I took our 14-year-old, 80-pound black lab “Chance” for a backyard walk. He’s full of aches and pains, but he still loves life, everyone and everything.

In front of us lay a big, beautiful red robin, apparently killed during an early morning storm. Chance gently picked up and brought the bird to me. With pleading eyes and manner, he seemed to be saying, “Fix him.” I said, “I can’t,” and had him lay the bird down and promised to bury him later.

Chance and the bird had been hardcore rivals (but friendly), chasing each other, with Chance barking and running wildly while the robin buzzed him over and over. They respected each other but maintained their own individuality while reacting to each other. With his rival down, Chance wanted to help despite their conflict.

I took a step back and through, “What a great lesson for people.” We can be hardcore but friendly rivals with everyone, but when there is a need in them, we should respond 100 percent to help them in any way possible.

Otherwise, we let them down but, sadly, we let our own selves down even more.

Animals, especially, but all of life teaches us something every day. Hopefully, let us all be aware of it.

Jim Zak

North Riverside