In our own backyard...Take a lesson from a yellow labThe yellow dog lay curled up in a ball on the fleece pad in the back seat of the car. Considering he’d done his “happy dance” all the way from house up to the back door of the car, he’d certainly crashed in a hurry once he leaped inside. Dogs are kind of like that, though.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The yellow dog lay curled up in a ball on the fleece pad in the back seat of the car. Considering he’d done his “happy dance” all the way from house up to the back door of the car, he’d certainly crashed in a hurry once he leaped inside. Dogs are kind of like that, though.
Cats are quite a different story. The minute we pull out the cat carriers, they begin to fret and stalk around, managing to disappear just about the time we are ready to leave for the appointment at the vet’s office (since that’s the only place we ever take them). If and when we are able to corral them, they set up a chorus of ear-splitting wails all the way into town – and then refuse to come out once we get there.
Dogs simply don’t overanalyze the situation like cats do. They don’t stop to think about the last time they went somewhere, whether they ended up on the slippery stainless steel table in the vet’s office with a hypodermic needle in their hip – or at grandma’s house with a big box of dog biscuits and free rein to sleep on the couch. They beg to go along, just because it means they’re going to be with their “people.”
Our granddog, Tanner, for example – a yellow lab belonging to our son – has made many, many trips in the belly of an airplane as the two of them commute to their job in Alaska every spring, and then back to the “lower 48” every fall. It’s been that way since Tanner was a puppy, and not once has he put on the brakes when he sees that his crate has been taken out of storage in preparation for another trip. He doesn’t seem to dwell on the fact that for the next six or seven hours, he’s going to be cooped up in the storage hold of the plane, with only the drone of the jet engines for company and nowhere to go but the four confining walls of his crate. When the baggage handler totes him out at the other end of the line, more often than not he stretches and yawns, as though he’s just awoken from a long winter’s nap. It simply isn’t in him to cast disparaging looks of blame at his owner (unlike a couple of felines I know!), and in fact, he reacts with leaps of joy and big wet licks when at last set free.
Once, when landing at the airport in Anchorage, our son waited and waited until the last piece of luggage was unloaded, and Tanner’s crate was nowhere in sight. He questioned the baggage handlers, and other than confirming that he had indeed been loaded on the plane in the first place, they had no clue as to his whereabouts. After several nervous moments, someone thought to check the warehouse where unclaimed luggage and long-term storage items are stashed, and sure enough, there was Tanner sitting in his crate, waiting trustingly to be reunited with his owner.
It was a real treat for us to take Tanner home with us last weekend after a family Christmas celebration in the Twin Cities. Our son was going on to visit friends, and we were going to take care of Tanner for a few days. As we packed the car and got ready to go, Tanner hovered around the front door, wagging his tail and winding in and out of everyone’s legs in hopeful anticipation of going along with us. Once we reassured him that he was, indeed, part of the plan, he bounded around with glee before plummeting into the back seat of the car and happily dropping off into a deep slumber.
As Ken and I remarked on Tanner’s positive frame of mind, Ken paused for a moment and said, “You know, Tanner is my role model.”
“How so?” I asked.
“He has so much faith and trust in the ones who love him that he is content to sit back and let them take him wherever they want him to go. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that sort of faith, instead of trying to cross-analyze every situation that comes along?”
As I thought about it, I got it. Life should be more about going along for the ride, no questions asked, trusting that ultimately you will end up where you need to go. Too much stress and worry is spent on wondering where the road will take us, and not enough joy is expended along the way.
As 2012 comes our way, let’s all take a lesson from the yellow lab and remember to enjoy life as it happens. That “happy dance” might just prove to be infectious!