Five Life Lessons From Tucker
Summit Register – April 14, 2017
It’s hard to believe, but my baby boy (for those of you who don’t know, that’s my miniature poodle, Tucker) turned 13 last week! He is doing well, with the exception of a little arthritis, and a good deal of hearing loss. That’s actually a bonus, because if he doesn’t hear the doorbell ring, he doesn’t bark! But he still gets super excited at all sorts of things, runs around like a puppy, chases after his toys, and his appetite is as healthy as ever. I’m hopeful we’ve got quite a few more years together, and I’m reflecting on all that I’ve gained by having him in my life. Here are five lessons I’ve learned from Tucker that are worth sharing:
#1 – Showing affection: Anyone who has ever had a dog knows that one of the best things about them is the greeting you get when you come home. You don’t even have to have been gone that long! But when you come back, they’re right there to greet you (or, in Tucker’s case, when I wake him up to let him know I’m home), wagging not just their tail but literally their whole body, jumping for joy, making “I’m sooooo happy to see you” noises, and of course going to find their favorite toy so they can finish the greeting properly. Maybe we humans don’t need to show affection quite the same way, but it feels really good when someone is happy to see us! A hug or even a smile can have the same warm result. I think we often don’t let people know that we’re happy to see them, because doing so makes us vulnerable. What if they don’t respond in kind? What if they don’t return the hug or the smile? We’re afraid we’ll end up feeling stupid or awkward. But dogs don’t worry about what others might think – they just know they’re happy to see us, and they let it show.
#2 – Being in the moment: Another wonderful thing about dogs is that they spend a lot more time in the present than we do. For example, a few months ago I took Tucker to the vet, and he was so uncooperative that he had to be muzzled. A week later we had to go back, and you’d think he’d be very hesitant. But, no! He was super excited. Why? Because the vet had treats! He wasn’t wasting any energy on the fact that she’d poked and prodded him in the past, and was probably going to do so again. He was just happy to be right where he was, getting treats. We humans, on the other hand, would have been worrying so much about what had happened to us in the past, or what might happen in the future, that we would miss that moment in the middle where we get treats (metaphorically speaking, of course). I think the main point to take away from Tucker is that there’s no good reason to let our worries and fears about something that isn’t happening right now, spoil something that is happening right now. Right?