So there I was was, slouched on the sofa, not really watching TV because the dogs were busy playing the “Ner Ner, I’ve Got The Ball Now” game. I was mulling over what to write about as a Featured Guest on Pibbles & Me. Maybe something uplifting and kinda spiritual? Or how about something funny about human nature? My thoughts got side tracked when the ball landed in my lap. Two panting faces sat waiting for me. I rolled my eyes, chucked the ball and watched them race after it.
Where was I? Right. Guest post.
I turned off the TV and trudged into the kitchen. A change of scenery would help kick my brain into gear. A shredded box of Cornflakes covered most of the kitchen floor. As I gathered the remains together and dropped them in the bin I watched the dogs playing in the back garden. Bouncing. Chasing. Laughing – I mean barking. Running.
We have two lovable rogues. Tilly, a gorgeous silky black thing, some kind of Retriever/Labrador crossed with Orang-utan and Ninja. She’s very wild, bouncy, licky, loves belly rubs and sticking her paws in your face. Ben, in the photo above, is Boxer/Border Terrier cross, and lives life at a hundred miles an hour, has a thing for barking at other dogs, but it’s his way of saying: “Hey, look! Another dog. Wanna go play! Wanna! Awww, why can’t I play now?”
They skidding to their water bowl for a much needed drink.
Come to think of it I was pretty thirsty too. Fridge. Coke. Glass. Gulp. Much better. Ben gave me a look as if to say: “Being a dog is thirsty work, right?” I scratched him behind the ear and off he went, tail whipping through the air, sniffing, bouncing, enjoying life.
Must be great fun being a dog.
They were distracting me from figuring out those wise words needed for my Featured Guest post. Must make a good impression. No way can I write down a load of jumbled nonsense. Pen and paper. Get some bullet points down. Brainstorm. That’s the trick. I don’t usually worry about what to write about on my own blog, but this seemed like a big deal.
Sat in the back garden I wrote the following bullets:
- Life. (something quirky)
- Inspiration. (uplifting and just nice)
- Humour (fo shizzle!)
- Dog food.
- Orange squash.
Then I did a little cartoon doodle of Ben wearing a bowler hat and climbing a ladder with Tilly driving a car. I zoned out for a while then realised I’d written a shopping list and then got distracted again. We have a small clamshell paddling pool in the summer for the dogs to play in. Ben doesn’t seem to like it very much but Tilly can’t keep out of it. In and out. Snout bubbling away as she tries to bite reflections on the water.
Ben dropped a soggy ball in my lap, gave me a short huff and sat waiting. “C’mon. Throw the ball. You know you want to.” I tossed it in the air and he wagged his tail. And away he went with a little bark that signalled to Tilly: “Ner Ner, I’ve got the ball now! Leave the water alone and come play!”
Happy dogs don’t worry about much do they?
And then it hit me. Well loved dogs like ours have a great life so why not write about them? They happy, full of life, playful, thoughtful, emotionally in tune with those around them (yep, I truly believe that) and they can show us silly humans a thing or two about making the most out of every day. So what can they teach us about life that we don’t already know?
Turns out, plenty. Well. Maybe not teach, more remind us that life can be about the moment, about the little things, about making real connections – the ones that matter like a quick hug or eye contact that shares an emotional link or thought. So let’s take a quick look at the stuff dogs do that we should too.
The fact that we don’t have tails isn’t important. Dogs are able to give so many signals with just their tails. A good helicopter waggy tail, like Bens, says he’s happy, excited, eager, ready to play and so on. Dog’s aren’t as closed off as humans. Maybe they don’t know how to be. I’m glad they’re not. But I wish humans weren’t either. Our smiles are our tails, not limited to the mouth but the eyes can smile too. If you’re happy share it with others. Dogs do. They remind us that we should share our smiling tails with others, that by showing a stranger a smile it can impact on their emotions and give them a boost, and in turn they might do the same to the next person they see, and so on. It’s all about paying it forward.
Wag your smile!
The patience game.
I might be busy, watching the end of an episode of Game of Thrones, or finishing off an email, and I’ll become aware that there’s a little brown face waiting beside me. I glance down and see a little flick of tail, eager eyes and a low whine. Ben has plopped his ball beside me and is sat waiting. I say: “Wait. Just finishing this off.” He chuffs at me and waits. He knows he’ll get his ball in a moment. Then he’s rewarded for his patience when I throw it for him. Too often humans show little or no patience.
