The Wisdom of Dog

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  • by David Strasser

Nearly three years ago today, a starving, flea-ridden, bruised, battered and raised for bait half boxer and half pit bull showed up in the yard of the SEEK office. The day she showed up I took her home. Cleaned her up. Fed her. Fed her some more. Loved on her. And after doing everything we could to make certain she was adoptable, she became one of us. She was skittish. Had issues. Still has issues. The skittishness only hinted at what was deep inside. But she is more than her issues.

Like you, my world shrunk in mid March. Daily interactions with others came to a screeching halt. Everything that was familiar, that was common, that was normal shifted. The novelty of it all hurried out the back door as quickly as it had crashed through the front. Days and nights are spent removed from nearly everyone. Everyone except my family—my spouse and the three children still living under our roof. And the dog. Me and the dog hang out quite a bit. And I  have to say that she might be teaching this old dog some new tricks. Maybe she’s got something to pass on to you.

Everyday, she spots the squirrels in our backyard. She sits looking longingly out the window. Ready. And waiting. Waiting for us to open a door and let her loose. To set her on her way to failure. She runs wild. And fast. Furiously fast. But the squirrels win. Everyday. For three years now. I wonder if she will ever give up. And then I think maybe she doesn’t care to win. Maybe she has come to love the chase. 

New trick number one—how you get where you want to go is just as important as being where you want to be. 

It wasn’t long after I brought her home that she decided she liked me. Actually, that is not true at all. I don’t think it was that she decided to like me. I think it was that she decided she would be loyal to me. She trusts me. She follows me. She looks after me. Thinks she needs to protect me. And sometimes she is loyal even when I ignore her. Pay her no mind. Put a leash on her to keep her from where she wants to go. Her loyalties don’t shift. 

New trick number two—you know who matters, who has your back, whose hand is feeding you. 

We like to walk. She knows the word. When it is spoken, she takes off, full speed for the front door. Slipping and sliding on the wood floors, she seems to go everywhere and nowhere all at once. I am not certain what is so exciting about it. There is not much that is ever new or different. Perhaps she sees the neighbors as new and interesting. Or maybe has hopes that she will run into a different dog other than the three who live on our street. Or maybe she knows she’s about to have an accident, about to create a problem. And maybe she knows she’ll have someone alongside her who is going to pick up her $#!+. 

New trick number three—you can’t always be perfect and you might need to learn to rely on those around who can help you clean up your mess.

We named her Penny for a bunch of reasons…she’s copper brown, she was scuffed and dirty, no-one seemed to care for her, and I picked her up off the street. She’s worth so much more. I hope her wisdom can help you as you lead and live.