We don't really know what we have until we are about to lose it!
The other day our old dog, well he's twelve now, started having fits. This as you can imagine was a most upsetting sight, and it's hard because your first thought is to comfort them to try to ease the distress. But of course they are not necessarily aware of what is happening, or who is friend or foe, so could quite easily turn on you.
So we took him off to the vet, getting ourselves ready for the fact that we probably wouldn't be bringing him back alive. This is a time which concentrates the mind when you contemplate the thought of him not being there any more; all his little antics, expressions, affection, and yes, his miserable attitude to having his feet wiped on a rainy day. Ah, the battles of wills that have taken place in our house.
It was thought he had suffered a slight stroke and then started the fits. If this was the case then there was the possibility of treatment and recovery. So as the old dog is a fighter we were glad to give him another chance. At the time of writing this he's spaced out on Valium and communication between brain and legs is not good. Fingers crossed things will improve.
It's not until you lose, or come close to losing, someone or something that you appreciate just how much they really mean to you. We go along day after day accepting that they are just there giving us their love, care, and companionship. So it would seem a good idea to tell them or show them now, today, just how much you appreciate them.
Much the same goes for an attractive countryside, village, or town. One does however have to remember that most places have to be a working environment for the area to survive, and cannot always be the picture postcard frozen in time. We must appreciate that although a building may be run down and offend our eye, it may be that the owner is unable to fund the renovation to the standard that some listed buildings require. It might be better to have, rather than a 'naming and shaming' policy, a more diplomatic approach to see if assistance is needed and from whence it might be obtained.
We do not always appreciate how our words or actions affect others. Whether it be noise, litter, bad language, bad manners, greed, selfishness, bullying or whatever. All of this hurts someone else in some way.
Two old sayings come to mind. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' And 'Manners maketh man.' it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown; it costs nothing to be pleasant and say thank you. Seems like a good bargain to me.
So let's appreciate the good that's around us, and appreciate that we can make other people's lives miserable by our lack of appreciation for their feelings. You will of course appreciate that it's a lot of appreciation, but I'm sure you will appreciate the abundant use of the word, being such appreciative readers.
My final appreciation is for the Village Pump and all connected with it, as it celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary, may there be many more to come. RG
Editor's postscript. Sam, the dog in question, appears to have made a full recovery.