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Be Like Bandy

When things get hard, go harder, and it just might get easier

By John Jarvis

Working from home in the midst of this crisis is hard. It is hard to focus. It is hard to stay motivated. It is hard not to worry about the spread of COVID-19 and how the world in which we live will have been forever changed when we finally emerge from this self-induced isolation.

In dark and challenging times, leaders step forward and character is revealed. We can learn a lot from watching others who have, perhaps, found a way to carry on in spite of obstacles. I find that kind of inspiration in our three-legged rescue dog, Bandy.

We already had a four-legged dog, a Portuguese Water Dog named Jackson. As a breed, they tend to be expensive, so we weren’t looking for another one when my wife got the email about sweet Bandy, who had been in a rollover car accident, stuck inside her crate and thrown from the car, losing a hind leg as a result. Sara said yes, we’d take her, and now we have two Portuguese Water Dogs.

When we took her in, she was terribly feeble. She didn’t move well at all. When she would walk, her stride was a full circular contortion of her body, as she worked to drag her hind leg forward while skidding her undercarriage along on the ground beneath her. It was really sad to watch.

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I bought her a “doggie wheelchair,” the kind with two wheels and a canopy for her hind quarters to rest on, but she wanted nothing to do with it. She would just shake and quiver and refuse to move every time I put her in it. What to do?

One day I was so sad and frustrated that I just picked her up and put her in the car with Jackson and me. Pre-Bandy, Jack and I had a wonderful routine of running on the beach in the evening. This night Bandy was coming with us. I had no idea how this was going to work out.

And here is the crazy thing. This feeble dog that couldn’t walk? She could run! In the forgiving sand near the water’s edge she would chase after the ball like a bat out of hell. And, man, how she loved it. She’d come back and drop the ball and bark and spin around and smile and bark. There is some kind of crazy physics at play where being “at speed”—in the rotating cycle of legs pulling and reaching and stretching out—the missing hind leg isn’t even a thing. At speed, she finds her center of gravity as she leans forward with the beautiful poise of a dog at full sprint. It is truly wonderful to watch.

Bandy runs the beach with us every evening now. And she gets herself up into the backseat of the car now too. Jackson still gets the front seat, where he stands with his head out of the window. Jack has been generous in sharing his family with Bandy, but the front seat remains exclusively his. Which is OK. Bandy doesn’t much like going near the window anyway, I fear it stems from past trauma.

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And here is the thing. This three-legged dog isn’t just surviving, she is thriving. She is living her best life every day. She reminds me of the power of attitude. And the power of gratitude. She certainly has an abundance of both. And she reminds me that even though what we are all going through right now is hard, it could always be harder, so let’s just do our best to be grateful and get to work. And isn’t it cool to think that sometimes, when it is hard to walk, we can try to run instead? That when things get hard, we can go harder, and it just might get easier! How cool is that. Thanks Bandy.

Yeah, these Portuguese Water Dogs can be expensive. I sometimes joke that we got Bandy for 25% off. And she was worth every penny.


John Jarvis is a senior vice president of Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company specializing in tenant representation and building purchases with offices across the nation. Contact John at 1-844-662-6635 or john@hughesmarino.com to learn more.

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