At the risk of being trite, everything I ever needed to know about life I am learning from my dog.
Books, blogs, social media memes and calendars have been written on a similar theme.
Of course, if we only ever wrote about things that have never been written about, these pages would be very empty.
To quote the band Barenaked Ladies, “it’s all been done before.”
I always thought that was a clever release because they used a formulaic pop song to convey a message about unoriginality.
Anyway, back to Lady MacBeth (that is the dog’s name, although I usually call her “bug”).
Long story short, the breeder wanted us to name her after a witch, but we didn’t like that idea, so we compromised and named her after the Shakespearean character in a supporting role who, although never explicitly revealed as a witch herself, has witchy tendencies, and certainly puts much faith in the weird sisters’ prophecies.
First and foremost among the bug’s enviable characteristics is her ability to live in the moment.
It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. Go outside? excited. Go back in the house? Excited. Go for a walk? Excited. Play with a ball? Excited. Find a tin can? Excited. Sniff another dog’s butt? Excited.
Just to be clear, as much as I want to emulate her enthusiasm for everything, I draw the line at sniffing a dog’s butt.
And if we’re not doing anything? Content.
She doesn’t worry about what happened yesterday, or five minutes ago, for that matter. She doesn’t worry about what is going to happen tomorrow, or five minutes from now.
The bug is also very empathetic.
If I’m happy, the bug is happy. If I’m sad, the bug is sad. Angry, angry. Etc., etc.
Patience. Oh, to have the patience of the bug.
An example: although I generally try not to feed her table scraps, lest she develop undesirable behaviours (and because human diets are not ideal for canines, nor for humans, necessarily), I confess I sometimes give in to those compelling, droopy brown eyes.
But she knows she has to wait, and does so, apparently without anxiety.
I am, on the other hand, a work in progress.
Case in point. I was in Tim Hortons this morning, no one in line in front of me, and still had to wait an inordinately long time just to get that mediocre brew we Canadians all seem to covet. I had to wait because, seemingly as a corporate policy, Timmies prioritizes its drive thrus. The nerve, thinks I. Here I am, taking the time to get out of my car and personally grace your establishment with my physical presence, and you are more concerned about these “drive thru people” (said with a modicum of derision) who can’t even be bothered to drag their sorry (expletive deleted) out of their bucket seats.
Similarly, nothing evokes my impatient ire more than telephone customer “service.”
“Your call is important to us…”
No, if my call was important to you, you would have an actual person available to answer my (expletive deleted) call.
End of rant. Like I said, I am a work in progress.
Perhaps the most desirable of all the bug’s traits, though, is unconditional love. Yes, I know the jury is still out on whether person’s best friend experiences emotions even remotely the way we do, but even if I am anthropomorphizing, the lesson remains valid.
We could all use, and give, a little more unconditional love and compassion.