Looking Up

Mom says to never forget to look up.

It is really easy to forget.  As wonderful as I am, I still am not perfect.  I get wrapped around the need (a driving, pounding, persistent NEED) for cookies.  Now.

Mom takes me for lots of walks.  And I get lots of cookies in this campground we are in now.  My nose pulls me towards the promise of cookies.   And I often get them . . .  by ones, twos, threes . . .  and when I am exceptionally lucky, by the fours (oh, Uncle Joe, thank you thank you thank you).

But you know what?  If I slow down enough to ponder Mom’s advice, I find that the world is way bigger than I knew.  And a simple cookie does not define its limits.

You see those doggies over yonder?  They don’t mean me any harm.  I don’t have to strain at my leash and try to run them out of town.  Even if they get cookies, too, it seems that there is plenty to go around.

Do you want to know what the craziest thing is?  Good, simple lovin’–a scratch on the butt, rubbing of the ears, massaging the bark-sore throat, a meandering conversation on a balmy afternoon–it turns out that those things are just as sweet as a cookie.  Who knew?

Maybe that’s what Mom means about looking up.  I need to find some distance, a perspective longer and broader than that granted through self-gratification–aren’t I smart to use such big words!–to see the bigger picture.  The wider picture.  The deeper picture.

Mom likes to read what she calls history.  She says that when you look at an immediate problem (like the need to be alpha cookie dog at all times, no matter what or who or wherefore) through the perspective of a big, sweeping picture (like the one at the top of this post that shows a timeless, blue sky free from the grasp of winter’s gnarled, dying branches) it can boost your faith, trust, and confidence to do the right thing.

Translation?  Well, in my case, I would do well to appreciate the lovin’ I get from our neighbors as much as those cookies.  To allow other doggies to enjoy their cookies, too.  It turns out that what they enjoy does not detract from what I enjoy.  It actually multiplies all of the joy.

It brightens the blue of the sky for every one of us.

Nothing wrong with that.

Just sayin’.  As a humble little doggy.  Just sayin’.

Six Socks Strong

Mom has handed the “pen” over to me today.  She has a whopper of a cold and is so tuckered out she can barely pull up her socks.  She didn’t even work as long as she normally does on a Sunday (yay!), then she came back pooped out and fell into bed for the afternoon.

She watched the movie “Fargo” on TV.  That seemed to make her a little happier, though I don’t know why.  It’s so oddly sweet and bloody.  Tomorrow she is looking forward to “Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla.”  I’m not sure at what point I should call in a doctor.

Fortunately for me, her odd behavior doesn’t stop her from leashing me up and getting us out for our walks.  Maybe not as many as when she is feeling on top of the world, but she surely does not neglect me and our fresh air needs.  One step at a time, Mom, one step at a time.  Come along, girl, we’ll get there.

I know all about that, you see.  My life hasn’t always been a bucket of cookies.  I was still a bit of a pup when I moved in with my family.  I was about eight months old, but Mom was amazed at how little I knew about life.  Uncle Buster had to teach me how to play fetch.  Ah ya, Uncle Buster.  He was good to me, welcoming me into his household.  Then I proceeded to take things over from him and I became the alpha boss dog.  Hey, what can I say?  That is my nature, and I followed it.

I came from a place of cold cement floors, bars and wires on the door, and hardly any fresh air time at all.  The first time I saw leaves fluttering down from the trees and snowflakes riding the breeze, I pretty much froze in terror.  For, being who I am, I deeply fear what I do not know.  And, like Mom would probably point out if she were participating in this writing exercise, I do not know a whole lot more than I let on.

Nevertheless, I must be alpha.  Full of bluster and constantly pushing the limits.  What’s that you say?  Don’t bark at that doggy through the window?  For the umpteenth time, then, make me stop!  Ha!  I still got in the last word . . . grrrrrr.

Time to go.  I’ve gotta help Mom find her darned socks again.  I do love her, but sometimes I think she’d be a total loss without me.  I must admit, that’s what helps keep me going on my hard days.  I suppose that, between the two of us, we do stand mighty strong.  I’m not just being generous admitting that. It’s the simple truth.

When we walk together, we are balanced.  We are six socks strong.  I have four.  She has two.  Just so we are clear on that.

Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh . . .

. . . I get to see my Boy soon!  Mom keeps telling me he’s not a boy any more.  He’s a man.  I tell her he’ll always be my boy.  And I’ll always be his doggy.  That usually hushes her up, probably because she realizes that same young man will always be her baby.  It’s important to have the last word, you know.

Anyhew, Mom and I are back on the road.  No more short trips to do laundry and Walmart and an occasional “explore,” some of which she has had the nerve to do without me.  We have a few stops to make along the way to our boy, stretching a 400 mile trip to more than three times that length.  Silly Mom.  Me, I’m direct.  I believe you should make up your mind and then implement.  Concentrate on one step at a time.  Sniff out the perfect spot, pee on it, then move on.

Mom would rather turn the journey into something of a dance.  A one and a two and a quick-step, we are off to flirt with Father Winter.  Foxtrotting northward first, taunting those snowflakes so eager to enter from stage-west, cha cha cha.  Followed by a sassy salsa to the east–I do have sass, you know–and, finally, waltzing to the south, and southward again, our final twirl will end in a deeeeply dramatic southern dip…  Out of reach of Winter’s frigid arms.  Oh, how exhausting!

Mom likes to romanticize and sentimentalize (if you can’t tell, I allowed her to write much of that previous wacko paragraph).  She goes on and on about how much she loves east Tennessee and her new friends.  Me, I’m more practical.  Yes, it has been a nice enough of a place to swoosh my tail for the summer.  Lots of good smells.  Nice people giving me good pats.  Great places to walk every single day, several times a day.  Plenty of Mom-and-me time, including some deep-relaxation, snuggle-naps.

Most interestingly, I have made a really good friend of my own, my walking partner, Millie.  That is her picture at the start of this post.  Pretty darned generous of me, huh, since there are lots of pictures of me that I could have put there.  But I think highly enough of Millie to give her a brief place of honor.  Remember, I am nothing if not generous.  Yup, that’s me.  Miss Generous.

In fact, I think we should make it official.  I am going to submit “Generous” to Mom for my newest middle name.  It has a wonderful ring to it:  Dawny Virgil Prewash Sassy Generous…  Yup, I like it.  It is also important that I give myself a name and not just accept the labels of others.

Although… Virgil, yes, that was bestowed upon me by my boy.  My wonderful, sweet boy.  He felt it conferred the gravitas and dignity that I deserve.  And I love him for that.

A one and a two and a swoosh-swoosh…  See you soon, Boy!

This post is dedicated to my Tennessee walking buddy, Millie.  She promenades along with her mom, my mom, and me (I take the lead, of course), carrying herself with tremendous style and wearing a great big smile.  Please don’t interpret this as sentimentality.  It is simply a fact.  I truly will miss Miss Millie.