2008-12-26

A Good Dog...


Everyone knows at least one good dog. Even if you're allergic, a devout cat lover, or generally petrified of canines, you know a good dog. And the reason that you know a good dog because nearly every dog is a good dog.

I think it's because dogs are fundamentally happy. You come home, and they're happy to see you. You take them for a walk, and they're happy to go out. You hear them bark and let them in, and they're happy to come in. They're happy to eat, sleep, run, and play. All they need is someone to be with, and they're happy. We can learn a lot about happiness, I think, from our dogs.

Dog Rules for Happiness:
  • Work everyday. Every dog's work is different, but equally important. Some play catch, some herd sheep, some run in the cold, and some have to guard the house.
  • Play everyday. Do something other than work for at least a little while. Even if it seems really stupid to everyone, like chasing your tail, or disemboweling a stuffed animal, go for it.
  • Sleep as much as possible, just remember to wake up for all the important stuff: kids going to school, dads coming home from work, and, of course, when you need to go to the bathroom.
  • Watch out for strangers, but be willing to love everyone. Sure, dogs may be wary at first, with a little sniffing and pawing, but dogs will warm up to anyone who is kind to them. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the car you drive, how much you make, or what you look like, a dog will love you.
In spite of these admirable traits, dogs do have their detractors. I've heard it all before: they're too smelly, they make inconvenient messes, and can be unexpectedly expensive. But, the reality is that life is smelly, messy, and expensive more often and not. And if there's anything that we can learn from a dog, it's how to be happy and loving in spite of circumstance.

The hard part about having dogs, though, is that they is inevitably die before their owners. When the time comes, it's incredibly hard to say goodbye to such a selfless friend. I could cite countless amounts of personal anecdotes, but I don't think I have the emotional strength for it. In the end, that's the the greatest proof that everyone needs a good dog, because even though we know that we will outlive them, we take them into our homes anyway, because we know that we will end getting far more than we give.