Dog wisdom

The magic of untold numbers of connections.

It is becoming an oft-repeated theme by me; the power of the connections that exist between the thousands of bloggers. Again, regular readers (thank you!) will not be surprised to hear me say that this power of connectivity may be the ultimate force that stops humanity from going past a point of no return in terms of the viability of our planet to sustain us and all of life. (And to reinforce that in spades, tomorrow I am republishing a recent item from Martin Lack; he of Lack of Environment.)

Let me just play a little more with this idea of the connectivity between us bloggers. Theoretically, if one had five bloggers all following each other then the number of permutations between those five bloggers would be factorial 5, or 120 connections. If there were ten bloggers all following each other, then the number of connections would be 3,628,800! (Background maths here.) I’m certain that there are more than ten bloggers whom I follow and who in turn follow me.

All of which is a preamble to a recent post from fellow blogger Mark M. Rostenko over on his wonderful blog Call Of The Wilderness. He recently published an item with the title of Dog Wisdom and I have the very great pleasure in reposting it here, with Mark’s kind permission.


Dog Wisdom

We don’t have to live deep in the wilds at the end of a long dirt road to learn from Nature. She’s everywhere; in our hearts, our minds, our bodies… our pets. Frankly, I’ve learned more about living authentically from my dogs than from any authority, parent, classroom, job, book or so-called expert.

Sami’s old. Around ninety in people-years. She mounts the stairs one careful step at a time these days, however she must to curl up by her dad as she has almost every night since I rescued her from the shelter just yesterday… or was it thirteen years ago? It’s said that dogs sleep facing outward from the pack, positioned to notice and respond immediately to threats. Sami doesn’t anymore. Recently she’s taken to lying towards me, as if to say “I can’t protect you anymore… I’m old and weak and vulnerable… and I need you to watch out for me from now on.” But a glimmer of pride sparkles in her eyes as she leaps onto the bed unassisted; it’s been there a few months, ever since the night after her legs gave out and she crashed to the floor in her attempt. I think she felt my heart break, and bless her velvety, floppy Lab ears, she vowed to stay strong for her worried dad.

We don’t hike anymore; this terrain’s hard on her withering hinds. We just saunter casually down the dirt road a couple times a day, as far as makes her happy… not so far. But I still see remnants of her bouncy puppy-gait, that “stretch-and-stand-tall-so-I-can-see-as-much-of-this-deliciously-exciting-world-as-I-possibly-can” spring in her step unleashed only after time had carried away the neglect of her former life. And once in a while after a hardy dose of love she’ll still crouch down in the “let’s play!” chin-to-the-ground puppy posture before tearing off into a spastic circle of rambunctious frenzy like the young’uns do.

I like to watch her when we walk, the soft ripples of footfalls reverberating through her age-slackened flesh, how the slight bottom-curl of her ears unfurls with every bob of her moist snout. I take in as much of her as I can because any day now omens of finality will alight to the shadows and perch among the pines waiting to guide her back to the oneness from whence she came. And I see in her gait that no matter how old, no matter how tired, no matter how many tumors and aches, Sami’s as thrilled to walk as ever, her enthusiasm fading not one smidge.

Will I thrill so at ninety? Probably not. Likely I’ll dwell on aches and pains and look back at all I’ve lost, at what I no longer can, as we humans tend. But not Sami. Sami doesn’t think about what she’s lost; Sami just enjoys what’s still hers… fully and without reservation. Sami worries not of what she can’t, delighting only in what she still can.

Her joie de vivre is the effervescence of perpetual gratitude. Not submissive lip-service borne upon fears of eternal damnation but a physical affirmation of genuine grace and gratitude: living life fully, sans complaint, thoroughly consumed with blessings of the moment. Sami, I suspect, is the pride and joy of her creator who smiles fondly upon her antics, reveling in the satisfaction that at least this one critter got the point of it all: that life is to be lived.

Sami has little choice in the matter; she’s built to live here and now, to take what comes and make the best of it. We, however, have been gifted choice… a very clear choice, if you ask me…


Thanks Mark. That’s a beautiful account of the wisdom and compassion of our dogs.  They offer so many examples of grace and unconditional love to us humans!

4 thoughts on “Dog wisdom

  1. thanks Paul!

    “…this power of connectivity may be the ultimate force that stops humanity from going past a point of no return in terms of the viability of our planet to sustain us and all of life.” i hope so… and it just might… i’ve learned so much about love, particularly unconditional love from my dogs… if everyone had a taste of this and chose to dwell in THAT feeling instead of our petty angers, resentments and frustrations, i can’t imagine how we couldn’t turn things around…


  2. What a beautiful piece of writing from Mark and one can see just by reading his words the bond he has with Sami And I so agree with your closing sentiment Paul in the post..
    We can indeed learn much from Dogs.. 🙂 Sue


    1. I can’t recall how I first came across Mark’s writings; possibly he signed to follow this place. But howsoever the connection was made, it’s another example of the power of people coming together through blogging. Mark will enjoy your reply, Sue.


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