What our dogs can offer us

I love to take time in the morning to hang out with my dogs. In fact, anytime when I get to just watch them is precious for me. Many times I try to watch inconspicuously wishing that I could fly or hover unnoticed by them as I take away every secret of their “doginess”. This interests me not only because I love my dogs – meaning that I think they are the cutest, funniest, smartest, and on and on, but all those loaded descriptions that in a way say more about us than them. But I am also fascinated with doginess: the pure notion of dogs (all dogs) being dogs.

As I exercise my habit of just observing them, I am caught in a moment of Rio’s and Deuce’s relationship; another aspect of doginess. This little ritual takes place every single morning, yet I still enjoy watching for nuances and laugh to myself because Rio performs this every single morning with absolute seriousness and motive.

Both dogs eat their meals while being fed out of a bowl in the laundry room. Their places are set as well as the routine. Deuce takes a much more dedicated approach to eating his meal and by the time he is licking his bowl with satisfaction, Rio has long ago left her post and is now watching Deuce intently from a distance. This is one of the parts I love most about her little “ritual”; even though she is ready to pounce on Deuce’s bowl for any residual of a meal, she does it respectfully – almost unnoticed by Deuce. There is also so much about their individualism that is displayed in this precious after-breakfast moment. Rio’s bigger than life approach: making her interactions with what interest her as if the world is her oyster, even though often enough she truly lacks the confidence that Deuce exhibits so matter of fact, on a daily basis and so elegantly.

Unless I am really running late, I give myself the gift of slowing my own morning routine to watch them. As I slow myself to pay attention to the intricacies AND delicacies of behavior- especially dog behavior, I am transported to an intimate world where only those willing to slow down enough to notice and relish are invited.

Dogs can, if we let them, offer us an existence that is less unencumbered with banality. In the process of witnessing and enjoying their interactions, and secret codes of engagement we are by default practicing empathy, which in my opinion is very much lacking in our world. Empathy: seeing it from the perspective of others… and what can be more empathetic than making the decision to forfeit our own momentary rush to partake in what matters to others, and what matters to our dogs.