One of the primary naughty behaviors I’m called upon to correct, is to teach dogs to greet people with manners. That’s because dogs greet with enthusiasm, which often includes jumping up, licking, pawing, bumping against, and all manner of obnoxious behavior! It’s honestly a nice problem to have from your family pet! In my line of work, I sometimes meet dogs who want to eat people coming into their home, so a dog who is happy and enthusiastic about seeing a new face coming in the door? Wonderful!
Dogs in general are just happy and enthusiastic about life. Simply put, that’s it in a nutshell. In the mind of a dog, life itself is the adventure, and adventures are often met with great joy and enthusiasm. And the funny thing about enthusiasm is….it’s something that can be easily caught, just as if it were a cold or flu bug! Whenever the cares of the world seem overwhelming to me, all I have to do is encounter dogs, and their enthusiasm quickly can change my mood to joy and hope again.
Think about simply watching your dog explore his yard for example. I never tire of watching Rugby follow all of the interesting smells, and I always wonder what he’s found. Was that a bunny calling card in that spot? Or did a Chipmunk dash through the fence with a prized hickory nut or acorn held tightly in his mouth? There’s no boring trip to the yard at my house! Rugby eagerly dashes out the door….just in case a Squirrel is bold enough to stay on the ground…or Rugby’s lucky enough to surprise one! He’s always on the lookout….quickly checking trees to see if he can bark at a Squirrel who has escaped. And he’s just as enthusiastic about a sunny spot to roll in the yard or soak in the sun!
To a dog, I really don’t think there’s a lot of mundane going on. Who knows what kind of adventure can be seen out a window of a car or house? We humans tune out so many “ordinary” things that are so very interesting to a dog! Rugby always seems to embrace ordinary with enthusiasm….with the exception of his thundershirt, harness or leash. My dog clearly prefers to be nekked and free as a bird!
I’ve often wondered what the world would look like if we all greeted each other with the same level of enthusiasm that dogs employ with us. What if we dropped what we were doing when our family members came home, and fetched a favorite possession to bring to them as a gift of love? What would our workplace look like if we were over the moon with joy when a co-worker walked into the room?
Remember, with a dog, it doesn’t take much to make them happy, happy, happy! Even though Rugby has just a couple of polka dottie piggies, when I give him a new one, he turns inside out with joy! He never looks at me and criticizes my lack of creativity in toy selection. He doesn’t seem disappointed that he didn’t get the latest, greatest new toy, like the dog next door. He’s just thrilled to have something that’s his, something that’s new, and he will carry that new piggie with him all over the house, and sleep with it tucked under his chin. He’s shamelessly excited and enthusiastic about his new piggie.
What if we just had a daily practice of viewing life itself as our adventure? What if we took time to stop dreading the unpleasant things we don’t enjoy….filing….reports…..Quickbooks…..and just tried to think of those things as having some sort of adventure for us? What if we made time to smell the roses along the way, rather than rush through our lives, quickly getting through one thing so that we can begin the next?
What if we simply took time to make sure that every person in front of us felt as if they mattered and were important to us? What if we were enthusiastic in thanking that server at a restaurant or the UPS man when he brings our package to the door? What about the helpful person who is bagging your groceries or checking you out in a store? How about waving a thank you to that kind soul who lets you in traffic? I think simple practices like these have the ability to change our lives most certainly, and if enough of us do that, we can change our world! I know dogs have certainly changed my world….and it’s all good!!