Your dog, the Buddha

Of all the relationships a human being is capable of entering into, having a dog must be one of the most rewarding. Compared to the vast majority of those we routinely engage with, our dogs ask us for very little, and they always give more in return. What’s more, our canine companions are born with an innate and immediate understanding of the Tao. They know how things hang together. Now that may seem a grandiose claim, but before you discard it, consider the following…

Dogs know only now

Your dog gleefully eats the same pellets every day, gets ludicrously excited about walking every morning, and will always be suspicious of being bathed. Although it’s true that some experiences color how a dog sees the world (a dog beaten regularly will probably be frightened of or aggressive towards anybody holding a stick), by and large dogs live continually in the present moment. They don’t know tomorrow is coming, and they don’t remember yesterday, so they have nothing to look forward to and nothing to regret. You’ll never catch a dog scheming about revenge or crying over split milk. He’ll chase a cat if one comes along, but won’t lose sleep fantasizing about it, and if he narrowly misses catching kitty he’ll just go and find something else to chew. Humans could save themselves a lot of stress and anxiety by living in the now like their dogs.

 

Dogs don’t sweat the small stuff

Food, shelter, exercise and love is all a dog needs. Humans too, when you think about it. Only your dog doesn’t care what toy Fido next door is playing with, or what type of collar Rex around the corner is wearing. A dog lives simply, and doesn’t care about the conversation.

 

Dogs don’t do grudges

If you accidentally lock your dog in the bedroom, he won’t hate you for life (although he might rip up a few pillows out of frustration). He’ll just be really happy to be out, thank you for freeing him from his predicament, and then get on with his day. Dogs have a marvelous ability to accept a situation for what it is, and then to move on. The feelings they have at any particular moment may come out in inappropriate or destructive ways, and this should be corrected, but once the situation has resolved itself it’s on to the next thing, with no baggage in tow. Think of all the time and energy you could save not hating on your neighbor for that noisy party the other week.

 

Dogs are excellent mirrors

Dogs respond intuitively to energy – they read a situation according to the emotions and mental states of all involved. Your dog will tell you how you are feeling before you know yourself. Moreover, their responses are always authentic. There is no hidden agenda behind their aggression, fear or happiness. The same stimulus will always invoke the same response, and this makes dogs more trustworthy than humans in the sense that humans can easily be fooled by a brave face.

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