JOHN EGGERS COLUMN: It pays to lead a dog’s life

Take their advice: help others, exercise daily, find something to look forward to, relax and enjoy the day, and find someone to love.

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John Eggers

It has been a while since I told you about the happenings of our two golden retrievers, Simon and Simone.

Here is the latest news. Simon also has some advice for our graduates.

Simon is now 12, and his daughter, Simone, is about 10. Like humans, their hair is beginning to turn white or gray. They walk slower and are not quite as energetic as they once were.

Still, when I say, "Let’s go for a walk!" they wag their tails, get excited, and give me a look that says, "Well, it’s about time."

They could, of course, go for a walk on their own whenever they go outside. Instead, they relegated me to be their activity director many years ago, and I accepted it, not realizing it would be a lifetime appointment.


Both are good dogs and intelligent. Remember, Simon wrote his own story a few years ago called "Simon Says."

In that book, he talked about his life, how he was the last of the litter to be chosen, and how much he would miss his mother but was happy that someone loved him. Little did he realize that he was living out the Biblical passage, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Simon’s patience paid off because his new home is on the shores of a beautiful lake. As they say, Simon has it made in the shade, which is where you can find him in the summer.

He has a warm place to live in the winter and a cool place to live in the summer. He receives the best medical care, has a playmate to share his life with, and has a lifelong activity director. Plus, he can go swimming any time of the day.

Simon fathered Simone a couple of years after he came to live with us. His daughter inherited Simon’s genial nature and more. She is the nicest animal anyone could hope for.

She comes when she is called, will bring you any socks or towels not put away, and loves to roll in the snow or grass, especially after taking a cool dip in the lake.

Both dogs weigh about 100 pounds each. Kathy, my wife, makes sure they don’t get too much to eat, and I fulfill my "dog’s best friend" obligation by ensuring they get some snacks now and then — sooner than later.

Simon is genuinely Kathy’s best friend. He will rest on either side of her wheelchair and often gets directly under it, much, very much, to Kathy’s consternation.


Wherever Kathy is, that’s where you can find Simon.

Like older people, Simon is feeling the pain of arthritis, which restricts his movement. Instead, he would rest under her chair, but after several commands, "Simon, please move!" he reluctantly gets up and relaxes in a space where Kathy intended to go.

Such is the life around golden retrievers. They are addicted to people.

I think if God were to answer the question, "How should we behave toward others?" he would say, "Act like a golden retriever."

Dogs are not only intelligent; they often show us wisdom. Simon recently told me, "I have some advice to share with our high school and college graduates."

"Just like I was meant to serve others, you are also meant to help others. Every graduate should join a service organization like Lions, Rotary, Eagles, Elks, etc. Remember, when we become last by giving of ourselves, we shall become first.

"Get some exercise every day. It will add years to your life, even just 15 or 30 minutes. Even if you don’t have an activity director, take a daily stroll through the park or around the block.

"Have something to look forward to every day. It may be visiting a friend, reading a book, watching a movie, fishing, or getting snacks from your activity director.


"Relax and enjoy the day. If you are spiritual, realize that the Creator handles all your problems. Worry, stress, and anxiety are pointless because they never solve anything. Life is too short to worry. Relax, take it easy. Life goes on. Sit in the shade. Let the Creator worry for you.

"Find somebody to love. The worst John and Kathy can do to us is leave for the day. We need someone to love and someone to show love in return."

Simon and Simone would agree that it doesn’t pay to worry about your finances, career, or where you live; those things are secondary. They will take care of themselves.

Take their advice: help others, exercise daily, find something to look forward to, relax and enjoy the day, and find someone to love. Simon and Simone would wholeheartedly agree because they, more than anyone else, know that it pays to lead a dog’s life.

Riddle: What do you get when you cross a dog and a clock? (Answer: Lots and lots of ticks.) You also get lots of hours of love and devotion.


I want to thank Northern Rides auto shop for putting up 100% graduation posters.

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

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