Lessons Learned

Mufasa had some cysts taken off last week. The night of the surgery, after the anesthesia had worn off, around 3 a.m. or so, we heard him crying. He stood by the bed and just wimpered. I got him water; I let him out. All the stinker wanted was to lie tight in next to us, really on top of me, in bed! Took up nearly my whole side once he got settled!

It turns out one was cancer. The vet called and said, “It’s adenocarcinoma. A bad cancer.” Just when we had decided we’d get a king-sized bed so M could spend the rest of his nights snuggled up with us, the vet said the next day he’s pretty sure he got it all and it was non-invasive. He’s 95% sure he should be fine. Still, I found a veterinary oncologist in Zurich who said if it was her she’d take some x-rays and ultrasounds to see what’s happening in there.

I’m glad to do that, because I’d seen the tumor for a long time and taken him to two different vets who told me he was fine before I finally asked the guy to take it out anyway. I knew all along it wasn’t right. There were clear signs I chose to ignore because I thought I was overreacting or something. Note to self: when stuff like that happens, trust your instincts. Have you ever ignored the signs?

And another thing. This made me realize two things:

1. I know Mufasa’s a big dog and big dogs don’t live so long. The vet in Colorado told me not to expect more than 6 to 8 years from him and he’s 8 this summer… but I gotta tell you, Mufasa not being with us doesn’t really work for us. We spend so much time just watching, playing with, caring for and downright loving this dog. We’ve decided he’s not like other dogs. If we could have him cloned at that sheep place at the University of Idaho, we totally would, all ethical considerations be damned. And then we’d let him raise his puppy self. What a kick we all would get out of that!

2. The other thing I realized is that soooo many people have gotten a lot out of knowing Mufasa. Hordes of Japanese tourists have photos of him. (Bizarre, but true. He seems to fit some cultural thing they have about white and fluffy = cute.) People all over the world seem to realize, “If Mufasa can visit five-star hotels in Europe then by golly, so can I!” He is loved far and wide. Not to mention the distinct brand of wisdom he seems to promote and produce.

So, I have started to collect lessons people have learned from Mufasa. This will surely be some other blog or book or something… PLEASE send me any thoughts you have on what you’ve learned from Mufasa. He’ll just love hearing from you!

I’ve learned from Mufasa that…

A pork chop won’t go down the hatch in one fell swoop. – B., Zurich

Stinky is good. Of course you should eat it.

Stick with the people who stroke you. (Or feed you. Or are doing something fun. Or look happy to see you.)

Most people are good.

If they don’t see you, it didn’t happen.

Dignity can be difficult for a dog of such dimension.
Drool happens.

…you can follow your heart – or any group of hikers that looks interesting – go have a great time, and then you can find your way back home again. And your family will then be extra happy to see you. – Beth, Boulder

It’s all about living in the Now. ‘What are we doing now?’ ‘I’m hungry now.’ ‘Ooooh, I like how you’re petting me now.’ ‘Is this the right poop spot now?’ There’s no worrying about tomorrow or yesterday, there is only now. –Stefan, Lugano This from the Man Who Didn’t Like Dogs

All we have to do is ask ourselves, “What would Mufasa do? Let’s break it down into a few key categories, ‘Can I eat it?’ ‘Can I lick it?’ ‘Will I get a treat if I do this?” – Joseph, Boulder

What have you learned from Mufasa?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Just beg long enough and hard enough, and eventually you will get it. Right!

  2. What Mufassa has said to me:

    Any friend of Rebecca’s is a friend of mine.

    Walk me – I’m yours.

    I’ll guard you from the ferocious boxer if you let me walk behind you.

    I’m so glad to see you.

  3. So great to catch up on your blog! Bill thought that the reception for your wedding looked really awesome. Congratulations! I also loved reading about the Italians view on commitment — their wedding ceremonies are so different too! Thank you for your thoughts about diet and kids. I go back and forth almost daily, but I am about to recommit to some strong boundaries. I always wanted eating to be simple and joyful. So, I am trying not to be rigid and boring. 🙂

    I love Mufasa. I would say that the lesson I learned from him is…life is good.


  4. I have learned that people let down barriers when a special animal like Mufasa moves into their space. I am so lucky to have had such adventures with Mufasa and Rebecca, now Stefan, and look forward to many more. Locating him at the airport in Zurich when they moved and being so worried about his condition when they could not seem to find him. Finally, we get to the cargo building so worried and there he was-just sitting up in the cage wagging his tail when he saw Rebecca like “OK Mom-what’s next?” And off we went to Zermatt, walking the trails at the bottom of the Matterhorn! It was there that a man said “I have never seen a dog of such grand dimension”!
    And observing the stuffiest of concierges in Bellagio come from behind their desk, stooping to their knees to welcome him to the Grand Hotel Serbelloni. All of this good-will and kind heartedness reaction is an indicator that Mufasa, and a few other animal friends with gentle hearts and diplomatic ability, could resolve the Olympic game dilemma in China along with other pressing world problems. If only dogs could rule the world!

  5. This is Jessica

    I don’t know if this is a lesson I learned from Mufasa, but a fond memory I have is of getting him riled up and barking at me. Then you clearly disapproved and he immediately settled down (so did I).

    Mufasa is very alert, attentive and responsive to those around him. How could you not love a dog like that?

  6. Oh my god! When I first read this I started crying! I’m SO happy they took it out out out. I just love him, he may smelly (and so is my butt ha ha) but boy is he a love.

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