Going to the Dogs
Where has the love of a dog been all my life?! We have always had a dog, but I guess I never let myself bond with them. Or maybe, I just got busy taking care of kids and I didn’t find the time. I have no idea why I didn’t bond, but I didn’t. I cared about our Sadie. I was very sad when she died, but I didn’t bond like I should have.
Boy, have I made up for lost time. We now have a little 12 lb bundle of love named Maximus. He is the love of our (my husband and my) life! He lives his whole little life trying to please us and be with us. He’s more like a cat really. He’s perfectly happy just sitting on our lap for hours. He just wants to be with us more than anything in the world – even more than watching out the French doors for wandering cats.
This is a love like I’ve never experienced before. Sadly, my husband doesn’t rush to the door and shake with excitement when I get home (gotta say, I don’t do that for him either). My kids didn’t live to please me. In fact, I think during the years of 12 – 21, they lived to drive me crazy (it didn’t work – ha). I think we all need to have the love of a devoted pet. It is complete and pure and completely devoted. Wow. If I could love people with a tenth of that depth, I would be doing pretty darn good. So, let’s look at the love of a dog closer and see if we can learn anything from them.
They are excited to see you – every time they see you. My little guy has never once rolled his eyes at me. He’s never looked up when I come home and then gone back to what he was doing. He stops what he’s doing and he comes to see me. His eyes are dancing with excitement and he’s truly glad that I’m home. Think if we did that for our family. Think if they did that for us. Amazing. I’m going to try this. I almost always go to the door when my husband comes home, but tonight I’m going to do it with pure excitement to see him. I probably won’t shake my whole body with excited, because that would lead to another story. But, I will be truly happy to see him and I will focus my whole attention on him. Is it realistic to think I can do that every day? Nope. But, I’ll try as best as I can. And I’m hoping he does the same for me. Or, at least when Longmire or Monty Walsh aren’t on the TV.
Dogs live in the present. My dog doesn’t care what I did yesterday. He doesn’t care what I’m planning to do tomorrow. He just cares what I’m doing right now. This is something I’m actually working on now. In today’s jargon it’s called mindfulness. In a nutshell it’s about paying attention to what’s happening to you right now in the present and not worrying about past/future stuff. It’s also about NOT multi-tasking but paying attention to what you’re doing and really experiencing it. I’m working on it. Not good at it, but working on it.
Dogs don’t hold grudges. I’ve never intentionally done anything to hurt my dog, but I’ve accidentally stepped on him, cut his ear trimming him, dropped him, and forgot to feed him (it was only once and I remembered it – eventually). Don’t judge. It happens. The point is, he didn’t get mad at me. He doesn’t hold that against me. He just loves me. Boy is this one hard to do as a human. I hold grudges. If someone hurts me, it hurts a long time. I guess it’s not so much that things won’t still hurt, but eventually we have to stop blaming people for those hurts and just try to move on. Did I mention this one is hard? I’m not really sure what the best way to let go of things is, but I know the steps to happiness in my blog menu bar work. They take time and practice, but they work. Just being grateful for things associated with our hurts will help us get over them. But, it’s hard.
Dogs don’t expect anything. Holy cow am I bad at this. I expect things. I expect a lot of things. When I’m nice to people, I expect them to be nice to me. If they aren’t, I’m hurt. If I give someone something, I expect something back – even if it’s just a thank you. If I don’t get that, I’m hurt. If I say “I love you” I expect to hear that back. If I don’t get it, it hurts. Are you sensing a trend here? When my expectations aren’t met, I’m hurt. When I’m hurt, I’m not happy. I’m not saying we should lower our expectations of what people should behave like, but maybe we should change the way we think about it. People should be nice. That’s a reasonable expectation to have. But they aren’t always. So, instead of us focusing on what they “should” do, maybe we should shift our thoughts to “they are doing the best they can with what they know” and move on. I don’t mean that in a judgy, I’m better than them kind of way. I mean that in a give them a break, kind of way. We are all just doing the best we can with what we know. I’m pretty darn sure I’ve hurt people about a trillion times in my life. That’s a lot. I’m also pretty darn sure I’ve rarely meant to hurt them. It’s usually ignorance, carelessness or something else, but not intentional. This really goes with step 2 of the steps to happiness. People don’t mean to hurt us, so we have to find a way to let it go. Hard one. Hard one. Hard one.
Dogs don’t care what you look like. They don’t care what you’ve achieved. They don’t care what you do for a living. They also don’t care what they look like. They don’t care if they just rolled in a dead animal. They just care that you love them. Boy can we all use this in our lives. And you know what, I think we humans are pretty good at this and we are pretty bad at this. My husband could care less what my hair looks like or what my outfit looks like. He loves me and he doesn’t really care about the other stuff. So why do I stress so much about my hair and what I look like. I don’t care what other people look like. I don’t care what other people wear. Why do I care so much about what they think of me? Beats me. I need to be more dog-like. I need to quit caring what people think and be happy with me. I’ll get back to you on when that happens. Don’t hold your breath. Although, I’m getting a teensy bit better. I recently stopped styling my hair before work. I wash it and let it go! Very freeing and something I would NEVER have done just 6 months ago. But, when I changed jobs, I changed hair. I don’t think I look as good, but my life is much easier and I like that.
Last but not least, if I don’t give my Maximus the attention he wants, he will crawl right up me and stare me down. Did I mention he is very cat-like? Of course I’m sitting on the recliner when he does this, but you get the picture. He demands my attention. He gives me his whole heart and he demands some attention from me. We all need to do this. I’m not saying you need to crawl up people and stare them down until they pet you, but you need to let the people you love know when you feel neglected. I’m bad with this one too. Jeesh, am I good at anything? I have a hard time demanding attention from people. But I need to. When I feel neglected I need to let people know (in a loving kinda way – not in a scream fest). It’s just part of caring for our relationship. It will strengthen our love for each other instead of causing resentment and anger. Yep. I’m trying this one out.
So, after all this talking, it boils down to this. If someone calls you a dog – thank them. We should all be like dogs.
So what do you think? Do you agree? Do you have any questions burning a hole through your brain that you want to ask, but you’re afraid to? Ask away! No judging here.
Wishing you all the peace and love in the world,