Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hopes and Disappointments

Oh how Baxter, Elsie, and Ridge love to walk! When we're away at the cottage we have miles of barely traveled dirt roads on which we can stroll. In the picture on the left, Don is walking the canine kids on what we (at the cottage) call the "high road." It's quiet, picturesque, and isolated. And it's a perfect place to exercise the dogs.

On the roads near the cottage, we can even take Baxter off lead, and he'll romp no more than about 50 feet in front of us where he'll stop and wait for us to catch up, then romp another 50 feet ahead and then wait some more. If we call him or tell him to wait, he will.

Elsie and Ridge, for their protection, stay on lead. Ridge is just so alert to his surroundings he'll pick up the slightest rustle in the woods and will charge the direction in which he sees movement. He's a great field dog, but still learning to contain his enthusiasm.

Elsie stays on lead just because she's too stubborn and independent to be trusted off lead. :o) She's still reluctant to come on command. Silly girl. She'll get there. Eventually.

But how they enjoy their walks. And how disappointed they are when they can't go.

Today is my youngest son's marching band's home show (a big event in this neck of the woods). Dear hubby had to run out this morning, and gas prices being what they are, we're trying to consolodate trips into town. So while he was out he planned to deliver our shade canopy and baked goods to be used and sold later at the band competition.

On his way out the door, he had to move the leashes to pick up his baseball cap, and Baxter, God love him, thought it was time to go for a walk (Elsie and Ridge are crated for a "heat" break). So Baxter faithfully followed Don back and forth as Don loaded the car. Every trip in and out of the house found Baxter eagerly looking at Don, sticking close to Don's heels, and wiggling with barely contained excitement.

Poor Boos. Then Don had to tell him there'd be no walk today.

And Baxter's entire countenance slumped: his tail dropped; his head hung, and a worried, sad look replaced the gleam in his eyes.

Yet, you can be sure, if I touch the leashes again while Don is away, Baxter will rebound with endless enthusiasm at the hope of another walk.

That's the way of it with the canine kids. No matter how many times they're disappointed, they rebound with every bit as much enthusiasm and joy as if they'd never been disappointed. Their hope never dies.

Disappointment doesn't wear them out the way it does us. They don't quit. They don't give up. They don't become cynical or weary. They just meet the next opportunity with spunk and eagerness, as if they'd never been let down. And even when they do know disappointment, even when we treat them wrongly, they forgive quickly and love us all the same.

And then they're ready to greet the next leash rattling with gusto. They expect good things to come.

Would that I were so plucky and optimistic. Hope feeds the soul; optimism makes life a joy-filled adventure. Positive expectation energizes our spirits.

Maybe I should look at the world through Baxter's eyes: with unbridled, hope-filled expectation of the good to come.

Oh, and no matter how bad things seem, I've lived long enough to know good will come. Again. It always does.

Today's a good day to try on optimistic enthusiasm--to put it on like I put on my shoes in the morning. I'll see what it feels like to "wear" hope the way Baxter does.

And I'll let you know how it goes.

'Til next time,



Tara said...

What a fabulous site!! I LOVE Goldens. I've added you to my link list and I shall definitely be back!

Anonymous said...

Another neat thing a lab will do: You are home sick with a cold or the flu and retreat back to the sofa after breakfast for more rest. A lab will not bother you for her usual walk. She faces you and lies down for another long nap herself. It's as if she KNOWS you are sick!!!

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Heidi said...

Dat's a mighty schmart looking family!