2014 has started off quite busy for us in my house. Between a conveyor belt of snow storms, head colds, Norovirus and work, the Polar Bear Clan seems to have one thing after another. But, we’re making the most of it and making the most of our New Year’s Resolutions.
2014 has also brought in a major change in our household. I wanted to get my wife a new puppy for Valentine’s Day. Today was the day I was supposed to pick her up. But just like most other things so far this year, we had to be flexible and pick her up a week early (during a head cold for me, and Norovirus for my wife). The timing could not have been worse, but those were the cards we were dealt. On the plus side, she’s settling in well already, she and the older dog, River, are starting to get the pecking order in line, and we have started to master potty training, and she’s been named – Phoebe.
(Love those eyes)
Then, miracle of miracles, we got a snow storm and my office and my wife’s office closed! So, we’re all hunkered down in the house with our River dog, and Phoebe monster. Letting the storm pass and staying away from the crazies on the roads.
The pup started to cry at 5 this morning. I got up, and took her out. With puppy enthusiasm, she charged out into the snow to do her “business.” While waiting in the cold, freezing rain and sleet (unfortunately, we turned over to ice last night) I was thinking about how much we can learn from puppies.
Yes, they chew, have accidents in the house and can annoy their older siblings as we work out the pecking order of the new “pack” dynamic. But while they may not know commands, or fully grasp their name and things, they have a lot they can teach us.
Everyday is a new, wonderful opportunity to explore and make our lives fuller, as we learn about the world around us. Puppies experience everything around them even though sometimes it causes trouble. People tend to get stuck in a rut or routine, and let that just become the same for them day after day.
While yes, we can be scared easily (for instance, the heat pump kicks on while we’re standing next to it) and we hightail it across the yard as fast as we can go, we also “get over it” quickly, and move back over to cautiously explore this new “thing.” Unfortunately, as children and even as adults, we tend to decide it’s okay to be afraid of something new or old and rather than push through the fear and grow, we just sit back and let that particular aspect of their lives pass them by.
Attack everything with 100% enthusiasm and gusto! Whether it be a new bowl of food, five toys at once, your first snow or even meeting new people. We have a tendency to be ho-hum about meeting people, the same things we eat every day, or even in the games we play from time to time. We don’t actually enjoy or fully experience most of the things in our lives. Puppies don’t miss out on any bit of an experience.
Play every day! Even if we’re just getting back from a “potty break” as soon as we’re off the leash, Phoebe will take off across the room to attack the first toy she comes to. Puppies can play for hours on end. I think adults especially, should try to focus more on having at least a little fun every day. Most of us don’t take a little time to laugh and have a little fun. While playing hard can lead to the next point, it is also good for our health, lowered blood pressure, increased heart rate etc. etc. etc.
(why pull the toys out, when you can climb in and play with them?)
Sleep without worry. I’ve never seen someone fall asleep so quickly as a puppy. Play-play-play-pass-out. And just like a small baby, you can pick them up, move them around, manipulate them. They sleep so soundly. As we grow older, and take on more responsibility, we typically can’t just fall asleep. We toss and turn. We may blame the mattress, our spouse or any number of things. But if we just let things go, not worry as much and relax, we’d all fall into a blissful, hard and as my friend says “delicious” sleep.
Love unconditionally. All dogs, puppies and seniors, greet you at the door even if you’ve been gone for 30 seconds. Like they haven’t seen you in weeks. While you may scold a puppy for chewing the furniture, five seconds later, they come over to play. Dogs don’t hold grudges, and forgive immediately (if you accidentally step on them) and are the champions of full, unabiding love. Something, that without explanation, we can all learn from.
Our little Phoebe may not have come on time, or during an ideal situation with our illnesses and work schedules. But, just like any child, you’re never fully prepared. Compared to River, she can be a monster at times. But she’s smart and is learning quickly. She has gotten River to be more active (part of the thought process in getting her) and has increased my “steps” according to Fitbit even though I’ve not made it into the gym. Mostly she brings us unimaginable joy, in her honest and carefree approach to things, the laughs she’s given us in the week she’s become part of the Polar Bear Clan and you can feel a little less tension in you shoulders and chest as she’s around. Melting your heart and releasing the stress in your every day life.
(River’s typical day before Phoebe arrived)
We can learn a lot from the little monster, just as she learns a lot from us. We just have to open ourselves to the possibility of learning from her. So welcome Phoebe.