Losing a Limb

On my walks I pass a house. This particular house has a brown wood fence that comes about to my mid-arm. I can see everything in the backyard and everything can see me. This backyard is home to two large black dogs. These dogs love to run and pounce on the fence, their paws dangle over the fence as they bark in arrogant protection of their house. The entire thing is rather startling. I usually cross the street.

Sometimes, however, I forget to cross the street. This time only one black dog came bounding toward me. I instinctively searched for the second. He stood back a little, in the middle of the lawn, not moving, just looking. One of his back legs was totally gone.

I drew in my breath, I did not expect to see this. Ignoring the protest from the other dog to leave his bit of sidewalk, I simply looked at the dog. As I did, I felt my heart hurt for this dog. What had happened? What had gone so wrong? Then I looked into his eyes. That's when I saw it: the soul of the dog. I know it sounds corny, but in his eyes I saw pain, humility, and a gentle kindness. He was no longer the dog that ran to the fence, playful, full of spirit with a bark meant to intimidate. He'd grown past it, he knew better.

I fought the urge to cry as I walked away. It seems such a shame that everyone has to lose a limb sometime or another, whether it be a physical malady or a deep emotional wound before the eyes begin to glisten with wisdom instead of false arrogance, when love shines through instead of competition, when our eyes reflect previously unknown strength,when faith breaks the clouds of darkness because now we know that we survived and we are better.


  1. Wow, first I have to tell you that this is the best post you have written. The imagery is beautiful and I nearly cried as you described this sad dog who I couldn't help but picture as my own. Dogs really have the most emotive eyes, but you should know, they also know how to work you for sympathy. They are a bit manipulative that way.

  2. I left a really good comment yesterday and for some reason my password didn't work :p (lame)

    However, beautiful blog...very true and wise.

  3. great post... very insightful and well written.