Thursday, March 4, 2010

"I can't go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." Lewis Carroll

We are made up of the days that come before today. Our personal histories, and the people who come into and out of our lives for various reasons help shape and change who we are.

One of my favorite quotes is this one above. Change is the only constant in life. Rolling with those changes is sometimes difficult. But the atmosphere, the weather, even our own cell make up is all different today than it was yesterday. A few days ago, buckets of snow fell and I was breaking trail with my dogs. And today, the sun sparkled in millions of glinting smiles in millions of crystalline flecks of snow! Is it really March? Can it be?

The dogs pad around in the snow, which is now nearly an ice rink. They celebrate the sun; they celebrate the moon. They have squabbles, and forget them almost immediately. Dogs are masters of change. They adapt. I recently learned that huskies can actually change their metabolism to suit their environment and the food available in that environment.

We can learn a lot from dogs.

Our own squabbles and dramas of our little lives really are insignificant. When I am presented with a challenging situation (which usually involves people), I always ask myself one thing.

"Will this matter five years from now?"

Nine times out of ten, the answer is no.

People reveal much about their characters in how they treat animals.

Are animals something to be bought and sold, turned over the way some people flip houses? Are we motivated only by what that animal can bring to us, whether it be money, fame, some idea of success?

Dogs are loyal. I can communicate an idea or thought to my dogs with just my posture or the way I look at them. They know me. They trust me and my judgements. They look to me as their leader, and they trust that.

We can learn a lot from dogs.

My dogs are "lifers." They come to the ranch, and, as long as I have anything to say about it, they will die on the ranch. I do not keep dogs solely for what they can bring me (money, fame, some idea of success); I keep dogs as part of an extended family. And I am loyal to that family.

Today, there was a squabble in the kennel over a nasty, soggy tug rope toy that had been laying under several layers of snow half the winter. As the snow has melted, it as revealed misplaced and discarded pieces of yesterday: a toy car, a piece of a stuffed animal, this tug rope.

Like children, the dogs were eager for this new discovery and tore after it during free run time today. Marley, the Aussie, and Yeti, my leader, met at the tug rope equally.

There was a showdown.

Yeti reached for the rope first, inciting attack. A sudden tangle of fur and growling testosterone ensued.

Trick: if you want to separate two dogs who are fighting, grab the tail of one of them

I grabbed Yeti's tail. Confused, he stumbled to regain his balance, in doing so, let go of Marley. I checked both dogs. Marley was protected by his woolly-mammoth coat. Yeti, however, had a chunk taken right out from under his right eye.

But, within five minutes, Marley and Yeti were scampering around the yard together, having completely forgotten about their squabble. Water under the bridge. Dogs don't dwell.

We can learn a lot from dogs.

I can't go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then. All I can do is move forward and look to tomorrow. And walk away.

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