Monday, March 28, 2005

Maintaining Interest

Like most adolescents, Baxter loves to egg others on with whatever possession-of-the-moment intrigues him.

He nudges the other two dogs and flaunts his latest prize until Elsie or Ridge engages him in play. Baxter loves the attention. He even voluntarily gives up his momentary treasure after a half-hearted session of tug-of-war. I think he just wants to play; it doesn't matter what he plays with as long as someone else is playing.

Besides, once Ridge or Elsie succeed in getting Baxter's item-of-the-moment, Baxter just finds a new toy with which to tease them, and the process starts again.

That's the great thing about dogs; there's no such thing as individual ownership. It's not Elsie's ball or Baxter's bone or Ridge's rope; they hold all things in common.

What makes a toy attractive isn't ownership, but momentary possession (possession, they say after all, is nine-tenths of the law). As long as one of the dogs holds a toy, it's a treasure to be tussled for. As soon as it's dropped, it becomes a non-entity in their eyes.

Someone else's interest makes an old toy seem new again.

Hmmmm. Sounds a bit like us again, doesn't it? We become bored with what we have; we want the newer, bigger, better, more interesting version the other guy has. But, (lookout!) if someone shows interest in our old toy, it becomes valuable to us again.

I wonder which of my "toys" I've lost interest in just because they're mine and their newness has worn off. I wonder what other "toys" I covet just because I don't have them and someone else does. The thing is, I don't need newer or additional toys; I have more than I need and then some (just like the dogs). And the old ones work just fine, if I bother to pick them up and play with them.

Maybe, I just need to recruit someone to play with like Baxter does. Take exercise, for example: If I exercise with someone else, it enlivens the activity for me. I grow restless when I exercise alone.

It's funny how someone else's perception, passion, or interest can ignite our own. I guess I should learn to act less like the Lone Ranger and more like Baxter. I'd be less bored, need fewer toys, and would find life more adventuresome.

See, our canine kids really can teach us something, if only we have the hearts to learn!

'Til next time,

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