An Unlikely Source Of Inspiration

Katie Young
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Wednesday - January 02, 2008

I thought I’d begin 2008 with a few wise words from Mr. Pono, the wiener dog. While he does-n’t speak in human words, I believe Mr. P communicates with me in his own way. And he definitely lives and learns like the rest of us.

My beloved dachshund teaches me more than I’d like to admit sometimes. Odd, you say, that I look to a small sausage dog to help guide me through life. But I think Mr. P has a thoroughly simple but profound way of existing.

Therefore, here are some of the lessons Mr. P learned in 2007 that could certainly apply to us humans as well:

* You can always find a ray of sunshine, no matter where you go. The best ones, however, are always right there at home. Mr. P’s favorite pastime (other than chasing the blue ball) is lying in a warm beam of sunshine. He’ll worm behind furniture or curtains and smash himself up against a window to bask in the light. He’ll go just about anywhere to find one, but his favorite sunbeams are the ones that appear right there on the living room floor where he can lie comfy and cozy, relaxed in his own home.

I often find myself getting the itch to explore. Feeling I’ve come down with a case of “island fever,” I want a new adventure - some different scenery. But the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. A wise person once said, “A man travels the world in search of what he needs ... and returns home to find it.”

I think what Mr. P and I need most is right here at home.

* If you want something badly enough, you will go out and get it yourself - no matter how difficult the climb. For Mr. P, this lesson comes mostly in the form of tempting treats that lie out of reach. Given enough time, he will devise a plan of attack and get right to work executing it. This drive has yielded many rewards, including toys I’ve hidden from sight and cookies I’ve left on the dining room table.

It’s not enough to just dream of the life you want to have; you have to go out right away with a plan of attack and make it happen. Don’t wait, or the cookie might disappear off the table before you’ve had a chance to work your magic.

* Staying fit is a complete change of lifestyle. No more fattening treats or table scraps - Mr. P. is on a strict diet of low-calorie doggie food and healthy treats like apples, carrots and broccoli. He’s also taken up running the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. He never really looks like he wants to get on, but once he starts that brisk trot, he’s good for the remainder of the workout.

Most of us struggle with motivation. Sometimes just getting ourselves to the gym is the most difficult task of all. So start small and work your way up!

* Every once in a while, throwing a tantrum and locking yourself in the bathroom is OK. I thought Mr. P accidentally locked himself in the master bath when it was really windy a few weeks ago. I thought he was in there and the door blew shut on him. Turns out, Mr. P was having a few issues because he did it again a few days later, this time pulling out the doorstop I had placed under the door after the last incident and slamming the door shut.

Obviously, my crafty canine was crying out for more quality time since we had left him home alone for long periods of time 10 days in a row. Mr. P was not happy, and this is how he showed it. Message received.

* Now, with this in mind, Mr. P also learned that he cannot always get his own way. He learned this lesson this year more than any other, I’d say. I have not always been the best at disciplining Pono, so my husband has shown me that presenting a strict, united front actually can make Mr. P a more-relaxed, happy dog.

Not that you should start ordering around your spouse or your children. However, knowing that you can’t always get your own way is an important example for us humans, too, because learning how to bend and adjust can often be a hard pill to swallow.

* You don’t have to say a word to have understanding, love and quality time together. Mr. P often crawls up, reaches out his long snout, gives me one doggie kiss, and then quietly sits down next to me. He’ll turn his head to look at me occasionally, but mostly we just sit there, side by side, enjoying one another. Sometimes, words just mess up a good thing.

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