My dog is the smartest person I know…and he’s not even that smart for a dog.
I need to start operating more like him and less like me.
If my dog needs to go outside, he taps his claw on the door. If he wants a piece of my sandwich, he lays down at my feet and shoots laser beams at me with his eyes. If he wants a snuggle, he comes and pops his head under my arm, flipping it off the computer or the book I’m holding repeatedly until I pet him to his satisfaction.
If I want something, the first thought in my mind is, should I want that? My next thought is, probably not. And my final thought is, damn, I never get what I want.
2) He doesn’t care how he looks (or smells, but maybe I can bypass that one).
My dog could have a big loogie hanging from his lip, deer poop smeared on his neck, sleep crusted around his eyes and a bright pink sweater on, and he’d still be ready to go out to dinner. I admire that. Though I often leave the house in a similar state of disarray, I care, and that really just ends up being a huge energy suck.
I need to develop a canine attitude of nonchalance. To know that, despite my bed head, bitten cuticles and wrinkled shirt, it’s me which makes me endearing, not some smear of lipstick I may or may not take five seconds to swipe across my chapped lips.
Dogs come into this world radiating love and they assume that love will be reciprocated. They continue to assume this, unless some Michael Vic type of asshole does something like light them on fire, until the day they die.
I, on the other hand, believe I have to earn love, and that I’m generally falling short of doing what it takes for the pay out. How did that happen? No one has to earn love. We have to earn money, wisdom and possibly respect, but not love.
4) He has great breath.
I don’t mean his breath smells great—it most certainly does not, and this is one of the few ways in which I am smarter than him—I mean he breathes well. He has big natural belly breaths that any yogi would be proud of. In fact, a human being who breathed that way would undoubtedly become a yoga-lebrity overnight, just based on their extraordinary skill with pranayama.
5) He believes he is normal.
My dog never forces himself to do things he doesn’t want to do, or tries to excuse the things he does want to do. His desires are, to him, expected, acceptable and attainable.
He doesn’t feel bad if he wants to eat a giant turkey leg, it doesn’t bother him if he needs a big nap even though he hasn’t accomplished much yet that day, and he doesn’t apologize for insisting he be taken out for a walk.
Imagine the glorious freedom of never feeling guilt. No wait, I can’t! I feel guilty even imagining it– it’s that delicious.
6) He is always grateful.
I give him a treat, he wags his tail. I give him a pet, his kisses my face. I bring him to the woods, he gives me that look– you know the one. It’s like he has a big cartoon bubble over his head with the words “Mother, you are the very best, most wonderful and perfect woman in the world. Thank you,” inside.
He is grateful for each and every simple, small and uncomplicated gesture I offer him. He never misinterprets my love (well, maybe at the vet, but no one is perfect—except me, in his eyes), and he is just happy each day he wakes up, the sun rises and he is alive.
I could stand to cultivate a bit more of that attitude, and I’m already reasonably grateful, for a human. His gratitude is on a whole other level, and I think I could probably kick my own thankful quotient up a notch or two.
Maybe, if I’m lucky, in my next life I’ll get to be a dog. In the meantime, I plan to acting more like one and less like the paranoid, guilt racked, shallow breathing ingrate that I tend to be.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise