and other Advice from a Wise Old Dog
My person who usually writes this is feeling pretty wiped out this week so I offered to be the guest blogger (as I’ve done several times before, pawrenthetically).
Slowing down is not a bad thing. Yes, it takes me twenty minutes to go around the block. My humans may think it’s sad that I can’t walk up to the park anymore without getting winded but It doesn’t upset me – it is what it is. I’m happy to be moving and I don’t mind having the same short familiar routes. I enjoy every languid moment. Which brings me to a related point.
Savor the present. Stop and smell the trees, bushes, blades of grass and yes the flowers. Listen to the birds. I delight in the sun on my back or even the drizzle on my fur. (In my book there’s no such thing as bad weather – I avoid the rain but don’t judge it.)
Don’t dwell in the past. Dogs have associative memory: we remember people, places, and experiences based on associations we have with them. When one of my people stands by the front door and puts on shoes I think ‘Walk.’ (Although she’s just as likely to be taking out the trash.) When I pass by Juno’s house there’s something familiar when I see him on the other side of the fence. I’m not disappointed when he is not there (although I do laugh at the Beware of Dog sign. Yeah, right.)
Let go of guilt. I know humans think that’s what we feel when we do something naughty but the fact is that dogs simply feel fear – of being punished or berated. (That time I swiped an entire roast chicken off the dining room table? Utter joy at my conquest. Even hearing the people exclaim, “The whole chicken?? She couldn’t have!” brought no remorse.) Dogs have no sense of pride or shame either. Our emotions include fear, anger, disgust, and of course love. Let go of the guilt and pride. It serves no purpose.
Don’t be competitive. I had to get off of Snoutbook because I couldn’t take all the photos of homemade sourdough dog biscuits my old friends are getting while I’m still eating my usual Costco dry food. If you can look and enjoy without comparing, no problem. But if you start feeling inadequate or envious,maybe give it a break for a while. Try to remember we’re all different, all struggling in some way or another, all also having some moments of joy and we choose to present our lives in the way we want others to see us.
Stop thinking about tomorrow. I like Fleetwood Mac as much as the next hound but that song makes no sense! Tomorrow will come whether you worry about it or not. I know my people are concerned about what’s next for me: my arthritis and balance and eyesight and hearing will continue to get worse or decline. I love having my people around all the time these past two months but I know they’re not happy about it. At what rate will people keep dying? Will the economy and job market continue to tank? Will the world change in horrible ways? Obsessing over the future doesn’t change anything, it only makes things worse. I can’t worry my pretty little head about what comes next – literally, I’m not able to do that – but I know I can face it when it comes.
Do things that make you happy. I recommend taking lots of naps or trying to catch a squirrel. You might prefer watching movies or reading a good book or digging in the dirt. Whatever it is, try to make it a priority amidst all the stuff you have to do. (I don’t have that problem fortunately.) There’s a lot I don’t remember or can’t understand but joy is my second nature. I hope you can grow yours as much as humanly possible.