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Pet lessons

Meet Boomer and Pearl

Supplement to “What Readers have Learned from their Pets”

Pets know that the good stuff sometimes lies beneath the surface. In this case, some of it lies right here at It’s worth the digging to meet Boomer, an abused pit bull turned family pet that has developed 10 life lessons. Or meet Pearl, a dog that kept her distance for three months until she could teach her owner some wisdom.

Moriah Horn, Radcliff

1—The first step is always the hardest. It took 45 minutes to coax Boomer out of the back yard the first time I went over to pick him up. While it seemed like a long time for me to encourage a dog to do something simple, he was saying goodbye to his past. Though it was an uphill battle for years to learn to trust humans, he never looked back.

2—Keep on smiling even if you have lost all your front teeth because someone has cruelly decided to take a baseball bat or golf club to them.

3—Don’t judge a book by its cover. While a pit bull might be the epitome of a macho fierce dog, any animal that is happy and continually wagging his tail behind him as 2-year-olds climb all over him is a saint in my book.

4—Don’t sweat the small stuff…as in being a little bit of a klutz sometimes. Everyone is perfect just the way they are! If anything, the quirks totally play into the cute appeal.

5—Use manners to get what you want. A demanding “ please” (or bark) will work. And if that fails too, well, put on something cute (and humiliating, i.e., antlers) and beg.

6—Bad things happen, but you can’t let life get you down. Don’t dwell on the bad parts of life or you’ll miss the good stuff, like ice cream!

7—Be kind to others…even if they are a cat out to ruin your “ tough dog” image by sleeping in your bed.

8—Be silly! It’s okay to laugh. It’s even fun to laugh at yourself. There is no need to take yourself so seriously.

9—Trust. Patience and persistence are the keys. Not all humans are bad. And most importantly…

10—Forgiveness and love. Boomer has inspired me in ways that a human being could probably never do. He had such a rough beginning and even when he started to heal, had another run-in with abuse (with the bat or golf club). Yet none of it mattered.

Boomer never held a grudge, and I have yet to meet a human of that caliber. His love was unyielding and unbiased (especially if you had a cookie), and his life was priceless. He was put on this earth to teach us, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

Gloria Stanton, Somerset

Pearl came to live with us on Inauguration Day—January 20, 2009, when she was 3-1/2 years old. She wouldn’t come when called, and she didn’t want to be held. Pearl preferred her crate, and the look in her eye said, “Keep your distance.” I wondered if Pearl would ever come around. It took three months for Pearl to teach me what I needed to know.

This name acrostic is an apt framework for Pearl’s lessons:

P: Patience. It takes patience to win me over. Rushing things just won’t work. When I’m ready, you’ll know. Until then, be kind and gentle.

E: Earn. You have to earn my trust. Don’t expect me to come running to you. Show me that you really care and want me; then I’ll be yours.

A: Adaptable. Be ready to change; it’s not “your way” or else. I have moods, too, and sometimes they’ll surprise you. Give me a doggie treat if I’ve done what pleases you. And, hey, I like routine. Stick to it, and I’ll feel more secure.

R: Relationship. Never mind your past dogs—they’re history! I’m your first live-in dog, a regular member of the family, a friend. Treasure me.

L: Love. Yes, it’s real. Love me, and I’ll love you back. Look into my brown eyes and know it’s there. It’s in the magic that passes between us.

To read the Kentucky Living August 2010 feature that goes along with this supplement, go to What Readers have Learned from their Pets.

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