Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why My Dog Is A Better Person Than I Am

I’ve recently been spending my free time reading and absolutely awesome book,The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski.  I could try to explain to you just how much I am loving this book, but I know I wouldn’t do it justice.  Just take my advice and read it if you haven’t already.
My husband called me on his lunch break today just to chat (He’s sweet, isn’t he?), only to find me an emotional mess.  You see, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is a book with some bewitching characters, many of which are of the canine variety.  Stories about dogs get me.  They can turn me into a soppy emotional goopy mess.  My husband happened to catch me shortly after reading a particularly heart-wrenching chapter.  I had been bawling fr almost a half hour.  My teenaged son was convinced I’d lost it.  Crying over a book.  Sheesh.  What a weird mother he has.
Keith warned me about reading dog books.  But I just explained that if they weren’t beautiful, they wouldn’t dip into that wellspring of emotion.  I read them because they are beautiful, and sometimes that beauty makes me sad.
Dogs are wonderfully beautiful animals (and I’m not just talking about physical beauty here).  I’m blessed to have had many in my life.  currently it is our big goober of a Seams, an Australian Shepherd mix.  Sometimes I prefer the company of a good dog to the company to most people.  In fact, I aspire to be the kind of decent person my dog already is.
Here are some of the qualities I wish to cultivate that my dog has already mastered.
1.  Not taking yourself too seriously.  At this, my dog is an expert.  He jumps and plays.  Shows unmatched enthusiasm at the sight of his people.  He doesn’t mind hanging out with the cat.  He howls and chases his tail and snaps at bugs all without caring about hs image, without a hint of concern for who is watching him.  He is the most un-selfconscious person I know. 
2. Unconditional Love.  Seamus doesn’t care if I scold him, accidentally step on his tail while I’m cooking dinner, or forget to fill his water dish.  He will still be waiting patiently outside the bathroom door when I’ve finished my shower, abundantly happy to see me and wondering why I took so long.  And he looks at me with those bg brown eyes like I’m the most amazing person in the whole world, even when I royally screw up.  It’s the kind of loyal and unshakable love I wish to convey to my children and the other special people in my life.
3. Finding joy in the little things.  For Seamus there’s nothing like a romp in the grass, a swim in the river, or a good scratch behind the ear.  The simple everyday beauties of life are right in front of me, but I sometimes miss them in search of bigger things.  I want to feel the same kind of exuberant joy that big brown hairball feels when he just gets to ride in the car, just because I’m going for a ride in the car.
4. It’s okay to just be.  My dog doesn’t do much.  He doesn’t have the responsibility of herding sheep or fighting crime, but he seems perfectly okay with that.  He’s content to power nap in the afternoon, chew on hs bone, or just curl up on the couch and sigh.  He’s happy to be a dog, happy to just be alive.  I often need to remind myself that my worth isn’t in how much I accomplish.  It’s okay for m to just enjoy being alive without having to constantly check things off of my to-do list.  I am a human being, not a human doing.   Maybe that’s why the “being” part is attached to the human part.  To remind us to “be”.  Dogs don’t need the reminder.  They’ve already got that part down.

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