I have always loved my animals. Dogs, cats, snakes, mice… I don’t know why, perhaps…
My last dog Ansel Adams was a great family companion until his last big hike at 14 1/2 yrs. After Ansel our family wanted to hold off on a canine replacement. We found a cornsnake, her name is Copper. Enjoyable animal, and I still love it when friends come over and my 10 yr old daughter brings out Copper around her arm or on her shoulder. It makes me think I am doing a good job as a parent to have a daughter who enjoys ballet equally as well as skiing, and enjoys her pet snake too. After the snake we found a beautiful kitten from a shelter. It is my son’s cat, and he loves her dearly. Although the cat some times runs the other way out of fear my son shall pick her up and hold and pet her all afternoon. The scratches on the kid’s arms support my claim.
I have had dogs and cats since my birth. Terrific companionship. They seem to enjoy my company, even when I am doing something else… like going through mail. Oh wait, our snake doesn’t really seem to care. My cat is actually pissed that I am sitting in “her chair”. But my dog, Pepper sits there with her ball and tug rope about 3 feet from my feet, awaiting any sudden movement. Even if I forget feeding time, she still will jump up and down wanting to play. My cat doesn’t like to go on a run with me, sit when I ask, or pose for a picture. But Pepper is game for almost anything at any moment.
I don’t judge an animal by how well it will obey. My point my dog is completely in the moment, and willing to be in MY moment. As far as I can tell my dog doesn’t give consideration to the poor judgement I made when we ran last week and it poured rain.
We were soaked and cold, yet she is happy to do it all over again. I know that she remembers, because when we prepare for today’s run and it’s starting to drizzle she looks at me with those puppy dog eyes, as if to say. “Really? You remember last time, right?” She may even move back to the door as if to say, “I’m not really into this.” Yet when I take off running she is there by my side. People seem to be only animals on earth who punish themselves a hundred times or more for the same mistake, and who punish everybody else a hundred times or more for the same mistake.
I appreciate the understanding, forgiving, and playfulness in friends as well. And I choose to surround my friends who are aware of my flaws and past mistakes, yet they run with me anyway.
Once the lesson is learned from the mistake a friend may remain aware but doesn’t dwell and rehash the mistake over and over again. When I coach people in skiing, we find an issue, address it, and solve it. We then practice the new movements. I may remain aware of previous tendencies, but I don’t place too much weight on them. We go on to enjoy the skiing, and when a new issue presents itself we approach the learning as a partnership. We have fun with it, we may laugh about it, and we go about our business of solving it and moving on.
I do like the lessons that dogs give me. Even though I love my cat and snake, our dog acts like my best friend. When it comes down to it, Wag more.