The world has become a Want It Now – Expect It Now place with little evidence of patience. We want things done now and when they’re not we get hacked off. Why can’t we be patient? Have we lost the ability to slow down and accept that not everything in life has to happen the instant we want it to? The next time you expect something to happen immediately bear in mind that nothing good comes easy.
Slow down and enjoy the rewards!
The little things.
Dogs have a knack for being amazed by the most irrelevant stuff. Tilly has a thing for spiders and beetles (the bug not the band.) She’ll find one crawling across the floor and will hunker down beside it, enthralled by the bug. Occasionally she’ll paw it or pick it up and plonk it back down again so she can watch it crawling away. She eats moths for some reason. But other bugs simply fascinate her. The same with a plastic plant pot from the garden. Tilly will race around the house with it, chew on it, cherish it and fall asleep with it. I have no idea why! Humans spend so much time thinking about the big picture, their career, the birthday bash/anniversary/job appraisal/test/weight/bowel movement/age/teeth/hair/life etc that we seldom stop to enjoy the simple stuff.
Today, in town, I walked along a paved area outside a supermarket. It had been raining so the ground was wet but not drenched. My battered old Nike’s started squeaking. Rather than walk funny so I didn’t make any noise and look foolish, I twisted my feet on the slabs every time they touched down. The squeaks were loud and silly. They made me smile. Two people coming in the opposite direction were walking as if trying to pick their way through a mine field. I couldn’t help but smile. They hated the situation but I loved it! Were they that worried about someone hearing the sound of their shoes on the ground? How sad is that? What’s wrong with playing the fool now and then?
Enjoy the bugs and squeaks!
You’re never THAT tired!
A dog in the prime of its life is a bundle of energy wrapped in a fur coat. Every day our dogs explore, play, eat, chase, sniff, investigate, fetch, bark, dig, howl, drink, jump, bounce, wag, pant and lick, – rinse and repeat until it’s time for bed. So why is it that humans (at least the ones I see around me on a daily basis) are always so slow and tired all the time? I was born in 1975 and my childhood was one long adventure – bike rides, playing football/cricket/tennis etc, exploring, laughing, running, jumping, climbing, barking…oh wait, no, that’s dogs, and all those energetic things people seem to have forgotten.
As a teenager I’d come home from school, change from my uniform, do my paper round (or route for you Americano’s) then go play football with friends at the park, have dinner, then off out again with friends till it got dark then I’d come home. Okay, that’s a summer thing and avoiding homework for the most part too! But today teenagers are growing up slouched in front of a TV, laptop or games machine. Sometimes it’s like seeing a plush hobo living in a luxurious underpass. When they spend an hour or so doing something energetic they complain how they’re tired and need a rest! What? Seriously?
And this will become a habit for life. Dogs don’t do that. Dogs play. Period. Sure they’ll have a quick snooze but you can bet it’s well earned. Even now at 37 I’m amazed when I hear someone say they’re tired when they have no reason to be. Have you just worked a 20 hour shift down a coal mine? Have you been working in the fields since dawn? Well, if you have then you’ve earned a rest. If not then shame on you. You should have the energy of a dog and the enthusiasm of life to keep you going.
We should be ashamed if we can’t keep up with a dog.
This isn’t a rehearsal.
We get one shot at this life. ONE. Whatever your beliefs do you think it’s fair and to squander that amazing gift of life by feeling a bit tired most of the time? Obviously I’m making the case for able bodied healthy people, of which there are plenty who waste their time doing nothing, and put to shame by less able bodied folk like the extraordinary feats in the Paralympic Games for example. The old saying: “Live every day as if it’s your last” is worth pointing out here. That’s okay as a quick clichéd quip but I much prefer: “Get the maximum out of every single day and earn your rest because you can’t re-wind a day.”
I guess what started out as a thing about dogs did indeed turn into something about life and energy and inspiration. I’ve never been a religious person, for many reasons I won’t go into here, but I like to think of life as energy. Others call it a soul or light or whatever. We’re granted the use of that energy to use how we see fit and at some point it will be taken from us. The universe is filled with energy, our planet is lucky to have so much of it, and it staggers me that so much of it is wasted.
Your life is not a level of Angry Birds. When you reach the end will you truly be able to say you’ve lived, that you’ve made the most from the time granted to you? If you have doubts now then you have the opportunity to change things. You have a choice. Choose life!