Monday Meanderings: Be in the NOW With Your Dog!

This post was inspired by a dear friend who cherishes every moment that she has to enjoy her dog.  I’ll have to admit that sometimes, I take those moments with Rugby for granted.  When your dog is young (or relatively so) and healthy, you always think that you’ve got an endless supply of tomorrows to enjoy your dog…

005I live in a busy, busy world, and it seems as if there is an endless “To Do” list waiting for me.  When I finish my training day, I come home to business emails and text messages to answer, phone calls to return, blogs to write, Rugby’s Facebook page to manage….and that doesn’t include day to day life!  Phew!  Some days, I feel like I have a lot on my plate,  just like so many of my readers.

So…to save time, I try to multi-task, right?  Don’t we all do that?  I’m returning phone calls while I’m loading or unloading the dishwasher, folding and putting away laundry, straightening my desk or my office, for example. I return emails or texts….or blog, while I’m eating, I’ll have to confess.  I try to cut corners where I can, just to end up ahead by the time my head hits the pillow every night.

008 (3)One thing I can’t do and multi-task, is that I can’t train Rugby and do anything else at the same time.  I have to focus on Rugby and the very specific task that I am asking him to produce for me at that particular moment.  Until I had talked to my friend, I hadn’t really realized what a gift this is to me and to Rugby both.

Our dogs spend their whole lives waiting for us.  We come and we go, and we are so busy with the things that make up life as we know it. However, our dogs have such simple, small worlds.  They have their home and their yard and their families for the most part.  When we leave them each day, they wait for us to come home.  I’m blessed that my job often leaves me being able to come and go here and there all day, so Rugby often gets little snippets of my time throughout the day.  However, it’s never enough for him, and I understand that.

He waits for me.

And while he waits for me…..he hopes.

He hopes that he won’t have to wait to get my undivided attention.  He hopes that I will drop what I’m doing and notice him.  He hopes that I will play with him, and he hopes that I will choose some of his favorite games.  And honestly?  I think that he hopes that when I do give him my undivided attention….that it will last a really long time.

006 (4)I think all dogs are the very essence of hope.  One look in Rugby’s eyes, and I can see the hope that’s there….every day….all day long.  And when I think of him at home, patiently waiting to hear my car in the driveway….to hear my car door slam, and my key in the door….and then to watch how he explodes with excitement when I walk in the door to him…   *sigh*   It’s such a great feeling, and such a wonderful mental image to carry with me as I go through my day.  It always makes me smile as I think of it.

So after my conversation with my friend, I had to stop and consider….again….what a gift we are given when we have a dog in our lives.

For the snippets of time that I have to train Rugby, or play with him, I’m forced to live in the now…to be fully present in that moment with him.  That’s a gift.  Sometimes, it can feel like a chore, I won’t lie to you.  Every day, I hear people say, “I have to go walk the dog.”  “I have to go play with the dog and get him tired.”  “I have to go let the dog out.”

But when I change a couple of words in those sentences, the meaning and attitude can completely change!  What if we said, “I get to go walk my dog,” or  “I get to go play with my dog and wear him out,” or  “I get to go let my dog out?”  Wow.  What a difference, right?  Instead of a chore with some random dog, it becomes something of value that I get to do with my very own dog!

017 (2)And being forced to live in the present…the now with Rugby?  That’s a gift.  I have to put aside the “To Do” list.  I know I can’t multi-task when I’m focused on my sweet guy.  It’s an opportunity to simply connect with Rugby…to build a deeper relationship with him through training or in play, and to really enjoy our relationship together.  Rugby gives me the gift of putting aside the pressures of work and life, and for those moments in time….I get to play, and relax, and have fun….and just BE!

Rugby doesn’t put expectations on me.  I’ve never heard him vocalize disappointment that he didn’t get a different mama.  He doesn’t complain about the puzzle I choose to play with him, or the tricks I choose to train.  He’s all in, and he’s enthusiastic and excited.  His eyes shine with happiness.  He always leans into me at the end of a training exercise when I’m giving him a really good loving up.  He always lingers for some extra loving, and he usually looks up at me to connect his eyes with mine and communicate how pleased he is that we’re together in that moment.

Our dog’s lives are so very short.  We’re blessed to have them for more than ten years, really. On average, probably ten to fourteen years, depending on the breed….some longer, some shorter.  I think one of my own focus points for this upcoming year is to really make sure that I stay fully present when I’m interacting with Rugby.  He’s such a terrific little guy, and he tries so hard to do the right thing.  This might be the very best Christmas gift that I can give to him….365 days this upcoming year.

But how in the world will I wrap it and make it fit into his stocking?




    • Sally says

      I try hard to give him some undivided time every day....but when things get too busy, I try to include him in something else that I'm doing, rather than giving him his own time. I'd really love to work at making sure I stop the world when I'm engaging with him every day. That's the big challenge for me! Paws crossed I can make some good progress forward!

  1. Michelle Schwab says

    This is a great post and a wonderful subject. I've always viewed my dogs as teachers in how to be present in the moment--they show up for me as little bodhisattvas. But all too often I forget this in the midst of a busy life. I feel guilty if I don't feel like going out for a walk, even if I'm exhausted. What I forget is that my dog does not ask much of me; he's often just as delighted with a quality play session in the house if I don't want to hit the sidewalk. No matter what the activity, it's clear he just wants to be with me but he wants me to really be there! Sometimes outside he'll stop before chasing a ball to see if I'm paying attention and I'll start chasing him. I'm trying to use my camera less when we are out and focus more on eye contact and getting down lower to the ground to convey engagement in what we're doing. I 'feel' as if these encounters are better in some way, more connected, even if playing for only 15 minutes. They are better for me--for those few minutes I am simply being with my dog and treasuring our relationship. I've ordered some puzzles for him for Christmas to open up other ways for us to be present with one another--we both need some variety! I enjoy your blogs Sally; you always give me something to think about or smile about and for that I am grateful.

    • Sally says

      Michelle, I can't tell you how much your comment meant to me! As I was reading it, I was saying, "YESSSSS!!! She gets it!!" Every writer wants to know that their readers are connecting with those words on the page! I think you said it so well...."It's clear he just wants to be with me, but he wants me to really be there!" That's it in a nutshell!! Our dogs are such simple creatures, and their wants are so minimal! We think we're meeting their needs by focusing on them, but really we're the ones who are getting the gifts from our dogs! So glad you've ordered some puzzles for Spencer!! Promise me that you'll post videos so I can join in your fun with him!

      Thanks so very much for your kind comments about the blog itself, Michelle. I'm so glad I can give you something to think about....and some smiles. Thank you so much for sharing how my writing is touching your heart! Thanks for reading and for taking time to comment. You made my day! 🙂 <3


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