I remember the first time I watched Homeward Bound and instantly knew that I too wanted a dog like Shadow – and Chance, probably because he made me laugh – but one that would be unfailingly loyal and protective. From that moment on I’m sure I had numerous imaginary dog friends who would follow me wherever I went as I explored the garden, hunting for long lost treasures and going on Sunday afternoon adventure trails.
While as a family we welcomed a little terrier into the household when I was 13, it wasn’t until I took the leap and bought my very own puppy that I really understood – and experienced – this age-old tradition between a man and his dog.
Everyone says it, but having a dog really does change your life, and all for the better. When I’ve been sad, mine has been there to lick my tears and rest her comforting head on my lap. If I’ve had a rubbish day at work, she somehow manages to dispel all those negative feelings as soon as I walk through the door, wiggling her whole body with a blanket (or slipper) firmly in her mouth to welcome me home. Whatever my mood, she will always manage to make me smile and see the good in the everyday. I realise this sounds completely clichéd, but the simple mind-set of a dog can really start to rub off on you, if you allow it to.
Sometimes we get so caught up in matters of the world that we can’t control or change, that we allow feelings of regret, sadness and anger to consume us. I’m not saying we should all adopt the mentality of our canine friends, but seeing how mine views the world – all the excitement, anticipation and sheer vigour she has – can really help to influence mine too.
When it all comes down to it, life can be really rather simple. So often we can over complicate it and overthink it, making mountains out of molehills and letting the unimportant rule over what is actually important: maintaining a natural curiosity, seeing the beauty in everyday things and now and again, just stopping to smell those roses.
“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.” ― Milan Kundera