Dog Days of Summer: How My Dog Is Teaching Me To Be Happy

I’ve always been more of a cat person. I liked dogs – I even grew up with a lovable Cockapoo pup named Max – but cats were more my style.

After losing my two kitties close together, we spent a year without a pet. Then last July, my husband and sons persuaded me to get a family dog. We found a great local organization called Ginger’s Pet Rescue that rescues dogs from Taiwan and brings them to Seattle.

After so many years in the travel industry, it felt fitting that our dog would come with her own travel papers. The agency assigns each dog a name for the flight to the U.S. and our new pup had been given the name Kristin. I had a canine counterpart.

We (re)named her Lucy and she’s a half lab, half Taiwanese mountain dog. By nature, her breed is more of a street dog and a natural herder (which is evident when we take out and she likes to run around us to make sure we are the ones being walked).

I was really hoping she would be a loyal pal to the boys, and she is, but she immediately imprinted on me. I am her person. She follows me everywhere I go, even if it’s from the kitchen to the pantry. If I sit on the fireplace bench to put on my running shoes, she will jump on my lap and look around the room in order to claim me as hers. It was mildly annoying at first but now it’s secretly flattering. She is the only other female energy in my house so us gals gotta stick together.

And as any dog owner knows, there is nothing like the pure joy of a dog when you come home and they greet you with abundant love.

Today marks Day 10 on my life sabbatical. So I’m around the house more, much to Lucy’s delight. We go on more walks, there’s more time to claim my lap. I remain her person.

It’s also been an early and glorious start to summer in terms of the weather with a nice stretch of 80-plus degree days. Any Seattle-ite will tell you that summer doesn’t really begin until July 4th. June is usually a touch-and-go month with dashes of sunshine meant to serve as a preview of coming attractions.

This summer weather and being outside with Lucy has given me my first sabbatical/personal-leap-year lesson: Happy = Play = Happy

I don’t play. If I want to relax, I usually schedule an activity like time with friends, going to the spa, watching a movie (and, if I’m really being honest, drinking red wine). And even then, I only “relax” for the allotted time because there’s always other stuff to do.

With Lucy, play is her natural state. When we go out into our yard, she bounds out the door. She bolts after the birds, and she rolls in the grass with glee. I don’t roll. I don’t glee. I would be too worried about grass stains on my clothes. Plus, there are bugs.

Today, I was watching her twist all over in the grass. When I said her name, she jumped up and I took this quick snapshot of her.

Being in the moment isn’t a bumper sticker slogan for my dog; it’s simply how she lives her life. I’m only 10 days into my new normal so there’s hope for glee yet. Or at least a little more time in the sun…

I love Lucy (Wed., July 10, 2015)

I love Lucy (Wed., June 10, 2015)


2 thoughts on “Dog Days of Summer: How My Dog Is Teaching Me To Be Happy

  1. Pingback: Sun & Fun: Tips for Family Vacation in Walt Disney World | A Year of Life

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