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May 7, 2009

Dogs Just Get It

A lot has been written about dogs and how we could all stand to learn a lesson from them. I mean think about it -- dogs just get it. Like it or not, they don't can't hold back from showing their emotions. When they're happy, their bodies wag. When they're sorry, they put their tails between their legs and hide. When they're hungry, they eat...and eat...and eat. Dogs are quick to slobber their doggy kisses all over you. When they're excited they jump up (yeah, I should probably call in some help on that one), when they're scared they bark.

The point is, you always know with dogs --they're just really good at showing their emotions.

I have two dogs -- Bear and Champ -- they are brothers (litter mates believe it or not), supposedly Shepherd/Lab mixes but I would say that is questionable. What do you think?

We got these two as puppies a few years ago. I would not recommend getting 2 dogs at the same time if you're not a pro-dog trainer. Two dogs can definitely outsmart the average adult -- each one blaming the other for whatever bad behavior is going on. Anyhow, I gave up pretty early on "training" these dogs. Thankfully, they're good-natured, mild-mannered mutts, who like playing with each other and, believe it or not don't get into a huge amount of trouble.

Anyhow, the only thing that I insisted on training them was meal-time manners. Before they are fed: 1) they have to compose themselves (something that isn't always easy when they see that "yummy brown stuff" being scooped from the food bin); 2) they have to sit and stay while I put their bowls down; and 3) they have to shake my hand and give me a kiss on the cheek. Once they've done that, I say "you're welcome" and then give them the okay to eat. I know, it's silly -- but I like our little meal-time ritual if for no other reason than I hate to be barrelled over by pouncing dogs who want their food.

There's a point to me telling you all this -- just stick with me a minute longer.

So yesterday morning it was - I don't know - maybe day five or six of rain here in eastern PA. The dogs were hungry and yipping outside the kitchen window (did I tell you that both these dogs love to be outside in the rain?).

The morning feeding ritual started -- I grabbed their bowls and headed to the mudroom for food. They could see through the kitchen window that I was headed in the direction of food, so off they ran to the backdoor -- each one taking a turn at jumping up to peak in the window. I opened the back door and held their bowls of food above their heads -- this is their sign to settle down and sit.

Me: "Good morning friends. Are you ready for breakfast."

Them: drool, tails wagging against the macadam, bodies shaking with excitement

I put their bowls down quickly and turned to go back to the house to get out of the rain (seriously, I'm not an ogre - the dogs love the rain and would NOT come inside even for food). I closed the door behind me and looked out the window of the door. To my surprise, there they both sat, looking at me (still drooling), then looking back at the bowls with longing, hungry eyes, then back at me.

In my rush to get out of the rain, I had neglected our routine.

I opened the door and went back outside. Leaning over, Bear gave me his paw, and a kiss on the cheek, then watched and waited as Champ did the same.

Me: "You're welcome boys. Now go ahead, eat!"

And eat they did.

I went back inside and closed the door behind me, and as stupid as it sounds, my eyes welled up with tears. My dogs just reminded me of the importance of gratitude --and letting people know how much we love and appreciate them.

We should never be too busy, or too anything to not take the time to say thank you, or good job, or most importantly, I love you. Those are words that fuel the spirit, they keep us going through the day-to-day called life.

So to my family and friends who are reading this -- I love you, and I'm so grateful for your love and support.

For anyone else reading this --I'm truly humbled that you stopped by and read all the way to the end of this unusually long post (for me). I hope you'll come back again -- real soon.

And to my dogs...thanks for being such good teachers. You guys just get it.


Correne Quigley-Faysal said...

What a great story! I have a dog exactly like your all black one. She is wonderful, and our only dog (she was our baby for 4 years). We had a baby 8 months ago, and our dog has not been the same since. I can not beleive how emotional she is. She is VERY jealous, still. My husband and I worry about her. I love the message of your story, your absolutely right, and I have eapecially learned this now that I have a little one. Great blog!

Lauren said...

Thanks Correne! I'm sure in time your dog will get over the jealousy -- especially when he/she starts being a playmate. Dogs are amazing that way. Thanks for stopping by -- I look forward to checking out your blog as well!

Mommy (That's my name, don't wear it out.) said...

what a sweet story! Your dogs sound more like people, furry people!! A touching reminder of the importance of affection and kind actions- human or animal.

Judy said...

That's so sweet! Hard to believe those two are brothers, but easy to see they are family!