Everything I Learned…

I learned from my dogs. Ok, maybe not everything. A lot of my language skills, the ability to tie my shoes and what math I am capable of was taught to me by humans. But the animals in my life have always been important mentors. I remember when I was having some teenage angst, and I would bury my head into my tabby Sweet Pea, and tell her how she was the only one who understood me, and how I had no friends besides her, and I would seriously get the feeling she understood. I later found out my sister was doing the same thing a few years later. That poor cat was probably just thinking ‘Leave me alone you assholes, I need a nap.’ Either way, she played the part of the loyal companion. Only a really hormonal teenage female can read that much into the emotions of a generally very angry feline.

My dogs, being slightly more animated, less angry and more high maintenance than my childhood cat, help me fall even more in love with animals all the time. Our life is kind of hectic. Hell, who’s isn’t. We pack and move and unpack and repack and go through the emotional roller coaster that is life with the typical amount of human self-pity and worry and anxiety.

I try to be that person who can accept what comes and go with the flow and zen it all out, but if I’m honest I have to admit that I love an organized calendar and a well thought out plan and a list full of items to cross out methodically. The love of that kind of order in a world defined by chaos can be maddening, but giving it up is…let’s just say a work in progress.

Yea, yea, you’re saying. “I hear you, life’s a bitch and then you die and meanwhile I have to pay the bills and make my mom proud and DAMNIT find time to relax at yoga. What does this have to do with you and your weird obsession with your dogs?” I hear you, loyal readers a.k.a. people related to me.

The answer lies in the photo at the top of this entry. That picture was taken in September during our drive from Michigan to Texas. Falcor and Enid, in the backseat, looking pretty comfortable if you ask me, and fairly content. This may not seem strange, since dogs tend to look like this a lot, but think about it for a minute. These dogs have literally NO idea where they are going. They don’t know how long they will be in the car that day, or for how many days this trip will go on. And yet, there they sit. Happy.

Certainly it’s easier for them to be without worry, even on a mysterious, never-ending car ride, since they don’t have to pay taxes or think about life insurance or consider the meaning of life. But consider what criteria make them happy, and just TRY not to learn a life lesson. Falcor and Enid are happy in that picture, and in general, because they have security. Security in the form of love. In food on the table daily. In a comfy place to sleep. Beyond that they worry about nothing, because to them literally nothing else matters. Besides perhaps the vexing existence of squirrels and the intoxicating scent of another dog’s anus. When all their basic needs are covered, it’s enough to make them as happy as they could ever be. I could not love that more about them.

As we plan our budget, await the arrival of our baby, embark on another season with unknown results, it’s easy to let anxiety and the desire to be in control to creep in. Certainly, to some degree that anxiety can provide the motivation to get things done. But more often than not, it takes away from our ability to just love the moment we’re in, to realize how good we have it, how it generally does all work out in the end. I try, a little each day, to channel Falcor and Enid…by waking up, having a lovely stretch, being totally overjoyed by having breakfast, and being blissfully optimistic about the rest of the day to come.

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