Jul 14, 2008

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Love Like A Dog

            I’ve come to accept that dogs and kids are often my best teachers.  There seems to be a lot of wisdom gained from observing those who act from someplace other than their head.     

For example, when I get home, regardless of when that is, my 80-pound Labradoodle, DJ, comes bursting out of the house, he is not thinking “you’re late” or “have you been out playing with other dogs?”  No, he is genuinely glad to see me.  I know this because he shows up every time with two to three tennis balls in his mouth and dutifully stands there until I take them and throw them, over and over again until he just gets exhausted  or, on the rare occasion, he finds something else that peeks his interest.  Our relationship is in the moment.  The best emotional connections are like that.  There is no yesterday, no tomorrow. There is just now.  And if now feels good, my dog keeps doing it until it stops being satisfying.  So imagine your relationships were like that?

 

Imagine if you gave your self  permission to be in a relationship because you enjoyed it.   I don’t think DJ feels obligated to chase the balls I throw.  I think he does it first because it is something he loves and in part because it gives him a sense of purpose.

 

Now I know the notion of doing something solely becasue you enjoy it sounds a little hedonistic but there is another side to the relationship.  DJ is loyal to me and that loyalty is unconditional.  If I chose not to throw him a ball one night he will still follow me into the house and sit by my feet.  If I put my face in front of his, he’ll lick it.  As far as I can tell, he doesn’t hold a grudge.  After all why should he?  I know where to scratch behind his ear.  I know the little things that make him happy, like spooning peanut butter inside the hollow of his bone.  Thee bond of the relationship is he remembers those things I do for him that he loves and more importantly, he quickly forgets those things I do thta he does not like.  Again, imagine the way you would view your relationships if you cherished the good stuff and quickly disregarded the bad.  After all if you really think about, most of the good stuff is done through intention, while the bad usually stems from some thoughtless happenstance that rarely get repeated.

 

So how do I know DJ and I have such a great relationship?  Well  the introduction of a second dog into the house last year didn’t change anything.  DJ still comes out hoping I’ll throw a few balls.  The little guy, a springer spaniel, has boundless energy but he knows that the ball throwing is something special between me and DJ.  All during the back and forth, the Springer, Patsy, just runs around joyously in pointless circles, happy to be there.  There will be times when I turn my attention to Patsy and DJ seems happy for a chance to catch his breath.  The two of them understand the pecking order and no one is looking to change anything.  DJ is still my dog and he knows that I will always be there for him.   Our relationship has become  a happy little threesome and who can argue with that?. 

 

 

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