of days I consoled myself by reminding myself how we gave him such a fun life and he got away with so much mischief.


Tori April 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm

This brought tears to my eyes….I’m familiar with loss of a loved one and dread the day I have to say good bye to one of my boys (I have two pugs). I love my boys more than humans some days…I NEVER doubt their love or their loyalty….LOL that is of course as long as their is no food around!

This is a wonderfully written post (I like many of your posts but I LOVE this one) and hits quite a few spots in my life. I hope that you don’t mind that I borrow the statement “But sometimes, we have to BE the miracle.
Sometimes we have to be our own hero. We may not believe we have it in us.” as use it as a daily reminder.

God Bless.
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Susan April 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm


I have been reading your posts for a while, but I have never posted. Today I want to let you know I am so sorry for the loss of Brownie. She was a beautiful sweetheart and what she taught you was why she came to you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

God Bless,



Pam Holmes April 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Sorry for the loss of your beautiful dog, Brownie. He was blessed to find your home, as blessed as you were to find him. His lessons are many, and it’s insightful of you to recognize all that he taught you as you cared for him. Prayers to you and your family.
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Denise @ Do you have that in my size??? April 17, 2014 at 11:53 pm

I’m very sorry for your loss. Dogs really are the best at showing unconditional love to everyone, even themselves; there are so many lessons we can learn from our canine friends.
Denise @ Do you have that in my size??? recently posted..Three things I’m grateful for this week: March 27My Profile


Leslie April 19, 2014 at 4:12 am

I am so sorry for your loss. I love your post thought about what you learned from your Brownie. Every experience teaches us something.
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Karen P April 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm

Sorry for your loss, Holly. Great tribute to your pet and your own story. Glad that Brownie found you and your family. Great stuff!
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Granny Mumantoog April 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

What a beautiful tribute! So sorry for your loss. Brownie was a lucky dog to find a loving family to spend the last years of his life with.


Lori April 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I’m sorry for your loss. Only a pet lover can understand the hurt. We lost our family dog in September and I still miss him sometimes. (He was a blanket stealer too!)
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Aimee @ Irresistible Icing April 23, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I’m so sorry for your loss of Brownie. Losing a pet is just one of the hardest things in life and I totally have been there. Brownie sounds like he was an amazing dog!
Aimee @ Irresistible Icing recently posted..Wednesday Weigh In–First Week Back on the ScaleMy Profile


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