Chauncey Dosenberry, the loving one-eyed Boston Terrier, was born on June 2, 2003 and was put to sleep on July 14, 2012.
July 14 was the most difficult day of my life. I have moved on, but decided to take hours of my time to reflect back on Chauncey’s life. We can all learn from man’s best friend and even though I may be somewhat biased, you have the opportunity to learn many life lessons from one of the most unique dogs to ever roam planet Earth.
Why was Chauncey so unique?
At age 2 years and 4 months Chauncey was involved in a freak accident that involved him taking the David Leadbetter Swingsetter to his left eye at full swing speed. I was also involved too as I was the one who struck his left eye. His eye popped out of it’s socket and was dangling and dripping some blood. This Swingsetter had a plastic ball at the end which is what struck his eye.
I won’t go into detail here. Just know that it was an extremely tragic event early on in his life.
We tried to save the eye but he ended up losing it and having his eyelid sewn shut. Chauncey didn’t care. He was as alive as any living thing could possibly be and it definitely showed over the next 7 years.
Chauncey then had his first seizure at the end of January this year. What followed was 40 more seizures even though he was on Phenobarbital for 5 months.
Due to us not being able to control his seizures along with dozens of poop and pee accidents inside the home, we decided to put him to sleep last Saturday.
What now follows are 10 lessons that Chauncey taught me and everyone else that met him. He was a special Boston Terrier who will be best remembered for his unconditional love.
Please post a comment below with lessons that you have learned from your dog, cat or other pet. Share this post with others too so we can all improve our well-being.
1. Greet all humans with loads of love
Chauncey was famous for greeting humans with such passion and enthusiasm. He never judged a human by how he or she looked since he knew deep down inside that this can be very misleading.
If Chauncey had never seen you before then he may sniff you out for a few seconds at first glance. This would then be followed up by numerous 360 degree spins, jumps, toy grabbing, waggles and more. His enthusiasm was infectious. When around Chauncey, all you could do is smile and throw love right back at him.
What if, all of a sudden, humans were passionate about meeting others? What if we all greeted each other with a smile and had a burst of confidence and immediate connection? What if we enjoyed the handshake or hug instead of regretting it? Chauncey proved to us that doing so can have an enormous positive impact on the world.
Next time you are walking on the street, greet everyone you walk by with a smile. Give a quick “hello” or “how are you” to dozens. It will make a difference in your life and several others. Trust me. Chauncey was a pro at this. Why can’t us humans be?
2. Love unconditionally for contentment
Chauncey’s love was with him through every breath he took. If you wanted a kiss all you would have to say is “kisses” and he would lick you till you pushed him away or yelled “no!” or “stop!”
Life enjoyment never escaped him. He went through devastating times in his life but that did not prevent him from his unconditional love for life till the very end.
Chauncey was always alive.
Do you love unconditionally? That is, do you express your love for life throughout the day during the bad and good? Do you realize that love is infectious?
If I was angry for whatever reason and then saw or even thought about Chauncey, that anger immediately evaporated. He did not care what the other person was thinking or doing. He was ready to spin around and shake his booty at anytime. It was impossible to pass by Chauncey without happy thoughts.
Chauncey was content with this life despite the tragic times.
Are you always wanting more or are you content with the fact that you are a living being at this very moment?
3. Patience is a virtue so treat it like one
I must admit, I can greatly improve in this department.
But you can bet your life savings that I am working at this on a daily basis.
Chauncey was a patience professional. He enjoyed jumping up on his 2 hind legs and walking around while I held a treat a foot or 2 from his mouth. He would do this for 5 minutes or so until I finally gave in. He was obedient and sat at every request. He would stay still if I told him to stay.
How patient are you? We always want quick fixes. If book A tells us that we can lose 30 lbs of weight in 30 days and book B tells us that we can lose 4 lbs of weight in 30 days then we will choose book A. Even though losing 4 lbs in 30 days is much healthier since it’s most likely going to be all body fat.
4. Chill out. Relax. Sleep.
Chauncey loved to play but he also loved to sleep. He knew how important rest and relaxation were to a healthy and vibrant life. You can’t go-go-go all the time. We desperately need to rest and sleep yet most of us don’t think this is important.
