Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lessons Learned From a Puppy

Life at our house has become even more chaotic, but it is good chaos. Last week we got a new puppy. It’s been about eight years since our last puppy. Nothing in this world is cuter or more fun than a puppy. While puppies are fun, I guess eight years is enough time to forget about how destructive a puppy can be. No object, animal or human is safe.
For those of you who might be worried, Killer, the cow dog, is in good health. He seems to be less than impressed with his promotion to senior cow dog and puppy trainer. This could be because his tail has also become a puppy chew toy just like our shoes or it could be because he has to share ear rubbing and chin scratching. He spends most of his time staying out of reach and casting disdainful glances at the newest addition.
We welcomed Ida, junior cow dog in training, and I have a feeling that life will never be the same. While I grumble about the chewed shoes (which I am reminded that I can put them up away from puppy teeth) and the surprise land mines left on the deck (which I am also reminded that I could walk the puppy more often) I had forgotten how much fun a puppy can be. Ida has also reminded me of lessons we can learn from a puppy.
The first thing I have learned from Ida is to tackle anything without fear. Never mind that the cat is bigger than you are, you can take him down with one leap. Sure those sheep are ten times your size but a fierce bark and growl will show them who the boss is. How often do we let a big obstacle stop us in our tracks, when if we would meet it head on and show no fear, it would turn and run.
Play hard and nap even harder. Wrestling cats, chasing sheep and chewing on anything that doesn’t move requires a lot of energy. It is necessary to find a good shady, cool spot for a long mid morning, early afternoon, late afternoon and evening nap. Too often we forget that we too need to rest and re-energize. We push ourselves to the limit chasing our tail (now I am talking about us and not Ida) without ever finding that shady spot to recharge our batteries.
Always show your appreciation and admiration for the people in your life. No matter where they have been or how long they have been gone greet them at the top of the stairs with a wagging tail and enthusiasm. Who knows they might even feed you. Just think about it, if we met our family with the same joy and excitement your dog does how much happier we would all be. No talking about bad days or chores that need to be done; just excitement and happiness because they are there.
Finally, approach everything like it is new. Be excited about the world around you, look at everything like it is the first time you have ever seen it. Chase everything that moves and bark at anything that doesn’t. Make sure you look at all that is around you like it is new. How much more fulfilling would our lives be if we looked at the world around us with the excitement of seeing it for the first time.
OK, so I know that living life like a puppy may not be an option or even socially acceptable. However, I wonder just how much happier we would all be if we would try to apply some of these traits to our lives. Too often I think we get too caught up our hectic lives when we would all be happier if we would just play harder and make more time for naps. Now if only I could listen to my own advice.
In the meantime I will try to spend more time with Ida. I don’t know what it is about a puppy that makes stress melt away, but just try to be stressed when you are around one. As for Ida, I am sure she is chewing on a shoe, chasing a cat or harassing Killer or taking a nap. It is such a hard life.

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