Seriously — every day I learn something from my dogs. Something about beginner’s heart. Something about Buddhism. Something profound, usually, masquerading as just ‘dog talk’ (that’s what my occasionally dismissive acquaintances call my prattling about my dogs) .
One of my dogs is neurotic. The one w/ the better childhood, paradoxically — the one we bought from a good breeder, a breeder who obviously sells French bulldogs both from love and for profit. And I don’t think the two need be exclusive . Beautiful as he is (and no, ‘beautiful French bulldog’ is not an oxymoron), he’s terribly insecure. About everything — he has short dog syndrome…
The other is a beta (not the fish, the subordinate dog ). Bought from a borderline bad breeder — and the wrong side of the border — Hugo isn’t a great Frenchie. But he’s a great person . He puts up w/ his brother chewing on him because (I swear) he knows how insecure Pascal is. But he’s not a masochist about it — when Hugo has enough, he lets Pascal know. That’s such great beginner’s heart: put up w/ folks, but not at your own expense. That’s lesson #1.
Buddhist lesson #2 is ‘go for it.’ There’s a mad-dash dog tag that P&H engage in, known among those of us w/ Frenchies as the ‘Frenchy 500.’ (really). And when they’re happy, that’s their favourite kind of crazy. They tear madly around the room, bowling each over like lumpy beach balls, wheezing and snorting and generally reducing anyone watching to helpless laughter. It’s the most ineffectual intensity you can imagine. And it makes not only the two of them happy, but each of us who’ve seen it. Just to think about it makes me smile.
Lesson #3 is about love — a biggie for beginner’s heart. No matter if I’ve just gone to run an errand, or been gone for a week on a conference, or TWO WEEKS on vacation, I get the same jumping, twirling, amazing soar of a welcome. You were gone! And now you’re back! OMG! I’m sooo happy! Would that I could remember to pour that kind of love on the people in my life — so many — who deserve it.
Buddhist lesson #4? Another biggie — that ‘let it go.’ If I get home late, tired and cranky, and don’t have the energy to throw Mr. Squeaky across the room over & over, Pascal is disappointed. But it doesn’t last. All I have to do is reach down and pull him onto my lap and he’s a happy doggy camper. Especially if I let him lick my hand (I know, yuk – but it’s a Pascal thing…).
The final huge lesson in beginner’s heart? Listen. No matter what I say, P&H listen. They seem to be able to understand far beyond the capabilities of dogs best known for warming the empty beds of turn-of-the-19th-century French hookers… When I need company, they are at my feet. When I need space, they lay down no more than 4 feet away. And those amazing bat ears swivel at my every sigh, as they breathe for me. Noisily, but with love.