The Tao of The Crickerooch

I don’t know how many of you are animal lovers, but I have always loved beasties.  I want to introduce you to one little beastie that is very dear to me, mostly because I will probably write about her more than I should.  I bring you Cricket – a.k.a. – the Crickie, the Crickerini, or the Crickerooch.  She isn’t officially my dog, but over the years I have claimed part ownership of her heart and she mine.  She is thirteen years old, which translates to “really old lady” in people years.  She is almost completely blind.  She also had a stroke on January 1, 2012.  She hasn’t let any of this rain on her glorious little one dog life party.   At her great age she has made a complete come back.  I have known Crickie since she was one year old, in fact, it was at her first birthday party that I met her.  I was looking at her the other day and realized that over the years I have learned many things from many people, but like Yoda was for Luke, she has been one of my greatest teachers so far.  I wonder if you too find that the stuff that we really need to get comes to us in the most unexpected ways.  What follows is The Tao of The Crickerooch:

When you get up in the morning, the first thing that you should do, before you do anything else, is stretch.  At the very least one downward facing dog and one upward facing dog.  The older you are the more stretching you should do.  Throw in a good scratch if anything is itchy.  And if anyone is anywhere near your vicinity, worm your way into the crook of their arm for a cuddle.  If they are smaller than you let them do the worming.  I guarantee if you start to do this every morning you will be a happier person.

If someone gives you a gift don’t go on and on about how they “shouldn’t have done it”.  Celebrate it!  Give your benefactor copious amounts of kisses in compensation.   If at a later time they mention that they gave you something so you should do what they say you should do, act like you have no idea what they are talking about but spontaneously give them more kisses.  They will be distracted from anything they might have been griping about.

At some point in every day, play.  What you play with doesn’t have to be an official play toy.  It can be as simple as chasing a fly who has happened to land on your window sill.  If you are at work, make sure you close your office door before you do this.  And maybe draw the blinds.  The important thing is to have fun.

Forgive small transgressions immediately and completely.  They never happened.

Forgive but do not forget large transgressions.  If someone hits you with a stick it doesn’t mean that you never forgive them for hitting you with a stick, but it would be a less than intelligent move to completely forget it wouldn’t it?   You are, first and foremost, smart.

Be certain of your right to everyone else’s food.  If someone is eating something that you really like, ask if you can have some of it.  They might let you have some if you ask.  The worst that can happen is they will say no.  Then ask again, perhaps from a different angle, and look really cute while you are doing it.  If the final answer is no, forget completely that you asked to begin with and go play.

If you are really sick, either mentally or physically, and you have exhausted all other avenues to become well again, become very quiet, find a cozy spot, sit in the sun if you can,  and wait for the glorious rehabilitative qualities of your body to work its magic.  At all times, remain quiet and dignified.  It doesn’t matter how long this takes or whether you do actually fully recuperate – at least you will have retained your dignity.  Never underestimate your resilience.

If you have been unwell for a while, and now find yourself in the happy position of feeling better, immediately go about your life as if you were never unwell.

Love, once established, should not be attached to caveats such as age, weight, acumen, good haircuts or snaffy shoes.  In the period of time that dogs have spent with humans you would be hard pressed to find a dog that has ceased to care for a human because the person got a bad summer cut.

Make yourself easy to love.  There is no absolutely guarantee that it will be reciprocated, but it surely increases your odds.   So many of us make ourselves unlovable by being difficult, weepy, depressed, angry, foolish, narrow or petulant and then wonder why no one is chomping at the bit to be around us.  We do this the most with people we claim to love.  Dogs do not do this.  If they are growling, they do not expect that you will reward the growl with a warm hug, and then throw a hissy when you don’t do it.

As Cricket has already reached a great age for a dog, I consider every day we have with her a gift.  But I also realize that every day I had with her before this was also a gift, as was every day I have spent with someone that I love.  So every day was a gift even when I didn’t realize it.  This is probably the greatest lesson I have learned and the learning of it has made a profound difference in my life.  The art of life has little to do with what is actually happening, it has much more to do with how you choose to think about what is happening.   May the Tao of the Crickerooch lead you on your path to real happiness.

