The streets were empty during a recent snowstorm in Romania.
But, while most people were staying warm at home, one little boy and his dog decided to go for a “walk.”
To make the most of the snow, 12-year-old Andrei attached a sled to his bicycle and his dog Pufi hopped on. True to Pufi’s name, the dog’s fluffy coat protects him from inclement weather, but the little pup seemed grateful to play with his human and not have to get his paws wet.
As Andrei started to cycle home, Pufi was a very good boy, balancing on the sled like a pro.
“Andrei and Pufi puppy conquered us hopelessly and reminded us of childhood when the simple things brought us the greatest joys: snow, a sled and a reliable friend next to you,” CERT Transilvania wrote on Facebook. “Today we also gave Andrei joy by giving him a brand-new bike, equipped with everything he needs for many years to come on the road to school or racing with Pufi.”
Now, Andrei and Pufi can safely sled and bike wherever they want together, through whatever weather comes their way.
It was a simple enough task, yet this well-meaning dad named Rudy Salazar still managed to miss the mark.
The other day, Rudy’s wife CoCo asked him to pick up their adorable white pup, BooBear, from the groomers where she’d dropped him off earlier. And that’s what he did.
When her husband arrived home with the little dog in his arms, CoCo noticed something rather strange. The haircut BooBear had been given seemed to have transformed his appearance into that of an entirely different pup.
But it turns out, there was actually a really good reason for that.
Dad had grabbed the wrong dog.
As it so happens, when Rudy arrived at the groomers, he said he was there for CoCo — like, on her behalf. But there was some confusion. Instead of handing him BooBear, they gave him a different little white dog, also named CoCo.
And somehow Rudy failed to notice the mix-up, leaving both CoCos understandably confused.
Fortunately, having realized the error, Rudy was able to set things right. BooBear was soon back where he belongs, and the unwitting imposter pup, too.
I guess it takes all types and in some ways this is understandable.
On her first day volunteering at the Norfolk SPCA in Virginia, Casey Lewis knew she wanted to adopt a dog, but was planning to wait until the moment was right. Then the volunteer coordinator introduced her to J.J. — and the adoption was official by the end of the day.
“It was love at first sight, and he came home with me that day … the SPCA still tells our story,” Lewis told The Dodo.
J.J. has been with his mom for over three years now, and in that time, he’s definitely caused a lot of trouble. He has very strong opinions about everything, and loves to get into things he shouldn’t.
“Last year he destroyed six boxes of tissues, tore down the baby gate for the first time, and got into the steel, pedal-operated trash can … cleanup took over an hour … But I love him, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything,” Lewis said.
Recently, Lewis had to go into work but couldn’t bring J.J. to doggy day care that day. She decided he’d be fine at home alone, and secured anything she thought he might be able to get into. She went off to work with her fingers crossed — and came home again to find that her hopes had been in vain.
“What I found when I got home was a MESS,” Lewis said. “He’d torn six boxes into shreds of various sizes, from recognizable to fingernail-sized. He’d also pulled down the wooden baby gate in the kitchen and managed to move the storage tower that held it in place, and a large chunk had broken off an already-broken corner of the gate. I was lucky he didn’t decide to go for the trash.”
As Lewis observed the mess she now had to clean up, J.J. stood there proudly with the biggest smile on his face. He was clearly so excited to show his mom the art project he’d completed while she was gone, and couldn’t have been more pleased with himself.
“He’s always proud of his messes — ‘guilty beagle’ is an oxymoron,” Lewis said.
Much to J.J.’s dismay, Lewis cleaned up the mess he made that day, knowing there are bound to be many more in the future. J.J. just loves to explore and express himself, and even though it’s messy sometimes, his mom wouldn’t have him any other way.
Well Casey is a real hero and clearly loves dogs beyond measure.
But, as I said at the start, J.J. is an exceptional dog. And one has to regard J.J. in his own terms. It’s no good applying human behavioural values to what J.J. is doing.
Potato the corgi never misses an opportunity to say hi to her neighbors. So when social distancing started in Portland, Oregon, Potato’s parents, Cee and Pan, knew their dog wouldn’t be getting the kind of attention she was used to.
“She loves everyone — any dog, any kid, any adult human, doesn’t matter,” Cee told The Dodo. “Even dogs who snarl at her she’s like, ‘It’s OK, I’ll check back in five minutes.’”
“She’s in a polyamorous relationship with all of the mail, UPS and FedEx delivery people but the UPS man is her primary partner,” Cee added. “If you’re having a picnic at the park she will invite herself to your blanket and join in on the gossip.”
Potato knows a number of tricks, including how to ring a bell when she wants to go outside to the yard and socialize with the passersby. Cee, who works from home running a web agency, is always there to keep an eye on Potato when she goes out. And they noticed right away how difficult it was for Potato when her friends started ignoring her.
“Potato takes her job of getting pats through the fence very seriously and honestly seemed depressed that people stopped saying hi to her when social distancing started,” Cee said. “People kept looking really guilty when we’d catch them patting Potato through the fence, or others would ask if they could still pat her.”
To put an end to the confusion, they decided to make a little sign letting everyone know that it was still OK to give Potato the pets she craved, along with a few facts about her. “She’d bark at people she knew who normally would pat her when they’d walk by without saying hi,” Cee said. “So we wanted to make it known that it was consensual for us to take that slight risk of exposure.”
They laminated the sign and tacked it above Potato’s favorite spot on the fence. Potato was instantly happier.
The sign reads: “This is Potato! She’s friendly and yes you can pet her, even now with the virus. She also loves every dog so feel free to intro your dog!”
