I can't imagine not having my dogs in my life.
I usually have dogs around me. Right now as I type, three of them are on the bed behind me. I have camped with dogs, biked with dogs, hiked all over this country with dogs, driven with dogs, eaten with dogs, laughed with dogs, cried with dogs.
I'm sure my house smells a bit doggy. Sometimes I know I smell a bit doggy too. They've done damage to my house, my "things" and my family's "things" from the puppies we have reared: tiny mouths cutting teeth on my siding (yes, my siding!), chewing up my couch, gnawing on my shoes. And then there's Elise's Barbies we have lost, too many to count, like this one.
And, like Gary Paulsen says, dogs are rarely quiet:
"They live in sound, always in noise. Perhaps because it is so constant, the art of listening to them falls off, and so many things they say are not heard, are swallowed in the overall sound. ...They bark, whine, wheeze, growl, and -- wonderfully -- sing."
There is absolutely nothing that fills my heart with joy and contentment like waking in the night to hear my little pack singing.
But dogs always live in the moment. When they're hungry, they eat; when they have to pee, they do; when they are happy, they play; when they want to run, they do; when they want love, they find a friend to nuzzle against.
None of the damage to my "things" can make me hold a grudge over them. Because they are always in the moment. And they always love me with the purest form of love no human could ever match. Dogs are the ultimate Buddha.
I have seven dogs. I want more. I want a field of dogs: prancing, smiling, barking, howling, singing, wagging, wiggling, sleeping, growling, belly-rubbing always-happy-to-see-me dogs.
If I could, I would move away and live in a yurt in the middle of some forest somewhere with my family, both human and canine. We would live by the seasons and the ebb and flow of the moon and sun. We would make fires and live simply. And we would run, run, run. I would teach my kids how to live off the land via dogs. And the dogs would teach my kids how to live in the moment.
And maybe, just maybe, they'd teach me too. Because sometimes I'm not so good at this.