LESSONS MY DOG HAS TAUGHT ME
Reilly’s about to attack a stuffed toy Westie given to him by a friend.
LESSON #1 – Bring a smile to someone’s face every day
I have always been a sucker for dogs. When I come across most breeds I usually look for a reason to give them a little attention because I enjoy the encounter. Certainly there are some nasty dogs out there that I know not to get too close to but, for the most part, meeting and greeting a dog at some point in my day brings a smile to my face.
As a dog owner, I believe the primary role of my pet is to provide me with a minimum of one smile a day. In fact, before my wife fell in love with our dog (she thought he was cute at first but has grown to adore him) she would see him doing something funny and smile. I told her that Reilly’s just doing his job. No matter what, on any given day, his job is to give each member of his pack a reason to smile. This simple little credo helped my wife enjoy our dog even more than she already did.
When Reilly was a puppy his only real vice was that he paid a bit too much attention to our dishwasher. While we tried to keep him away, our efforts fell on deaf ears. There were two reasons for this: first, we were a little weak willed when it came to keeping him away and, second, it was so damn funny. Reilly’s dishwasher concentration was akin to an unwavering meditation — and was often the source of our daily smile. I know some people will think it’s kind of gross that the dog goes after the dishes before we run the machine, but take a look at the pictures – the puppy put himself right in the dishwasher. Good thing we spotted him before we closed the door and ran the thing!
As a human (as opposed to a canine), I believe the ‘smile a day’ lesson is a life-giving philosophy. I am fortunate to have been blessed with a sense of humour. Each day, I look to provoke a smile out of others and others look to put a smile on my face. At times I have wondered what my life would be like without the smiles and laughs. Certainly I have had my share of hard times and found smiling to be a difficult prospect. However, the smiles have been so ingrained that I can honestly say that I haven’t gone a day in my life without something to smile about. While I cannot verify this, it is my hope that I have also been able to put a smile on at least one person’s face every day.
And so with just a look our dogs make us smile. They open our hearts and make us better people. And the beauty of it all is that our pups can make us smile without even trying. They have a natural and wondrous gift that can cause our daily stress to melt away with the crook of a neck or a wag of a tail.
Reilly and his cousins Lulu (left) and Roo (right). Are you smiling?