September 27, 2018

Attention: A Prescription for Happiness From a Dog

Several years ago I asked my wife, Betty, to give her thoughts on some aspects of the satisfying retirement we have been living. Her post was well received and generated lots of good comments. Even though it is 5 years old, her thoughts remain very much on target.

Hold it...It is my turn!
I think Bailey, our dog, became a little jealous. Several times since that post appeared she has forced her way onto my lap while I attempted to use the computer. In her own subtle way she was letting me know she had some things to say. Since she has no thumbs to hold down the shift key, I had to type for her, but I think this captures the heart of her message to us all:

*When loved ones come home, always run to greet them with a kiss;

*Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride and smile;

*Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy;

*Take naps;

*Stretch before rising;

*Run, romp, and play daily and play ball;

*Thrive on attention and let people touch you;

*Avoid biting when a simple growl will do;

*On warm days, stop to lie on your back and roll around on the grass;

*On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree;

*When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body;

*Delight in the simple joy of a long walk;

*Be loyal;

*Never pretend to be something you're not;

*If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it;

*When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Thanks, Bailey.

Actually a friend of a friend sent this list of what a dog could tell us. It has been floating around the Internet for quite some time from some unknown source. It is hard to argue with this simple plan for happiness and contentment.

Here is another dog story that may or may not be true. But, no matter, again it teaches us a good lesson:
"Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure as they felt that Shane might learn something from the experience.The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him.

Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay around as long."

          * Falling down is part of LIFE...
          * Getting back up is LIVING...
          * Don't complain about growing old…
          * Not everyone gets the privilege

Thanks, Bailey and Betty


  1. Love this. Our dog is getting up in years and has recently been diagnosed with heart disease. He's still doing OK, but we know the time is coming and it's more defined now. It makes our time with him bittersweet. Luckily, he has no idea what's going on and it still his crazy self.

    1. Dogs only know the present so they have no fear about their demise. That is a blessing for them, and us.

  2. One of the hardest things to do is be with your pet when they pass. They are so full of unconditional love it seems unfair to have to let them go. We can learn from that, though.

    1. I have been in a car, in the parking lot of a Vet's office, in tears, after having a dog put to sleep, several times in my life. Losing a dog is gut-wrenching but worth the emotional cost for years of devotion and love.

  3. I loved this! I laughed out loud at the one about avoiding biting when a simple growl will do. I will remind Rosie of this one! What a great post. Thanks for a smile along with the wisdom today.

    There was a funny post flying around cyberspace a few years ago comparing a dog's diary with a cat's diary. The dog's diary listed every activity of the day, each one followed by "My favorite thing!" So funny. And wise!

    1. Yes, Rosie will probably find this wisdom obvious to her!

      I remember that piece. It clearly showed the difference between dogs and cats.