Dog Days

By
Dog Days

Dogs used to be wild animals. They have been domesticated for years, even further back than we care to think. Indians had them, colonists had them and now even more people have them, from plumbers to corporate head honchos to Congressman.

I have had my dog, Snowy, for a little more than three years now. She is adorable, beautiful and my fluffy best friend. She is still my puppy despite how big golden retrievers get. She can knock me over easily enough just by happily jumping on me. My fault for teaching her the “up” command. Her golden tail wags when I get home, dispersing my dark clouds. She almost seems to be smiling with her goofy mouth and asking me to play with her with those big, glistening brown eyes. She prances around my feet and nuzzles my legs until she falls to the ground, begging for a tummy rub. With a greeting like that, how can I help but smile, with her curious, cheerful eyes looking up at me. Sometimes I wish I could understand that happiness.

I can hardly look on the bright side of anything anymore. I want to believe things will get better and I hope they will but things only seem to get worse. When I try to escape that reality, it hits me like reality always does. My sister passing away has made me see the darker sides of life, the indomitable spirit she had shows me that everyone is a fort that will eventually crumble. I wonder how she could be gone when she was so much better of a person then I am. My hopes are faded with the wind and my feet are firmly on the ground. Happiness escapes me. However, when I look at my dog, I can’t help but smile. A dog lives in such unawareness of the world around it. Ignorance is truly bliss.

The way dogs live their lives is a lesson in life. Just the way they greet you at the door and the way they appreciate everything they receive, it’s all a lesson in contentment. I can’t understand the feeling of contentment that a dog can have just by being rubbed on the belly or patted on the head. I love the snow just like my dog but only she can romp through even the deepest snow and stray from the beaten path to enjoy it. When she comes in the door with her fur all wet and matted down she drips and lies on her bed. She stares up at me and I wipe her down. Clumps of snow are tangled in her fur. Her pads are soaked and snow caked in between. I love to remove the small balls of snow and pile them up to see how much she brought in the house with her. She licks me appreciatively and flops down on her bed. I look outside at the crystal white mounds. I do all I can to enjoy the snow; unfortunately I am too conservative to swim in the depths of snow sprawled before my eyes. And the snow itself only leaves me feeling warm inside until reality hits me that I have to shovel the snow now. In the cold, swathed in scarf, mittens, hat, I can’t feel that warmth anymore, not any warmth.
Snowy can enjoy her tug toys for so long that they wear out before she is done. The strands are scattered all over the floor and in the carpet. She is overjoyed to fling it about and play tug-of-war with me any day. I can’t say that anything can keep me happy for so long. She smiles and lies next to me whenever she feels like it. She knows the meaning of being content, being happy.

I don’t know how to feel considering that many human beings are worse off than me. It’s the same way with some dogs. People and dogs have been cast out as strays in society and that is just wrong. People have worse problems and some people have fewer problems but feel worse than I do. Dogs don’t break their loyalty like humans. They never leave your side. Whenever I’m sad my dog never lets me cry alone. Humans can be backstabbers of the worst kind. Dogs love unconditionally. Although my dog loves you more if you have food around. Dogs don’t take things at face value, they aren’t judgmental, and they don’t over think anything. Humans could learn to slow down, to be better than they are, just by observing a dog’s behavior.

Dogs are carefree creatures. They only care that they are fed and have company. Keep them housed and protected. Loyalty with love given with wet licks and trotting at your side. Gentleness and companionship can help any heart and improve any life. That’s my dog. Happiness in a furry bundle.

So as I watch my dog frolic, my face cracks. I let small, happy tears flow from my dry, cold eyes. I realize that if I can’t learn the important lessons from my dog, I can at least try to imitate such feelings and work on understanding them. I know my dog can help me improve myself, who I am and how I feel. I hope that other people can understand the message that dogs send to us all. Sit, good, now stay, good, stay.

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