Thursday, January 16, 2014

the tao of pooch (thank you Benjamin Hoff)

Ah, the 2013 roundup. Highlights include passing my exams (halleloooyaah!), mastering a back flip on the trampoline (that’s a lie – I did master the fantasy of it though), learning how to eat humble pie with chopsticks and (namedrop-namedrop) bumping into Die Antwoord on the beach (they’re a lot nicer in real life than what they seem... but that’s a story for another day). 

Mmm, what else… ah yes, joining Instagram. Consequently it comes as no shocker that ‘selfie’ was the Word of 2013. When I first signed up I was truly alarmed at the amount of selfies there are out there. Seriously, it’s an epidemic of sorts. And slightly weird, especially if you’re scantily clad. What I also can’t believe is how many photos there are of dogs on Instagram. And what can I say, scoffing be damned, I’ve actually become one of them.

A couple of months ago we bought – much to the mirth of our friends – not one, but two Jack Russell puppies. From the get-go I have been rather smitten with them (seriously, who doesn’t love a puppy?) My romance with them was fueled only more by their constant presence at my side whilst I studied for my exams. It was somehow calming to look at them sleeping peacefully and think to myself “Mmm, one day when I’m a dog and I won’t have to write exams EVER AGAIN”. 

Recently, whilst watching them play in the golden light of early evening (think ‘Hallmark card image with soft edge editing’), I decided (with the aid of insight that only strong whiskey can provide) that there must surely exist such a thing as ‘Dog Philosophy’. So far, here is what I’ve learnt from our little ankle biters…

1. Always start the day with a nap, followed by a quick pee, a short burst of energy and then another nap.

2. Growl, fight and bare your fangs, but when you’re done, shake it off, walk away and act as if nothing ever happened.

3. Take a nap.

4. Feel free to run about wildly but allow yourself plenty of short breaks to smell the … well, just to smell anything, really.

5. Be sure to take a nap when you return from your wild running.

6. Explore the world to your heart’s content, but always have a bowl of clean water and nice home with a soft bed that you can come home to.

7. Because you’ll want to take a nap.

8. Use your ‘cute face’ to its full advantage.  Folk are bound to help you when you make an effort.

9. Happiness lies in taking plenty of naps.

10. When at first you come across a stranger, act brave and show your swagger. Then, when you get to know them better, show them your soft side and be really nice.

11. And then take a nap.

12. Beware of old dogs. They’re often sore which makes them cranky and being cranky makes them sore. Best to sniff them politely and then move on swiftly.

13. Suggest they take a long nap.

14. Beware of very young dogs.  They can be nippy and yappy and if you spend too much time with them you will end up chasing your tail.

15. Insist on a nap.

16. Be grateful for the food you have but never give up hope that something more exciting may appear. (See point 8 re: “cute face”).

17. Nap.

18. If someone fences you in, push the boundaries or dig around it.

19. But if you can do neither, take a nap.

20. Never stop being curious. It may lead you to a snake in the grass but it may also lead to who knows what kind of exciting things.

21. Nap again.

22. Greet the people you love as if you haven’t seen them in years, even if you only saw them 5 minutes ago. It just makes them feel nice. 

23. Nap with them.

24. If you are made to wear a leash, pull against it with all your might so at least you have the lead. 

25. Nap a while.

26. When someone opens a door for you, take the gap. You never know if it will open up again.

27. On your return, take a nap.

28. Take all the pee breaks you can get. You never know when it will no longer be your choice to keep it in or let it out (see point 12 re: ‘old dogs’).

29. Nap in between pee breaks.

30. Finally – and I wish I knew who original author of these wise words was  – ‘treat every problem as your dog would: if you can’t eat it or hump it, piss on it and walk away”.

31. And then, most certainly, take a nap.