Friday, June 24, 2011

Dog Is Good

(NOTE: This post is from the book LOVE, YOUR MOTHER which may be purchased here)

Harrigan, the family dog, our graying 'round-the-eyes-stinky-sorta-deaf old golden retriever, moves real slow these days. Letting her out when it's way-below-zero on deep-winter mornings in January and February makes me cringe. It's a gamble every morning as she darts into the dark cold snap. Her odds of making her way back to the warm kitchen shorten every day.

"Don't you go out there and drop over in your tracks, animal," I'm thinking those mornings. "There's no sorrow in my bin for you if that happens. Not this winter."

By the time she's finished her business and is back inside, the hound is dancing on hind legs, jumping and huffing and wiggling with her tongue drooping all around. She's ecstatic. Of course she is. She's about to get her bowl of chow. It's the same bowl of round brown pellets of chow she ate yesterday and that she ate the day before that and that she ate every day of every one of the 13 years she's been in our family.

She's like this every morning. Out of her mind ecstasy. This old dog and her brown chow.

I puzzle over Harrigan in the mornings.

"Imagine this," I wonder. "Imagine being this happy every day at the same time of every morning when the same bowl of brown dog chow gets stuck beneath your nose."

I'm learning something here. "You're seeing pure, absolute gratitude in this animal every day, same time, no matter what's going on in the world outside our door," I'm thinking.

And me? I don't remember what I eat for breakfast. Or even if I eat.

"Why's my tongue not slobbering, lapping all around and why's my hind-end not power wiggling when I pour myself a bowl of Bran Buds?" I wonder.

Harrigan's on a joy ride, a shimmy of pure ecstasy. Even when it’s way-below-zero outside. Even though she's almost, what, a hundred years old in people-years. Even though it’s the same brown chow every morning. The stinky, old family dog. On a joy ride. Seeing something I don't often see.

Seeing all as gift.

You are teaching the man something, Dog; teaching me lessons about receiving, gift and gratitude for ALL things in life stuck beneath my nose.


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(NOTE: This post is from the book LOVE, YOUR MOTHER which may be purchased here)

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