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An Unexpected Lesson from the Puppy Professors

The Puppy Professors

I have two very strange dogs. I love them both dearly, but they’re just total weirdos. I’ve been sitting here trying to think of what to write and I’ve managed to come up with a couple promising ideas, but as soon as I’d pick up my computer, the boys would come up and demand attention. I have a rather small couch, I mean like compact-love-seat small. So, when my two Pit/Lab mixes get demanding about attention and climb up on the couch with me, writing anything, or even texting, is totally out of the question. Hell, even breathing can be a challenging prospect. Oh yah, and my cat is up here too, chillin’ next to me but, like all the cats I’ve ever had, he couldn’t care less what the dogs or I are doing so long as he doesn’t get stepped on.

Caving into their insistent demands, I allocated one hand to each and gave them both a nice thorough rub down until they got tired of being squished on to the couch with me and hopped down. Then I’d resume pondering my options for topics and when I came up with something, I’d once again pick up the computer. As soon as I would flip down the keyboard and set the computer on my lap, back they’d come. This happened several times, each time it was at the exact moment I set the computer on my lap.

The last time they hopped down and curled up in their favorite spots in the living room, I thought to myself, “I think they’re trying to tell me something, they must want me to write about them I guess”. So, I once again picked up my computer, keeping a suspicious eye on Anubis (he’s the older of the two by two months and if I pay him any attention at all, Horus comes running so he isn’t left out) I set the computer down and flipped down the keyboard. He picked up his head and looked right at me to which I said “ok, I hear ya, I’ll tell people about you two meatheads” and I swear he smiled at me and put his head back down.

I’ve never seen such an expression on his face before but, I swear, that dog just smiled at me! As I started writing a couple paragraphs ago, I had no clue what I could possibly talk about related to the pups that would be at all useful except perhaps as an excuse for you all to laugh and point out how insane I must be to have two puppies, a cat, 3 snakes, AND a 5-yr old. But, as I continued to write, several ideas seemed to sort of form in my mind.

The first of these was the concept of letting go of our need to try and control every aspect of our lives and just going with the flow. Rather than letting myself get frustrated with the pups’ constant interruptions I decided to just laugh at their silliness and spend some time paying attention to them and giving them a little bit of love. Would it really have made a difference if I had started writing that first time I picked up the computer? It’s not like I have a real deadline to finish this up for the evening so, no, it wouldn’t have mattered at all.

On the other hand, I could have chosen to tell them to “fuck off” and had to see their sad, dejected puppy eyes and started off my post for tonight in a bit of a funk. That would have sucked! And I suspect it would have had a less than desirable impact on what I ended up writing.

Unconditional Love

The second idea that occurred to me shortly after I began was the concept of unconditional love. There’s nothing quite like the love of a dog! Multiply that by two and its damn near impossible not to smile and laugh as they clumsily try to climb all over me with tails wagging like crazy, so excited to just get a bit of my attention for a few minutes. That’s all they need to be happy, just a few minutes of attention and in return they love me like no one’s business!

I took them to the dog park yesterday and then we stopped at the pet store for some food (they go through a 55-pound bag every week and a half or so) and with as seriously as they were taking their jobs letting everyone know I was their person and not to mess with me, I might as well have been the president as far as they were concerned.

In this busy world we inhabit these days, we can get caught up in the high-speed life style and neglect to love ourselves. We can spend so much time worrying about taking care of our kids and being there for our friends and family that we seem to forget how to receive love in return. I know they say, “it’s better to give than receive” and I can totally agree in the material sense. I love giving gifts whenever possible but please, don’t give me anything unless it’s something I’ve specifically asked for, I have enough shit as it is and don’t need any more!

With love though, both giving AND receiving are equally important for us to stay healthy and balanced. Dogs can be quite good at helping us with that. They’re good for occasionally forcing you to stop and let them show you how much they love you. When 200-pounds or so of pit-pups decide they wanna let you know you’re loved, it’s hard to argue with!

Just Be

The third thing that occurred to me shortly after I started writing was the importance of sometimes just stopping for a few minutes to enjoy your many blessings and just BE in gratitude for a little bit. We can get so caught up in our own expectations of ourselves and what we think others are expecting from us that we end up “should-ing all over ourselves”. Just read that last part out loud once or twice. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Sounds a bit like “shitting all over ourselves” right? It doesn’t feel much better either (I’m using my imagination here, it’s not something I’ve done, at least not since I learned how to make use of a toilet). Feeling like we should be doing something, and that we are not, tends to engender a feeling like we’re failing, or in some way letting others or ourselves down. No one wants to feel like a failure, it’s a shitty way to feel. Plus, it doesn’t do anything positive for you. Yah, it may make you want to do something differently but why not just want to do something different and feel good about that part and leave the negative feelings out of it?

Most of the trivial things that we let ourselves feel bad about because we think we should be doing them at any given moment turn out to be tiny little insignificant things in the grand scheme of things. Not everything of course, but probably the vast majority of them. This is another thing the boys helped me remember tonight, to just relax, not worry about thinking “I should be writing right now” and just enjoy myself for a few minutes. The writing could wait and hopefully was better as a result. I feel pretty good and I hope I’ve given you something to think about that just maybe you can use to make your own life a little bit better, so I think that’s about all I can hope for!

Thanks for reading and I hope you can find a few minutes to just enjoy being you today! If you can’t think of anything, know that I am grateful for you, whoever you are, and I appreciate you! You’ve chosen to give me some of your time, a resource you can’t get back and for that I do, most sincerely, appreciate every one of you!