Letter from a Dog to His Person

face of a labrador ... ID-100186636Dear Dad,

I asked Mrs. P to write this note for me.

I am getting bigger and I’m wanting an elevated food and water bowl. I like to gulp down water but when I am hunched over, my stomach hurts.  I am a bigger boy now, so may I please have a “big boy” food and water station?

Also when Mrs. P walks me, she uses a leash that goes long and short (retractable).  I have so much fun with this kind of walk.  I can walk bouncy bouncy just a little bit ahead of her, and I always look back and know that she’s still there behind me.  This brings joy to my life.  Would it be possible for you to get this kind of leash?

I love my crate.  It’s my safe spot, but I’m confused about the crate pad I lie on.  I chewed on the material that covers the foam because at first I was curious about what was underneath the material, and then later because I prefer the foam by itself.  Mrs. P told me that Home Depot sells foam by itself, which can be easily replaced when it gets dirty.  I am sorry about chewing the crate pad material, again.

Last but not least, can we discuss my bathroom?  I love my bathroom but I don’t know how to clean up after myself and I sometimes step in the mess.  Would it be possible to clean it up more often?  I wish I could use the potty like you, but I prefer to drink out of it.  Mrs. P and I cleaned my bathroom today.  I really enjoyed spending time outside and helping her.  I can tell she really loves me, just like you do.

I want to thank you for all you do for me.  You are the best dad ever.  I can feel when you’re happy, troubled, sad or just plain tired.  I don’t know how I do this…it’s just “inside” me, and I know things.

I missed you and am glad you are back.  I know you would never abandon me, so when Mrs. P and I spend time together, I am comforted that I will see you soon.

Loving you unconditionally,

Who is Mrs. P?  See www.friendsofmrsp.org
Labrador Retriever, freedigitalphotos.net, by Photokanok

Animal-Speak and Other Joys

IMG_2134 At the close of the year, I sit quietly, a cup of tea in hand and two cats nearby, and reflect back on the year.  What has been steady and true for me throughout the year is my family, my dearest, oldest friends, and my animals.  Each brings joy, peace, and comfort in their own way, and I’m deeply grateful for them.

The ones I spend the most time with—because I work at home as a writer—are my cats, Gracie and Mr. Bean.  Mr. Bean, who was infamously IMG_1924chronicled in the four-part “I Was Born on an Amish Farm in the Middle of Winter,” https://untoldanimalstories.org/2013/09/13/i-was-born-in-the-middle-of-winter/  blog post (several posts down, September 2013), is transforming gradually from over-the-top rambunctiously biting and playful to a more dignified, loving version of himself.  Even Gracie tacitly approves of him from time to time.

Gracie, though, I think she might be something akin to enlightened.  She is consistent in her loving behavior, and she never says an unkind word, so to speak, to anyone.  I suspect she sees things as they are, and despite what others might do, she acts unwaveringly in alignment with the principles of kindness, acceptance, and generosity of soul.  IMG_0072

IMG_0882A home with a pet feels different from a home without pets.  To me, homes without can feel spacious, but the space has a stillness and emptiness.  A home with a pet feels friendlier, fuller, as if the very air has love in it.  Animals give so much.  There are the antics, which amuse; the unconditional affection, which satisfies; the steady presence, which brings comfort; and, of course, the opportunity to do animal-speak.

If you don’t have a pet and are reading this, you’ll think the lot of us are certifiably nuts.  If you have a pet, I’m willing to guess that you do animal-speak:  the animal does something, and you provide the narrative of their thoughts and actions, in a slightly different voice than your own.

Animals have a different sort of wisdom than we do—one that is un-derailed by thinking and believing our own thoughts.  They trust their instincts above all else, seeing clearly beyond any veil of pretense and delusion to the heart of the matter.  These “lesser” beings, to some, have much to teach us.IMG_1873