Try ditching coffee for a week.
If you are unable to go a full week (preferably a full month) without relying on coffee or some other source of caffeine, that is most definitely a sign that you are not getting enough sleep!
This is simple folks. Go to bed. Lay down. Calm yourself.
Chauncey did this with ease. He knew how important it was. Why don’t we?
5. Forget about what happens in the past
You can’t go back in time. You can’t change the past. Chauncey knew this well and never dwelled on the past.
At just two years old, Chauncey had his left eye removed due to a freak accident. He was in severe pain and underwent surgery. It was a grueling 3 months but Chauncey came out of it as well as any animal possibly could.
For the next 6 years Chauncey acted just like a normal dog. He was handicapped but that did not matter to him. He became more determined and enjoyed life as best as anyone ever will.
He still chewed on rawhide bones, played tug-of-war with humans and his best friend Dave (another Boston Terrier in the family who is only 3 years of age), played fetch, relaxed, sunbathed, did numerous tricks like sit, stay, shake, spin, walk and lay down.
He was never angry over the fact that he went from 2 eyes to one eye. Instead, he was a lover of life and everything that surrounded him. It definitely showed.
Do you dwell on the past? Do you wish that you could have done something different even though you know you can’t change it? We can all reflect on our past and learn from it but need to stop wishing that you would have done this or that. Sometimes – more times than we think – we just need to let go. We need to move on with our life and live in the moment since we never know when our time is done.
We all have handicaps. Use them as motivation to do the impossible. To live an extraordinary life. What are you waiting for?
6. Appreciate the simple things in life
Chauncey never stopped loving life. A small part of this was the fact that he appreciated all the simple things that he was surrounded by.
He never went after the shiniest toy, the best looking human being, tastiest food or treat, etc. Instead, he played with all of his toys at random times, loved all humans, ate his tasteless dog food (I regret feeding it to him for 9 years – read on to find out why) and enjoyed all treats because it was exactly that: a treat.
Most importantly, Chauncey knew that we are remembered for our memories. Our entire family and everyone who met Chauncey will always remember him for his actions and not all the toys he accumulated over the years.
What about you? Do you go after the shiniest most loaded vehicle only to put yourself further into debt? Do you want the biggest house? The latest technology gadgets only to further waste your precious time?
Why not chase experiences with other people? Reflect back on your life. What do you want to be remembered for?
7. Being unique is what you will be remembered for
Chauncey was a professional at…
- Opening gifts
- Spinning out of control
- Playing with a hula hoop
- Tug-of-war with humans and his friend Dave (another Boston Terrier)
- Dancing – shaking his booty
- Squeezing his head in between our knees at the dining table
- Chauncey was different. Everything listed above is an experience, a memory.
He loved to open gifts. Christmas was by far his favorite holiday. But you know what? He would literally open it up and then look for another gift to open. He loved toys and treats but he more enjoyed the experience of opening up a gift and brightening his loved ones day.
I won’t remember my family and friends for material things that they accumulate. I’ll remember the memories we made from amazing experiences.
With my siblings I’ll remember when I downed a 2 pound burger at Wheel House along with a huge pile of fries in 45 minutes. I’ll also remember our now annual “camping trip” that we take every Summer.
Chauncey knew that experiences matter. What kind of experiences are you creating with those that you love?
8. Real food heals while fake food kills
We don’t know for sure but I speculate that Chauncey had brain cancer. This is why he started to have seizures that began at the end of January. He ended up suffering through about 40 of them. Phenobarbital helped for 90 days but he had 15 seizures during a 20 day period in June while on his normal dosage of one pill a day as well as a double dosage of 2 pills a day.
The drug did not help. The drug only hid the condition for a short period of time while causing Chauncey to go through side effects that included drowsiness, potential liver damage and the actions of pooping and peeing dozens of times inside the house even though he was well potty trained.
Drug intervention won’t solve our health problems. It can save lives but in the end it’s doing way more harm than good.
Real food heals.
