Never Read the Ending First

Dear Reader:

I love this early photo of Poogie with Walsh and Mollie’s newest baby (since Poogie was their first) little Rutledge…the family is all looking forward but Poogie is looking backward. She’s not concerned with what lies ahead…because I suspect the photographer brought dog treats for her and she’s ‘in the moment’ vying for another a little ‘afternoon delight.’ Smile! 🙂

Two weeks ago…after the fluid around her heart had to be drained three times…Poogie bounded back in the house…saw a plate on the table with left-overs from an earlier meal and she did her Poogie “thing”…grab it right off the table.

She had already forgotten about the uncomfortable draining procedure, felt 100% better, and was ready to eat and then snooze. Poogie kept life simple…no worries about what might be or what might happen around the corner or in the future again…just happiness in the “right now.”

Aren’t we humans envious of this type of living…no worries…just happiness at eating, playing, sleeping and being loved. The closest a dog comes to worry is waiting. When you think about it…pets spend an enormous amount of their lives waiting on love (we humans) each day to return.

*In this particular photo…Poogie is waiting on Mollie or Walsh to come home and take her to the beach. They were renting a house on Isle of Palms, after their wedding, and that dog sure loved the beach…especially surfboarding with Walsh. It was a special bonding time between the two of them.

Don’t you remember, at least some of your English teachers, giving the annual lecture on the importance of not reading the end of a novel first…but if you did and then tried to write a book report about it…she would know…a thinly veiled threat.

The lecture continued with this kind of improper reading not being fair to the author or the reader. (Yet, honestly, haven’t we all done it or tried it at one time …or more?)

I would never, ever do that to a Louise Penny detective book…but admittedly I have skipped with some novels I started but didn’t find interesting enough to keep my attention.

I always feel guilty when I do this, however, and find myself, looking around expecting the secret reading police to pounce on me for this literary  indiscretion. 🙂

In the novel The Rent Collector the ‘teacher’ gives this reprimand.

” Child, unless you are opening a dictionary, you start at the book’s opening page and you read the story through. If it’s terribly dreadful, then just put it down and move on. What I will not tolerate is reading ahead. It’s not fair to the reader or the author. If they meant to have their books read backwards, they would surely have written them that way.”

I soon realized, after starting chemo and radiation treatments, plus three surgeries for breast cancer, that I no longer wanted to know the ending to my own life…predictions weren’t initially medically optimistic…but as long as only God knew when my ending would come…that left the door open for my most steadfast friend…HOPE to walk with me.

Think about it…if we were all born with a road map of our life (given to us at birth) telling us every benchmark we would encounter on our individual life’s path to our ending…(even when and how the ending would happen)…there would be no need for HOPE to even exist.

God is the author of each of our lives…and He doesn’t believe in us reading the ending first either. Like Poogie…we are supposed to live life to the fullest, stay in the moment, keep the faith that God is leading each of us to our personal destination. God’s promise to us is that He will never desert us…and will always hold our hand…no matter how challenging life’s obstacles appear.

So until tomorrow…

Personally…I would never want to know my ending. I thank God, daily, that He is the only One who knows the time and place of my last station along the tracks of life. My hope is that our spiritual “conductor” has an one-way eternal-life ticket in His Hand when my time comes.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*This was one of Poogie’s favorite days…welcoming each new “brother or sister” to the family… no jealousy…just love.

 Baby Rutledge                                     Lachlan asleep on Poogie 

Poogie entertaining Eloise


We have had showers on and off the past few days and/or evenings…I have gotten a much needed break from watering…Thank you God!

*I told Walsh that there should have been a subtitle to this post…Underneath…Never Read the Ending First...I should have written ( What We Can Learn about Life and Love from our Pets)

***A personal “shout-out” to all of you readers yesterday for your touching comments of sympathy and understanding with the loss of Poogie. It was the most-read post since the 10 Year Anniversary.

There are so many pet lovers in the world and the loss of a canine member of the family is deeply felt by all…pets are with us for such a relatively short time… but bring so much love and happiness with them when they come…and let’s face it…pets are just plain fun…they keep us laughing. Best stress-relievers around.


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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7 Responses to Never Read the Ending First

  1. Enjoy it fully 💓


  2. Nancy Chappelear says:

    Becky, You make me so glad I am able to to part of another day!!!!


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Wow…I think that is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I am honestly overwhelmed by your comment. Thank you for making my day. Appreciatively, Becky


  3. Lynn Gamache says:

    Dear Becky,
    Love this blog and what you’ve written re life lessons gained from precious family pets. . Some have cats. Dogs. Horses. Turtles. Guinea pigs. Rabbits. Budgies. Hamsters. Lambs. The list could go on and on. My most memorable pets as a child were the dogs and the lambs, because you see I grew up on two different sheep farms. First there was Fairwinds; later Silver Spray. Both were beautiful ranches bordered by the Straits of Juan de Fuca with the majestic Olympic mountains to the south. Lass was our sheepdog when we lived at Fairwinds. Years later when we tended Suffolk and Cheviot sheep at Silver Spray we had a gentle sheep dog named Queenie. Both were border collies with the inbred instincts that made them so very valuable as “farm hands” when rounding up our flocks of wooly ones, summer and winter. They were faithful, hardworking and devoted. They asked for little and gave much. From them we learned many life lessons which you might like to read about in one of my Dad’s books entitled: “Lessons from a Sheepdog”.
    P.S. the pictures with this blog today were priceless…thanks always for sharing from your heart too.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank you Lynn….what a wonderful life you had growing up…I have always been fascinated by sheepdogs and their natural instinct to keep the flocks intact….they are such beautiful creatures. God understood that man needed his “best friend’ to get through life…our own daily mentors to show us how to live. Thanks for sharing.


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