Did I tell you we have a new puppy?
She joined us in mid-February at barely three months of age. I had forgotten what life with a puppy is like. And today, I want to share the lessons Lily Bell (Bella for short) has taught me. I am pretty sure a couple will resonate with you.
• Everybody is your friend. Bella greets absolutely everyone the exact same way. With excitement, tail furiously wagging and with sloppy kisses galore. She has only ever received love and kisses her entire life, so that is what she gives to everyone. I find it amusing watching the poised and perfect melt at the sight of a puppy. And then become an absolute puddle of mush from her expressions of greeting. She expects them to be her friend. And every single human responds in kind. What do we adults need to do differently to innocently trust that every friendly face we come upon is just a dear friend we haven’t yet got to know?
• Feel your way forward. Hubby and I have always believed two dogs are better than one, and three is near perfection. So introducing a new sister to our existing dog could have been a big challenge. Bella knew immediately she was in a different environment, so she let five-year-old CoCo take the lead. She rolled onto her back fairly quickly (a sign of respect and submission) when CoCo was close. Whenever eldest sister chirped or swatted her, Bella immediately nuzzled up to her neck and started trying to make nice. After a few weeks, there was no need of chirping, nuzzling and making nice. When can we adults learn to take a back seat to those who are, who think and who do differently from us? When can we simply roll with the punches and let the other side shine for a while?
• Get mad and then drop it. Watching two dogs navigate living together is absolutely no different from watching two adults live together. Tempers DO flare. And it can be heart-stopping to watch ‘the dog thing.’ Up on back legs, front paws on each other’s shoulders, barking and snapping at the top of their lungs for what seems like an eternity. (Three minutes can seem so very long.) And suddenly, just as quickly, it all dies down. Within seconds, the two are nuzzling one another, squeezed together on a bed (built for one), cooing and canoodling and then falling asleep together. Why can’t adults think of anger like a white incandescent flame – it heats up instantly, cools down almost as fast and most importantly leaves no lingering residue?
• Play is the best thing ever. There is nothing more pleasurable than seeing a puppy have fun – alone chasing her tail and together with her sister chasing one another. We adults left our playtime behind in the schoolyard. Yet, it was the most delicious thing we could do to ourselves. How can we adults make our way back to that inner child buried deep within us and play again?
• Find Your voice. It’s quite amusing listening to a puppy explore the sounds that come out of her throat. From tentative little grs to bigger yips to pint-size barks to full-throttled growls. Bella adapted her voice to the circumstances that arose. Each time, she got a bit louder, a bit more confident, a bit sassier and a bit more assertive. Why do we adults take so many years to find our voices and show the world who we really are?
Obviously, I don’t have any answers this week. Just questions. From the antics of a little tiny fur baby.