As I pull my sparkling blue mini van into the driveway, I spot my dog Zoey loyally waiting for me under the basketball hoop. While I slowly inch my way into my parking spot, she allows her elevating excitement to be embodied by the fast-paced and incessant wagging of her bony tail. In the time it takes me to turn off my car, open the door, and place one foot on the black macadam, I have already been lovingly assaulted by her soft kisses, slobbery licks, and glimmering eyes. As we walk out to collect the mail together, she looks up at me as if she has never been happier to see someone, as if this very moment has thus far been the zenith of her existence. Walking back towards my house I can’t help but think that one day she is bound to have a bad day, a day where she does not bother greeting me, a day where her eyes show indifference rather than exuberance. Despite my pessimistic outlook, each time I pull into my driveway Zoey proves me wrong. Thus, her continuous state of jubilance leaves me pondering the same question, “How is she able to live each day with such happiness and content?”
I have contemplated this inquiry for a while now, and have finally come to terms with the fact that despite the troubled and wronged world we live in, there exists a small percentage of Zoeys who have the ability to find happiness and content in any situation. From my interactions with Zoey, I have come to believe that dogs know the true way to live and if we allow ourselves to embrace the lessons they have to offer, the world would be a better, more accepting place.
In addition to her permanent optimism, my dog possesses other admirable and applicable characteristics. Zoey never forms prejudgments and because of this, she treats all humans, dogs, and creatures the same. Every time there is a knock at my door, Zoey rushes over with equal enthusiasm. She does not let the influences of race, religion, and economic background effect her greetings. As long as someone is willing to pet her, she could care less about what makes that person “different” in the eyes of society. Zoey trusts anyone until they give her a reason not to, and thus she judges people based on their actions rather than their outward appearances. This unbiased love Zoey preaches, allows her to make all forms of acquaintances-cats, kids, adults, rabbits, chew toys-, which in turn has shown me the power of unconditional acceptance.
Zoey has also taught me the necessity of appreciating the small things in life. Zoey receives two meals a day, and by these so-called “meals”, I mean the same monotonous entrée consisting of two cups of Purina One flavored dog chow. She does not ask for variety or complain when her food is too cold, too stale, or too bland. When she receives a little extra she is ecstatic and when she does not she is content. She has accepted her status quo, which has allowed her to appreciate anything above and beyond.
Zoey has taught me there is so much to learn from the world. However, as humans we often let our egocentrism prevent us from taking advantage of these wealths of knowledge. We think that because we are the “dominant” creature in society our subordinates have nothing to offer us. However, I believe the contrary. Maybe we have it wrong. Maybe we are not as high up as we think. For if humans possess the secret to life, why are we the ones who allow work and stress to govern our existence while our pets lead stress-free, content lives filled with happiness and appreciation? The saying goes, “It’s a dog’s life”. Perhaps there is a reason for that.
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