the reminder to be present

the beginning of this week brought some challenges; some opportunities for growth and the gift of renewed joy. wednesday's walk around the neighborhood started with me going through the physical motions but not really being mentally or visually present. we rounded a corner and i was surprised with the gift of laughter and joy. we were passing a neighbor's fenced yard and two chihuahuas barked as ferociously as they could at rufus and me. their barking and attempts to be big vicious dogs was adorable. i know there are some people who love chihuahuas (like my middle brother) and others (*cough* like josh) may think they bark too much for an animal of their size. these two big barkers made me laugh and smile- a gift much needed after two days of not being myself. i embraced the moment. i had rufus sit and we watched the little ones. i let myself laugh loudly and i enjoyed the laughter those dogs gave me. it was a perfectly timed reminder to be present.

today on our morning walk i was present. the air was chilly but the sunlight wonderful. rufus happily sniffed the grass. In his new stylish harness that we got after reading pet product reviews one afternoon, yes we are pet nerds. we rounded a corner and i was so present enjoying the scenery, that rufus and i were surprised by the sudden barking of a neighborhood black lab. the dog jumped on his fence and barked a slightly aggressive "notice me!" rufus and i were startled but i smiled and was grateful i was fully present. this weekend there will be a wonderful staycation. this morning rufus watched josh put his rawhide bones in a bag. he was so curious about why the bones were put in the bag, he kept sniffing the bag and general area of where he knows his treats are. there will be bubble baths, swimming, and wonderful time with my family...and i will be fully present for every moment.

 

walk 26

friday, 5:20am. 34°, mostly cloudy.

tail-wagging, it turns out, is a complicated enterprise.

you can file this under things you google when you hang out with your dog all day.

i started with this article that seems to be culled from other essays that cite animal psychologists, and it sounded good, but really says, "here is a list of reasons we think dogs wag their tails."

i'm buying into sarah's write-up, even if she uses a possessive in place of a plural (hell, i'm writing a blog entirely in lower case, who am i to judge?).

we're starting to notice things like:

  • when the ears go up, the tail points (a sign of alertness).
  • when we're chilling before bed (rufus typically will join the teeth-brushing party in the bathroom), he'll wag his tail to his right, a signal of friendliness when another animal approaches.
  • when we're on a walk in the dark, he wags primarily to his left, a sign of aggression; it shows he's nervous and ready to pounce.
  • when we get him out of his crate in the morning or after work, rufus wags aggressively in both directions; that's simple excitedness.

staycation this weekend. i love that we have dog-friendly hotels around. there will probably be a review here and/or over at the other place.