The sign has done more than cheer up Potato — it’s helped to connect Cee and Pan with neighbors they hadn’t met before. “People approach us more if we’re in the yard, or they send us little notes on [Potato’s] Instagram account,” Cee said. “There’s also an older neighbor lady who specifically comes by every single day to give her treats. It’s pretty wholesome.”
There’s a science background to being healthy and happy.
Especially as one gets older.
It’s Jean’s birthday today and we are grateful for our lot. I’m 75 now and Jean is a few years younger. But more importantly we are so grateful to have met and, subsequently, fallen in love.
As well as Jean’s love in return we have our gorgeous dogs as well (not to count in addition the two horses, the two parakeets and the cat) and they reinforce the feelings of happiness that surround us.
All of which is an introduction to an article on The Conversation that caught my eye yesterday.
I’m afraid it doesn’t mention dogs but then again we dog owners know for sure how they benefit us humans.
Are you as grateful as you deserve to be?
November 26, 2019
By Richard Gunderman
Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University
As a physician, I have helped to care for many patients and families whose lives have been turned upside down by serious illnesses and injuries. In the throes of such catastrophes, it can be difficult to find cause for anything but lament. Yet Thanksgiving presents us with an opportunity to develop one of the healthiest, most life-affirming and convivial of all habits – that of counting and rejoicing in our blessings.
Research shows that grateful people tend to be healthy and happy. They exhibit lower levels of stress and depression, cope better with adversity and sleep better. They tend to be happier and more satisfied with life. Even their partners tend to be more content with their relationships.
Perhaps when we are more focused on the good things we enjoy in life, we have more to live for and tend to take better care of ourselves and each other.
When researchers asked people to reflect on the past week and write about things that either irritated them or about which they felt grateful, those tasked with recalling good things were more optimistic, felt better about their lives and actually visited their physicians less.
It is no surprise that receiving thanks makes people happier, but so does expressing gratitude. An experiment that asked participants to write and deliver thank-you notes found large increases in reported levels of happiness, a benefit that lasted for an entire month.
One of the greatest minds in Western history, the Greek philosopher Aristotle, argued that we become what we habitually do. By changing our habits, we can become more thankful human beings.
If we spend our days ruminating on all that has gone poorly and how dark the prospects for the future appear, we can think ourselves into misery and resentment.
But we can also mold ourselves into the kind of people who seek out, recognize and celebrate all that we have to be grateful for.
This is not to say that anyone should become a Pollyanna, ceaselessly reciting the mantra from Voltaire’s “Candide,” “All is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds.” There are injustices to be righted and wounds to be healed, and ignoring them would represent a lapse of moral responsibility.
But reasons to make the world a better place should never blind us to the many good things it already affords. How can we be compassionate and generous if we are fixated on deficiency? This explains why the great Roman statesman Cicero called gratitude not only the greatest of virtues but the “parent” of them all.
Gratitude is deeply embedded in many religious traditions. In Judaism, the first words of the morning prayer could be translated, “I thank you.” Another saying addresses the question, “Who is rich?” with this answer: “Those who rejoice in what they have.”
Gratitude also plays an essential role in Islam. The 55th chapter of the Quran enumerates all the things human beings have to be grateful for – the Sun, Moon, clouds, rain, air, grass, animals, plants, rivers and oceans – and then asks, “How can a sensible person be anything but thankful to God?”
In his 1994 book, “A Whole New Life,” the Duke University English professor Reynolds Price describes how his battle with a spinal cord tumor that left him partially paralyzed also taught him a great deal about what it means to really live.
After surgery, Price describes “a kind of stunned beatitude.” With time, though diminished in many ways by his tumor and its treatment, he learns to pay closer attention to the world around him and those who populate it.
Reflecting on the change in his writing, Price notes that his books differ in many ways from those he penned as a younger man. Even his handwriting, he says, “looks very little like that of the man he was at the time of his diagnosis.”
“Cranky as it is, it’s taller, more legible, and with more air and stride. And it comes down the arm of a grateful man.”
A brush with death can open our eyes. Some of us emerge with a deepened appreciation for the preciousness of each day, a clearer sense of our real priorities and a renewed commitment to celebrating life. In short, we can become more grateful, and more alive, than ever.
When it comes to practicing gratitude, one trap to avoid is locating happiness in things that make us feel better off – or simply better – than others. In my view, such thinking can foster envy and jealousy.
There are marvelous respects in which we are equally blessed – the same Sun shines down upon each of us, we all begin each day with the same 24 hours, and each of us enjoys the free use of one of the most complex and powerful resources in the universe, the human brain.
Much in our culture seems aimed to cultivate an attitude of deficiency – for example, most ads aim to make us think that to find happiness we must buy something. Yet most of the best things in life – the beauty of nature, conversation and love – are free.
There are many ways to cultivate a disposition of thankfulness. One is to make a habit of giving thanks regularly – at the beginning of the day, at meals and the like, and at day’s end.
Likewise, holidays, weeks, seasons and years can be punctuated with thanks – grateful prayer or meditation, writing thank-you notes, keeping a gratitude journal and consciously seeking out the blessings in situations as they arise.
Gratitude can become a way of life, and by developing the simple habit of counting our blessings, we can enhance the degree to which we are truly blessed.
That reference to Reynolds Price and his challenges make one think. I have been fortunate that nothing really dreadful has happened to me; apart from my father’s death when I had just turned 12. I’m getting a little hazy in terms of certain memories but that’s an old age thing rather than an illness. But to go through what he did; I just don’t know the person that I am, in terms of how I wold react to that.
But to the general tone of the article, I would hope that I can get better and better.
For it’s splendid to cultivate that disposition.
One is to make a habit of giving thanks regularly – at the beginning of the day, at meals and the like, and at day’s end.