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’twas the night before Christmas…

Author: Greg Raub | Date: December 26, 2012

..and the shopping is done,

including a new squeak toy for dog number one.

Seems like the last few blogs here have been about Christmas and dogs.  I have never been one to buy gifts for my dog.  But this year I did.  What moved me to do that this year is that I have been in sort of an introspective mood and the whole gift giving frenzy of the season made me think about the gifts my dog has given to me.

A lot of people might say a dog’s greatest gift  is unconditional love.

But because we could debate forever the ability of  a dog to truly love, I think more about other types of gifts that I feel like my dog has given me.

Here are a few.

1.  Laughter.  My dog does endless things that make me smile and laugh.  The way he lurches back and forth with excitement as he anticipates me throwing the ball for a game of fetch.  Or the way he sniffs and sniffs at me when I come home from a training class carrying the scent of a dozen other dogs I’ve worked with that night.  All normal behaviors, but ones that make me smile.

2. Patience. Anyone who has ever house trained a puppy knows how a dog can teach you you patience.  Even long after house training, when we moved to a new house and I wanted to train my  dog Ernie to use a dog run at the side of the house, a lot of patience was required.  To get him to go where I wanted him to go required keeping him leashed for his trips out into the yard.  He didn’t especially like that leashing and would make me wait and wait (sort of patiently) before he would finally give in and lift his leg.

3. Structure. Having a dog automatically brings some structure and schedule to your life.  When you have a dog, you no longer have the option of an impromptu meet up with friends after work.  You need to get home to take the dog out.  And when you’re out for the evening, you can’t just decide to stay out a little  longer.  Again, you have to get home.  Of course you could look at this as being a  burden or being a gift.  I choose to think of it as a gift (even though that’s a little harder to do when I’m trying to sleep in but Ernie has other ideas.)

In light of these kinds of gifts, the little squeak toy I’ll give my dog tomorrow doesn’t seem like much.  But my dog won’t  care..  He doesn’t judge me that way.  In fact, I don’t think he judges me at all.  And that’s yet another gift.

What are the gifts your dog gives you?  Whenever your dog is doing something you don’t appreciate, it might be good to remember those gifts.



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