Marion Witte

August 7, 2018

Stewie – An Old Teacher

Filed under: Stewie — Marion Witte @ 1:13 pm

Stewie (aka Jon Stewart) is my 12-pound ShihTzu, and he came into my world about five years ago. He has given me the opportunity to think more profoundly about our personal histories, and how they play out in our current lives.

He and I are kindred spirits, as there is a special language between us. Stewie came off the streets of West Los Angeles, dumped there when he was about two.  When we found each other, he was scraggly (actually homely if I’m totally honest) and he had a variety of health problems.  I cannot imagine what it was like for him to be rummaging for food and shelter, and fending off dogs ten times his size.

Nevertheless, he survived.

Recently Stewie went blind. Even so, he has adjusted amazingly well to his new world – it is I who cried for two weeks upon finding out this news!   Watching Stewie cope with his sight impairment has taught me so much about how he gets on with life (regardless of what has come before) by using all that is available to him right now. Does he see the water dish when he steps in it and knocks it over? No. Does he care? No.  When I witness his actions, I am concerned, but Stewie just goes on with his life, not giving a care about what I perceive as his “handicap.”

When I look at him I wonder what he would tell me if he could relay his back-story. Then I realize that I don’t really need to know the details, as his story plays itself out in his behavior. When he first came into my life, he was skittish, tentative and he would pull his head away when I tried to pet him – those actions told me everything I needed to know.

I wondered if he had strayed away from a loving home – although his actions when I found him contradict that idea. I pondered if he ran away from an abusive situation, willing to wander dangerous streets in search of a better life. That scenario makes more sense to me.

And even now, I watch as he is still willing to approach everyone, his tail wagging and waiting for the obligatory pat on the head. If he does not get what he needs, he moves on, not concerned about whether someone likes him or not, just looking for the next loving soul.  If he senses any type of danger, he removes himself from the situation.

Stewie has to navigate the world a little different now than he did before – yet he is the same dog in the most important aspects. I am the one who is different, because of what he has taught me over the years. These blessed little souls do not judge you.  They don’t care about your view of the world, and they don’t leave you if you don’t always follow their plan.  They just listen, look at you compassionately, and love you.

By the way, what a wonderful world this would be if humans would do the same.

My father was blinded in a farming accident when he was three years old, yet he remains my “constant and forever” teacher and mentor, although he has been gone for many years. He taught me how to “see” things that most sighted people miss.  At times, I find it ironic that a blind dog would come into my life to take over my father’s instructional role.

Maybe, just maybe, it was our destiny.


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  1. Dogs are the best people I know.

    Comment by Kaila Kaden — August 7, 2018 @ 2:54 pm

  2. He is without a doubt your little soul mate. So blessed to have each other. Proud friend to have gotten to know him. His little spirit is in my prayers. Give him a hug for me ❣

    Comment by Catalina — August 7, 2018 @ 6:14 pm

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