Author Milan Kundera wrote, “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.” In the spirit of this quote, we proudly present to you Part II of our contributor Stephanie McCracken’s article, “For the Love of Dog…”
In Good Health,
Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC
For the Love of Dog, Part II by Stephanie McCracken
There are so many life lessons that we can learn from our canine friends. Visit a dog park and as you chat with the other pet owners, forming your own human pack, watch for some highly social encounters from our four-legged comrades. The moment a new dog enters the Off Leash area the others rush to greet him or her. Just like humans, some dogs are assertive and eager to engage with new friends. While there are other pups, too timid to play, cowering as other dogs intrude on personal space.
Not unlike any human gathering spot, you will witness fluffy little princesses prancing with their freshly groomed hair, too pretty and graceful to be bothered with anything but gourmet treats. There are muscle bound pit bulls proudly showing off their athleticism, delivering each droll and dirt covered ball with a doggish smile. Terriers, faithful hunters, watchfully turn their gaze to the trees, honing in on a squirrel or a bird or a leaf that appears menacing, a primal urge overtaking every fiber contained within their furry coats. Those terriers remind me of how essentially vital it is to make time each day for the exercising of instincts, whatever instincts or natural exuding energies flow from within you.
It is widely known that physical contact is essential to development and critical for happiness. Infants in foreign orphanages often exhibit “failure to thrive,” a shutting down of engagement for no reason other than lack of physical stimulation. Neurochemicals that translate to feelings of warmth and love are released by both pet and owner upon contact. This may explain why there is an ever-growing demand for animal therapy. Pets, dogs in particular, undergo intensive training in order to enter hospitals and nursing homes to visit the ill and dying. We don’t know exactly why the individuals respond so positively when visited by our four-legged friends, but they more often than not report feeling better and recovery from major illness or surgery. There is something magically curative in this interaction!
Dogs, along with other species of animals, such as horses, have been domesticated for hundreds of years. Consequently, they and we have evolved abilities to work and play alongside each other. These domestic creatures anticipate the wants and needs of people and typically behave with a desire to appease their owners. Whether the pet is helping to fight a fire, offering eyes so that an owner is able to navigate the unseen world, working with law enforcement to find and seize illegal drugs or being a protective force that may help a child of domestic violence find warmth and comfort, which he or she needs to sleep through the night; the affirmative proof illuminating the dedication of dogs is overwhelming.
A positive loving relationship brings with it the prospect to revolutionize previous misconceptions, an opportunity to re-experience life while exuding its most fundamental and invigorating sensations, warmth, care, togetherness, and all of this For The Love of Dog…
Lessons that I learned from Pavlov:
A gentleman sits and waits patiently for dinner to be shared with him, always gently plucking morsels from a fork or a hand with the utmost delicateness—-only a lesser animal attempts to seize what is not offered unless we are talking about pumpkin gobs, which defy all other laws of existence.
Chivalry is not dead—-there are those among us that will trade their life to protect others, and while I am not typically that sort of damsel, Pavlov showed me that there are moments when it is ok to yield to the safety of another’s protection.
Sometimes living the good life means taking a moment to roll around in the sun-warmed grass and smiling as the scent of the earth invades your nostrils.
While squirrels are just trying to get their nuts, there are others who are just trying to get the squirrel; there must be a balance to all things!
We may spend our entire life chasing something that we never catch, but this does not diminish the glory of when our pulse is quickened and our focus is in alignment with the glorious sensation of pursuing a goal!
Sometimes the best thing that we can offer another is a silent moment and a kiss to wipe away their tears.
Finally—-the last lesson that I learned from Pavlov—-never allow the things that are frustrating and bothersome to distract me from seeing the things that I love most.
Until next time –