I sincerely believe that if Chauncey had been carefully fed real food as soon as he suffered through his first seizure in late January, he would still be here today. He may have had a few seizures later, but nothing close to 40. His health would be much better today than it ever was in his lifetime.
But we didn’t. We continued to feed him shit that no pet deserves.
Chauncey was the third dog in our family that was put to sleep as a result of brain cancer. The dogs were only 7, 8 and 9 years of age.
All 3 dogs were fed the same shit that millions of pet owners feed their dogs. How ironic is it that the sickest species on the planet are humans and the ones that humans have domesticated? Three dogs in my family died at a young age because of cancer. A cancer that would have been prevented if real food was fed to them.
The animals that we take care of in factories and eventually eat for food are sick too.
9. Fight till the very end
Don’t you ever dare give up. Make mistakes. Fail often. I’m fine giving up on certain projects. You must be the judge on what projects to give up on. Sometimes we go in thinking we will love this or that yet the experience ends up being completely different than what we expected.
This does not mean that you are free to give up on life. Fight to the very end. I don’t care what you have been through. I guarantee that I can find someone that has gone through more shit than you.
Guess what? You are alive.
Be grateful for your heart beat. For the very fact that you are functioning. For your 2 eyes that allow you to read what is on this screen.
You can turn your life around at any moment.
Chauncey fought till the very last second of his life. He suffered through a quick seizure about 2 hours prior to us taking him to the hospital where he was eventually put to sleep. He was sedated and then brought into a small room where my mother and I were waiting. They laid out a rug and gently laid Chauncey on his side. He had a bandage on one of his legs. The doctor injected a fluid into Chauncey which is when he began to fight for his life. He was very out of it but tried to get up, tried to move his arms and hands. After the second injection he slowly deceased.
Chauncey never gave up. He may have been suffering through seizures for his final 5 months and was in pain (he whimpered here and there) but he had enjoyed life thoroughly during his final stage of life.
Learn from Chauncey. You will get knocked down. It’s those who get back up and try again that succeed and live a life to be remembered.
Do you want to be remembered for inspiring positive change in the world?
10. Treat each second like it’s your last
Do you ever get angry at your friends, family or strangers? Why? Are you aware that you can’t change them? You can have a big impact on their life through actions that inspire them. Showing anger won’t do this.
You never know when you will inhale your last breath of fresh air. It could be within the next hour from this moment.
Think about the dozen fatalities and injuries from the theater shooting in Aurora, CO during the premiere of Dark Knight Rises. Not a single soul in that theater knew what was about to go down.
There are countless shocking events that are happening all the time.
So why not treat every second like it’s your last?
Chauncey did. He would play rebel once in awhile and run away from me even though he was trained to stay in the yard. He always had a blast doing this. I still wonder if he knew that he was being a rebel.
Anytime I wanted to play with him he did. He loved being interrupted from his sleep. Ok, maybe not immediately but in the end he had a blast when he got to play with his toys and spend time with the ones he loved.
Smile. Laugh. Play. Eat real food that you thoroughly enjoy. Sprint. Go outside. Go on a hike. Play a sport. Pick up a new hobbie. Savor interruptions.
Don’t be tied down to unmeaningful work. Do 10 push-ups in your office as a teeny tiny break from your work (I just did a quick dozen). Dance like no one is watching you and sing like no one is listening to you. (I’m lucky to say that I’m able to do the former without any fuss and am working on the latter).
We can learn a lot from our furry friends. They are most definitely family and are hard to let go. Saturday, which was one week ago from the day I type these exact words that you are reading on your screen, was by far the toughest day of my life.
I tried to hold back the tears, but it was in fact, impossible. And I’m glad it was.
However, I am incredibly pleased that I have taken the time to reflect back on a life that all 7 billion people on this planet can learn from. Millions of us have dogs and now is the time to dedicate more of our lives with them and think about what lessons they are teaching us on a daily basis.
And please consider feeding your dog or other pet real food NOW. You never know when he or she is going to begin suffering due to a lack of proper nutrition.
Do you have a dog? What breed? What has he or she taught you about life? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
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