I’ve been observing this puppy of mine for the last couple weeks, and I’ve decided that there’s a lot to learn from her. Here are some of the lessons she’s taught me!
We went to the dog park last week, and Buffy found this softball. Oh, how she loved it. She was determined to haul it around with her — even though it’s about the size of her head. Sometimes as humans we carry around our nostalgia like Buffy’s softball. Sure, it can still look shiny and new, but really it’s just something old we keep finding over and over again.
Continuing to carry it with us is a chore, though not always one we see as such. Sometimes we never know how much weight we’ve been hauling with us until someone makes us let it go.
Even if they resemble satellite dishes more than auditory devices, your ears are important. Listening to the world and the other people around you is one of the greatest tools you can ever use. So often we surround ourselves with sound without taking the trouble to sit down and really listen — and all too often we hear words without listening to the meaning behind them.
We’re all guilty of it: people with differing viewpoints, our parents, our spouses, our friends, our bosses, our employees, our children, that homeless guy on the corner. The list goes on and on. We think we know best and wonder why things aren’t working out the way we wanted them to. Nine times out of ten, our problems can be more easily solved if we just open up our ears and hear people out.
When Buffy and Willow first met, there was a lot of bottle brush tail, a few lunges, several hisses, and a full-clawed swipe or two. They may both have four legs, fur, and a tail, but they’re still different kinds of critters who speak a different language. It took them some trial and error and a lot of listening to the occasional yelp and mew to get it right — and they still backslide a little — but now they’re able to hang out and share something they both like: ice cubes.
I gave them both ice cubes the other day, and lo and behold, they both love them! They sat there just lick, lick, licking them until they were gone. Even if you’re different than someone, even if to you a friendly bark sounds, well, friendly and you can’t understand why it scares someone else — you might be able to find some common ground somewhere. That’s where those satellites above come in handy.
I don’t think people like to hear that, even though we tell our kids and our pets over and over. “Don’t touch the stove; it’s hot!” “Just because you can get on the roof doesn’t mean you should!” “Yes, but how are you going to get down from the tree?”
Willow’s bird sure looks like fun to Buffy, but that plastic rod could splinter easily. It has small parts that could choke her. Just like Willow shouldn’t gorge herself on Buffy’s treats, Buffy shouldn’t get to play with toys that could be hazardous to her.
Think about 2008, the splintering plastic rod in the US mortgage world. For a decade, Americans bought houses that were out of reach. Just barely, maybe, but they overextended themselves. Then the rod splintered, and we all choked on it. I worked in real estate that year. It went boom, and not in a good, exploding values sort of way. More like diamonds to dirt. If something is out of reach, it doesn’t mean we should stop at nothing to get it; it sometimes means we should be content with what we have and be thankful for it.
This also can be a tough splinter to swallow. Willow loves her boxes. Spouse went through a whole twenty minutes of trouble to carve out holes, make little danglies, and generally create a cardboard paradise for Willow Kitty. Buffy doesn’t have anything like that, and she tries to chase Willow inside her little havens.
But she doesn’t fit. She instead knocks them over and then sits there looking bewildered.
If she did get inside, she’d likely feel trapped and panicked and try to get out, breaking the box in the process. We’re back to the people are different theme — what works for you might not work for someone else. That can go for politics, religion, waking up early, who you want to marry, and what kind of cheese you like on your sandwiches. Trying to fit into someone else’s comfy box could cause panic and claustrophobia. Find something that works for you, and be yourself.
There are seven billion people on this planet. (Anyone else remember when it was *only* six? Yeesh.) Most of them probably disagree with you. That’s fine. But what we have to remember regardless of who disagrees is that we’re all stuck on this little round rock together. We have to breath each other’s air and drink each other’s water. Sometimes we have to help other people’s children.
This world can be a big and scary place, but it’s full of faces. Full of people who might look and think differently than we do, but people who ultimately desire the same things we do. Safety. Love. Food. Sex. Warmth. Companionship. We’re all different, but we are also all the same. We’ll never get along if we can’t think outside the box and step out of our comfort zones a little.
Besides. Sometimes you find that life just tastes a bit better when you do.
Buffy the Siberian Husky and Willow the Domestic Medium Hair Mutt Cat are already best pals — they play, drink from the same water bowl, and wreak havoc for Mom. Between the surprise pouncing matches, the war on Mom’s bamboo, and Buffy’s ability to pee twice in two minutes right after she comes inside, life’s always a trip in the Mears household. They’re only 9 weeks into this life, but they’re already showing me that they’ve got some wisdom to teach me.
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