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8 thoughts on “The Tao of The Crickerooch

  1. I’m so glad this got reposted! I often wonder what my dog Jake thinks as he embraces life and I’m sure this post is pretty accurate. 😉

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found some similarities between what you observed and what I have. There is something so special about our human bond with these creatures – it never ceases to make me wonder about how our bond evolved — and what we are missing by not evolving more relationships like this with other beings.

  3. Great post! Hope the Crickerooch has many more years left. We said goodbye to the Sophster in January. As hard as that was, she gave us much joy for 15 years, and for that, I’m grateful. As for the growling dog expecting a hug, Lucy’s been a growly girl for years, and we just give her kisses until she starts whining and kisses us back. Doggy love…

    • If you keep kissing Crickie when she’s growling, she will cut you! 🙂 I’m so sorry to hear about Sophie – the beasties are here for a good time, not a long time (oh lordy, which bad 80’s band did I just quote from … copious apologies). They are always still around in some way though, aren’t they? When I still lived with my parents we had a dog named Lady (I know, really original – we got her from the SPCA and yes, she looked exactly the dog in the Disney film). She passed over 20 years ago and yet every time I go home to visit I still imagine I hear her nails clip clipping on the tiles towards the front door as I open it. What is remembered lives ….

  4. Happy to have met (and seen) Crickerooch. While I do not question his tao, it is worth noting that if you happen to be big and strong (such as my dog, a Malinois), you have to be a little careful with all that adoration sometimes, or somebody gets a paw in the face. Also, my dog offers her best kisses spontaneously, no gift required, often when least expected. So, it never gets old or predictable.

    I confess I had to pause where it says we should not growl if we want love (I paraphrase). I am a bit like my dog in that way: I’m a growler and I kind of like that low throttle in the back of my throat from time to time, and I get a little irritated when everyone around me is panting and happy with joy. And there can be something remarkably beautiful about a proud beast who fiercely defends what she believes in.

    Welcome bellacanto, look forward to seeing you here more often.

    • Good to meet you via post Bitter en Zoet, and I love your observations. Behavior can be considered either suitable or not just by one’s size! I think the Cricket gets away with quite a few things because she is small. She is, however, the biggest small dog that I know. When she says no touchy, she means no touchy. She is definitely in touch with her inner growl and I love her more because of that rather than less. When she growls, especially at someone ten times her size, and I know that she means it, I think to myself ” you go girl” 🙂 I have a bit of an Italian temperament myself (tempered only by my pragmatic Dutch mothers genes) so I am in touch with my inner growl as well — as with my comment about Crickie above, if you pet me when I’m growling, I will cut you. But I’ve found that sometimes, and perhaps more often now that I am getting a bit older, I am sorry later that I continued to growl, rather than just deciding to give in to the kisses. Just sometimes though 🙂 Very happy to meet you … fellow growler.

  5. It’s amazing how much we can learn from our pooches! There’s an author named Byron Katie http://www.thework.com/index.php who talks in one of her books about learning a lot from her German Shephard as she was dying. She talks about the dog dragging herself across the floor, bleeding from the mouth, yet being in a total state of joy. Your post reminded me of that (I would never wish this on Crickie of course!). But isn’t that what a lot of it is? Her joy in everything? People, presents, etc.?

    Also, that picture of her in the crown still makes me giggle. 🙂

    • Yes, dogs just seem to be better at sustaining joy. I think it all goes back to living in the moment. This is also an excellent opportunity for me to add the disclaimer that neither I or her parents dress her up in ridiculous outfits very often. Just at Halloween, and the outfit usually lasts about 30 seconds. This year she was a bat … and the wings kept sliding down until she was basically wagging them off whenever she ran across the room. She seemed to really like that crown in the picture though. She sat straight up and posed for pictures and left it on for a whole minute. My favorite is her chicken outfit … but she hates the comb that kind of flops to the side and covers one eye.

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