One quality I really admire in dogs, is their ability to just enjoy simple things. I remember bringing Rugby home in 2007 and presenting him with five new toys. There was a tennis ball, a Nylabone, a soft toy, a knotted rope ball, and a Kong toy. I didn’t know what sort of toys he would prefer, so I got a small assortment for him to try out.
I will never, ever forget the look of wonder and joy on his face as he considered these objects. I remember seeing him look up at me as if to say, “Are these mine? All of them? Mine? And I don’t have to share?” As a rescue dog, I don’t think he’d really had toys of his own before, and he was so very excited.
Since then, I’ve paid more attention to dogs and I’ve universally noticed this same simplicity about them. Many dogs really love a ball. Just a simple ball. When Rugby first came to our home, we got him balls that squeaked, and he just loved to chase them for hours at a time. What a simple toy, simple game, and I smiled every single time we played.
Of course, those balls gave way to polka dottie piggies, once Rugby discovered that they were both toys and a security blanket for him! But again, a very simple toy, and he loves them more than anything at all. They don’t have bells or whistles on them…they just grunt. That’s it. They grunt. And Rugby thinks they are marvelous.
Rugby often wants to be right where I am. If I’m working at my desk, he’s in his man cave under my desk. If I’m on the sofa, he’s either laying right next to me or he’s laying on my feet. He’s always been my little shadow, never leaving me alone for long. If the weather allows, I typically just leave our back door open, and Rugby can come and go as he likes. If I don’t stay outside with him, he will often do an occasional yard check, but he always comes back in to look for me.
Now that the weather is cooling, I’m trying to spend some extra time writing outside….on the patio….just enjoying the weather, the crisp Fall smells, and the busy critters preparing for Winter. It always seems like an ordeal to gather up all of my gear and haul it outside and set it up all over again. But the joy on Rugby’s face when he sees me joining him outside is always worth it.
When I’m outside with him, he will often poke around his yard, lingering here and there, taking in a new or interesting smell. And he knows the noises of particular birds, and especially Chipmunks and Squirrels. And he loves chasing them out of his yard or up a tree! But after each little running and barking jag, Rugby loves to come up and sit right next to me. I generally bring one of his dog beds out to the patio and put it right next to my chair, so that he can sit with me and relax in some comfort.
He loves this. He really does. It’s so simple. It’s not expensive. It’s not difficult. I don’t have to do it all day long…just as long as I want on any given day. So simple. And I always feel so full when I have to walk away from it and move along to something else on my schedule for the day. Dogs are so very good at slowing down and just enjoying the simple, little individual moments that make up this thing that we call life. I’m so completely thankful for my little speckled dog to help keep me grounded, and help remind me that the most simple things in life are often where the memories of life are embedded.