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.