There we were, walking down to the river. The day was perfect – sunlight warming our skin, tiny breeze in the air, and the sound of gravel underneath our feet. These pilgrimages are our favorite. The 3 of us make our way down – 2 of us talking about our day, or just walking in silence and letting our souls do the talking. The 3rd one, our dog Kramer, runs ahead, sniffing out footprints from squirrels, or playing the game of marking territory. He runs ahead as if he can’t wait for this amazing adventure, and then, in loyalty, gallops back to us, his smile shining, his pant heavy, tongue hanging out to the side. It’s as if he’s saying, “C’mon guys! Aren’t you excited? Look at this day! Let’s not waste a single second! C’mon! I’ll race you to the river!” and then he’s off again, hoping we’ll follow. And he does this every time we go to the river. He never gets bored with the routine of it. Every walk is as if it’s the first walk ever taken.
The 2 of us finally make it down to the river, and Kramer is waiting at the water’s edge, fur already soaked from a warm-up swim while we lagged behind. His stance is poised, smile from ear-to-ear, ready to play fetch a stick or rock. And for the next 15 minutes or so, we throw a stick in, and he grabs it, and then swims back to us. This is the perfect day for him. Just BEING in the presence of his two favorite people. He lives for this moment. And so do we. There’s something therapeutic about going on a walk, especially with a dog. After a long hard day, as we arrive exhausted at home, there to greet us is Kramer. Somehow that unconditional love and worship and excitement, just cuz we’re home, washes the stress away and everything feels alright…
I wonder if I’m present for every beautiful miracle-moment called life? Do I treat every day as if it’s the first walk ever, even if it may feel like the same routine? Do I jump with both feet in to whatever adventure, task or challenge comes my way? Do I love my Master with unashamed intensity and passion? Is just BEING in His presence enough for me? Do I encourage my favorite people to keep going and never give up?
I’ve learned so many lessons from my dog. I know, he’s just an animal…but his tenacity, humor, loyalty, love and faith can put any of us humans to shame. Some lessons I’ve learned from Kramer are:
– Playing is so refreshing for the soul. Everyone needs to tear around the house or yard every once in a while!
– Food is AMAZING!! Enjoy each morsel intensely!
– Cuddling on the couch is a must, and somehow makes everything ok.
– Riding in the car with the windows down, stereo blazing, and head out, breaks any bad mood!
– After a long walk, and a long day, a good sigh always helps.
– Fun is everywhere and anywhere you are – use your nose and find it! The adventure is waiting – it’s up to you!
– Life is so much better TOGETHER.
– When you see a spider on the wall, bark at it first, and then kill it.
– A treat is always appreciated after some hard work or any performance task.
– When at the beach, dig in the sand, get your feet wet, and chase the waves or seagulls. Oh, and a nice piece of driftwood is great, too.
– Never lose sight of the pleasure if simple things – like chewing a stick to pieces for no reason at all (a.k.a – dog bubble wrap)
– It’s always good to greet those you love at the door.
– Even if you drop or miss the frisbee during a good game of catch, enjoy the process of the play – pick it up, try again – but don’t ever give up! Life is just too precious…
– Don’t ever be ashamed to ask for or receive affection.
– Never withhold any piece of your heart – Love unashamedly!
Kramer has taught me many things. He has taught me the art of being present. He’s shown me that forgiving yourself is possible and it’s liberating. And most importantly, he has taught me the beauty and power of faith (definition: “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”) That if, and when, I have faith like a dog, my life will have less stress in it, more pleasure in the simplicity of beauty, and I will rest in the fact that my Master will take care of me and we will share this beautiful life together.