As we approach Thanksgiving, I am reminded that this will be the first time in seventeen years that ‘the boy’ (our Chinese Shar Pei) will not be with us. While it has been an adjustment, it is also a reminder that everything is ephemeral.
That is what inspired me to craft this post:
Five Things I Learned From My Dog:
1. Be kind but Aloof to Strangers: When out for walks, ‘the boy’ would always (as he got older and wiser), study any on-coming walkers / dogs, etc. It was remarkable to watch. As the ‘stranger’ approached he would rotate his hind quarters to be in juxtaposition so he was always ‘ready’. Once he realized the party was a ‘friendly’, he would get down on the ground and play. Always take time to play.
2. Be Mindful: We are fortunate to look onto a small lake in FL. ‘The boy’ loved to spend time sitting in our screened area just watching and thinking. We are all connected in one way or another – it is important to watch and think of others… It is the foundation for empathy.
3. Just Breathe: At the end of the day, I dare say every day, there was always a time that ‘the boy’ would come to lay beside you and upon getting as close as possible, take a deep breath and then let out a big exhale (try it right now – you will be amazed how refreshing it is). It was the penultimate example of being in the present moment.
4. Reject Dogma: We get a lot of rain in FL. Our neighbors are always walking their dogs in the rain. For ‘the boy’ he could see all of these other dogs walking in the rain through a special side window we had for him to ‘observe’) and while normally, he would want to go out to hang with other dogs, he did not align with this norm (I swear he could cork it for days. As is the case with a productive life, we need to challenge dogma and do what is right – right at this point in time.
5. Wag Your Tail: As someone who is on the road a great deal, it is always nice to come home. ‘The boy’ was always happy to see me when I walked in the door – be it a day trip or a week away. I recommend we do that for everyone in our lives no matter how long it has been that you have been apart.
Thinking… If we were all to put these practices in place that our dogs teach us, it would be a great place to live and work.
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