I aspire to approach life the way my dog approaches a snow day. And no, not to bound through it with unbridled abandon. That’s part of my aspiration, but not the whole of it. And neither is it the whole of life. ...
I aspire to approach life the way my dog approaches a snow day.
And no, not to bound through it with unbridled abandon. That’s part of my aspiration, but not the whole of it. And neither is it the whole of life.
My dog, Seamus, is 45 pounds and will be 15 in March. In human years, he’s approximately George Burns. He can’t see very well, is deaf, has arthritis in his hips, has some nerve thing in his back that makes his back legs give out occasionally, and has the beginnings of dementia, which mostly manifests itself in a lack of concern for social rules like: “in this house, we go outside to pee” and “doors open where the handle is, not where the hinges are.”
If you’ve not heard, we had snow on Saturday here in North Carolina. Mostly we had ice, but the top layer was honest to God snow. Seamus was excited. He bounced about in the snow, dug with reckless fervor, and shoved his nose deep in every track he could see for a good sniff of the dogs, deer, and bunnies that had come before.
Joy is a wonderful thing.
To me, Seamus’s snow days are defined by his joy. They are also defined by his fortitude. Seamus plays in the snow, but he also expects the routine of his life to be maintained. Moreover, he takes responsibility for sticking to his routines.
I would like it if the dog went out to do his business and immediately came back in. Under that inch of snow is at least two inches of ice and walks are treacherous for both of us. It hasn’t gotten above freezing, so it’s only melting enough for me to hydroplane. And for the dog to hydroplane. I can’t count the number of times Seamus’s nerve thing has caused one of his back feet to slip and he’s gone down on the ice. On this morning’s walk, he fell three times.
But each time he fell, he pulled himself back up and we eagerly continued our walk. The fact that he’s not steady on his walk hasn’t changed his desire to take them, it’s only made him more careful where he steps.
If it were up to him, we’d still be going for the mile walk on the path through the woods, not any of this weak, around-the-block nonsense.
This morning, as I stood in the eight degree temperatures, watching my dog fall for the second time and giving him a minute to get up before I tried to help him, I had this epiphany: