Betty the Dog, Present

On a recent flight, I couldn’t help but watch the movie A Dog’s Purpose. A dog lover, I had read the book and sobbed. The upshot of the story: in trying to figure out and live out it’s true purpose, a dog is reincarnated across multiple lives.

Some of the parts of the movie show abuse, neglect and abandonment, illustrating the different ways animals are treated–and mistreated–by humans. These parts are tough to read and watch. It’s heart-wrenching to read about how our voiceless can be treated, and you can’t help but think about how this extends to the ways we humans treat one another. The dog in this story, and in my personal experience, is however, ever forgiving and patient with their person.

I’ve often said that my own dog, Betty, is one of my greatest teachers, and think we humans have a lot we can learn from dogs about unconditional love, forgiveness and assuming the best in people. Dogs always seem to automatically default to the idea that if we inadvertently tread on their paw, that of course we hurt them by accident. Never on purpose. I imagine them thinking any such slight a ridiculous notion as they come bounding up to us, post insult, with a wagging tail.

I’ve also been routinely struck by how deeply present my dog can be. Whatever the activity, Betty the Dog has a singular focus, regardless of whether it’s nap time, play time, fly-catching time, cuddle time, or treat time. Perhaps especially when it’s treat time. I have found myself marveling at Betty the Dog. I admire her laser-focused attention on some spot out the window, and how intently and lovingly she gazes at me, and how she stares down a carrot (her treat of choice).

I shed a few tears on that airplane watching that movie; I rewound the closing lines several times to let the gut punch of it wash over me and soak in.

So, in all my lives as a dog, here’s what I’ve learned:

Have fun, obviously.
Whenever possible, find someone to save, and save them.
Lick the ones you love.
Don’t get all sad-faced about what happened, and scrunchy-faced about what could.
Just be here now.

Be. Here. Now.

Gosh, how often am I fully present in a moment?  Way less these days, there are so many distractions. Since seeing this sappy little movie, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to do one thing at a time. I’ve been practicing, even for just a few minutes a day, dropping into moments and being fully present, channeling Betty the Dog. Do you try to do this? Hard to do, isn’t it? How are you managing with it?

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