April 13, 2012

Confession: Dogs Are Smarter Than Me

Instead of the “usual” status updates (e.g. Look at the mac-n-cheese I made, or We're at the Jelly Belly factory, etc.), a Facebook friend of mine posts a Question of the Day.  I love the idea because not only is it a way to get to know each other better, but because it’s less Let me tell you about me and more I want to know more about you.  My friend’s question can be silly or serious, but it never fails to get my mind percolating.  Today’s question was: What was the best advice your mom ever gave you?
Maybe its my way of keeping her alive, but I jump at any chance to talk about my mom, so the question was right up my alley. But she passed on so much wisdom in the 19 years I had with her, it was hard to decide. After a quick comb-through, it came to me:
Tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone.
Simple translation: Don’t drag your feet about finishing that project or your degree, or traveling if it’s your heart’s desire, or saying “I’m sorry” or “Thank you” or “I love you.” You or the person to whom you need to apologize, thank or love may not be here tomorrow.
Perhaps it wasn’t an optimistic piece of advice, but you have to admit that it’s true. And besides, mom wasn’t one to mince words.
Later in the day, I saw this

Besides getting weepy and feeling thankful for the people who willingly put their lives on the line in military service, I realized that it’s taken me a few losses, more than a few bad decisions in my twenties, and a husband and a child to begin to grasp my mom’s sage advice while dogs seem to intuitively understand it.
Now, I don’t think the basis for dogs' excited expressions of love and welcome are rooted in their philosophic understanding of life's brevity.  All I know is this: when Charley sees my car pull up, his little tail frantically spins like a helicopter, he crouches down low, almost like he's trying not to burst from the joy inside; and by the time I cross the threshold, he’s so happy he dances. Sometimes the joy even dribbles out, bless his heart. 
That's all well and good, but here's the smart part of it: Charley doesn't care that he might have been scolded earlier in the day for bra-stealing (that’s another post) because grudges have no place in the message he's conveying in his doggie way. He doesn’t wait until he finds the perfect way to deliver his “Hi Momma Licks” or the right key in which to bark and yip. He smothers me with licks and yipping right then and there. Just like those dogs in the video.
It’s almost like they know that tomorrow isn’t promised.