At least twice a week, I am told that my dogs are spoiled. And instead of denying this, I respond with a simple: “Thank you. I work very hard to have that be true.” This of course leaves most of these people opened mouthed, staring at me strangely. Because I absolutely mean it.
I cook liver and chicken for them, allow them to hang their head out the car window when I drive, let them sleep in the bed with me, and for god sakes never practice those alpha dog trainings of not looking at them or petting them until 15 minutes after I arrive home. In fact – we have a tradition of sitting on the couch and saying “hello” to each other until the excitement of being reunited again ebbs away.
Take a minute to look what the “spoiled ” statement means. Here is a being – my canine – that I love beyond measure. They are totally devoted to me. How should I treat them? Should I be a spartan with them? Make sure they know their place? Let them know they are “only” dogs? Should I make them sleep in the garage or a wooden unheated dog house?
I never have stopped these people to analyze the source of their statements. However I receive the belief from them that “life is hard.” That we MUST all suffer. That my dogs, and I am sure other people, need to pay their dues. That they think I must be mean to my pets, that life is so dire that it is hideous to see a moment of sheer joy on a dog.
Dogs as the role models to humans
I look to my dogs as role models. They embody joy for me, and have taught me that it is ALL possible. If they are so happy to see me, to go on a walk, the least I could do is be in a better mood. Every time I come home they greet me, ecstatic to see me. Going for a walk makes them happier than I ever see some people.
Yes, my dogs are considered spoiled by some. The reality is I am the lucky one. I am loved unconditionally by these masters of love, my dogs. I am their student. And maybe, just maybe, I will get it right one of these days.
Is there a word for being beyond spoiled?