December 23, 2020

A dog’s life ::

By haziqbinarif

One of my friends from high school recently sent out this list to our classmates as she reflected on her own cancer-free milestone after five years and the pandemic that has changed all our lives. Basically, it’s about living life like a dog. She shared it in a tongue and cheek way to remind us all that we could loosen up a little. Hopefully, the past nine months has helped us do this a little more. I thought it was worth sharing as we can learn something about life from the joy and unconditional love that pets show to us and the world on a regular basis.

1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
3. When loved ones come home, always run and greet them.
4. When it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience.
5. Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
6. Take naps and always stretch before rising.
7. Run, romp and play daily.
8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
9. Be loyal.
10. Never pretend to be something you’re not.
11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
13. Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.
14. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
15. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
16. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
17. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
18. No matter how often you are criticized, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

If 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that what passed for true joy before the pandemic was little bits and pieces of time that we shoehorned in between our long list of responsibilities and activities. But now that we’ve had the opportunity to experience what actual time and space feels like, away from the pre-pandemic frenzy of the world, now we know. We know what it actually feels like to engage in the moment at hand. It’s ultimately our choice as to what we do with that newly learned information.

It’s hard to pick my top choices from the tips on the dog’s-life list, but here goes. I would have to say enjoying fresh air on my face and long walks are things I have in common with dogs. I also agree with greeting people enthusiastically, being loyal and doing a happy dance when called for. Bottom line, I would have to say that No. 10 is my absolute favorite—never pretend you are something you are not. Dogs simply show us love because they can, because that’s who they are. There’s no pretense, no expectation of getting something from us (well, OK, maybe a treat). But you get my drift…

So, while I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions (although I have a few in mind—more running, less chocolate), I think No. 10 is a pretty good one to strive for.

I hope you will have some time over the holidays to take a joy ride, take a nap, play with abandon, eat with enthusiasm, and nuzzle a loved one. If you have any questions, just check out what your dog is doing. I’m pretty sure he or she has the answers. Too bad they can’t talk …

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.

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