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Friday, April 28, 2017

Living a Joyful Life

Layla, a 10-year-old papillon
I have three dogs, two of them small and one medium size.

These are probably the least favorite of all the dogs with which I have shared my life. They, especially the small ones, are very high-maintenance. They also bark a lot. They have a great deal of nervous energy, even at 10 years old. But they still receive the same care and treatment as all my dogs have received over the years. I spend a lot of time with them, and they eat premium dog food and receive excellent medical care.

Bailey, a 10-year-old papillon
One thing I enjoy about these (and most) dogs is their joyfulness. As soon as they hear me turn back the blankets on my bed each morning, they are up and ready for a new day. They can barely contain themselves as I switch on the light and put on my house slippers. Oh boy! Breakfast! This food is sooo good!

After their trip into the back yard to relieve themselves, they rush inside for their traditional morning 'rubbies.' Each dog vies to be the first to receive the morning body scratch. Benny, my golden retriever/corgi mix, usually is first. I scratch him all over, paying particular attention to the area at the base of his tail. Then either Bailey or Layla, my papillon sisters, arrives. Each of them receives a scratch along her back, sides and chest. Once the morning rituals are complete, they happily go back to sleep, either in my bedroom or in my office.

Benny, a 6-year-old golden retriever/corgi
Since I am retired, I spend a lot of time at home, although I make frequent trips outside to put items into the recycle bin or to just hang out in the back yard. The dogs accompany me on every trip. 

Each foray outside is met with great enthusiasm, no matter how many times I ask if they want to go outside. Each trip outside is an opportunity for a grand adventure. Benny in particular races outside. If the back door is opened, he charges into the back yard. His favorite activities are searching the lavender bushes for lizards, barking at the resident Cooper's hawk or just relaxing in the sunshine. Bailey is the explorer in the family, searching under bushes and hedges for anything she can (and shouldn't) eat. Layla is more laid back, enjoying a nap in the sun. My dogs aren't very playful, especially the females, although they do get wound up when we get ready for our morning walk. Benny will get the zoomies sometimes, usually with one of his soft toys in his mouth.

I wish we humans would learn a lesson from dogs and learn to live more joyfully. Imagine what it would be like to greet each new day with enthusiasm, to look forward to each new opportunity, to relish the food set before us, to run and play and love life. Of course, dogs aren't burdened with the travails of everyday life. They have no worries about work or money or interpersonal issues. They don't worry about the economy or the threat of war or attacks on our civilization. But we can't do much about many of life's worries, so why not be joyful?