Canines and Ritual

Dogs are generally one of the happiest species’ I’ve seen. (This is granted that the dog lives in a caring, loving home). Maybe this has occurred to you, too.


Your dog wakes up on the couch, or in your bed, or wherever he sleeps. He stretches his knobby arms out in front of him, and yawns so that his tongue curls up.

When he first meets eyes with you, his ears fold backward and his tail starts beating against whatever surface is closest to it. He trots (or runs) toward you. He’s expressing that you’re one of his favorite people, and that he loves you.

Then you feed him. Dogs’ feeding times are a constant. He eats the same dry food for every meal, every day, and, this blows your mind a little, but he absolutely loves it. Every time.

At some point in the day you’ll probably let him outside, or walk him, which he also loves. In fact, if you open the front door, he’ll come running. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, or what you’re doing. He just wants to be with you.

On your walk, first he speeds ahead. Everything he can smell is interesting. You half run behind him, smiling. He makes you laugh. Once he tires out a bit, he’ll relax and trot next to you. Content just to be.

In the evening, he’ll curl up in that bedtime spot again. The couch. Your bed. He doesn’t reflect on what he could’ve done better today. He doesn’t think about tomorrow or all of the things he needs or wants to do.

His eyes droop shut because he’s simply tired from a long day that he’s enjoyed.

Your dog goes to bed satisfied. He’s not assuming he’ll live another day. He doesn’t think about that. He’s just glad he had today. Every day.


Disclaimer- I have no doubt that dogs understand sorrow. Your dog understands what it’s like to long for someone he misses. (He’ll mope around until they return. He may even pitch a fit.)

But if dogs know what death is, they don’t show it. They live every day so happily, they have me fooled.


I’m aware that this is over-simplified — but I don’t think these notions have to be complex, or too well developed.

I’ll wonder if it’s the stability that makes a dog’s life such a comfort. The ritual, or daily routine?

Or is it the home environment? Loving family, even friends? A place where a dog need not ever ask for more?

Whatever it is, it’s an infallible system. My point- my life would run a lot smoother if I didn’t worry about tomorrow so much, or the things I felt I did wrong today. That’s that! I would be a lot happier if I could wake up every day just thankful to be alive. To see the people I love, to eat a few good meals, and to enjoy some fresh air.

So take some inspiration from your dog this week. Or, at least think about it. Sounds wild, but you might find it freeing, too.


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