The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘joy’


The first story I saw this morning on Yahoo news was about nine Golden Retriever comfort dogs who have come, courtesy of Lutheran Church Charities to be with the residents of Newtown, CT as they try to pick up the pieces of their lives after last Friday’s tragedy.

This brief video should help you start your day in an upbeat way.


Dogs, like people, require a little diversion – what we humans call entertainment. Frankly, based on the quality of output from Hollywood, dogs apparently need a higher aesthetic level before they are amused. We humans have far lower standards.

Gracie and I have been going through a period of transition since we lost Spenser. Although it’s almost three months, neither of us has gotten over the absence of this warm and loving golden retriever. I doubt that either of us will.

But going to the dog park two or three times a day has enabled Gracie to do a lot more socializing than formerly when she was confined to walking through the neighborhood and meeting all of her various friends who live close by.

It has become so clear to me that she thinks of herself as both a “mother” and as a small dog – despite her 102 pounds. When we go to the park, she is far more interested in meeting the smaller dogs who come into the “large dog” area than she is with those who approximate her size.

Whenever two dogs gang up (playfully) on a third member she feels it is necessary to intercede and break up what she perceives as a dispute. She thrusts herself between the combatants and offers her own body against the snapping mouths and barking. She truly is the UN Police Keeping Force of the dog park.

Once she has broken up the dispute, she comes back to me with a confident look of accomplishment on her face. Then she will sit down next to me, her head raised, seeking the approval from me that she indeed deserves. She is a loving and wonderful companion.

Gracie is a beautiful dog – but what dog isn’t? As she is unusual (which is to say that she isn’t a breed that is immediately recognizable), I get a lot of questions, “What is she?” So I tell the questioner what the three quarters of her background is that I know – and dismiss the last quarter as “other.”

Gracie has never had an interest in toys – other than to wrest them from Spenser’s mouth when he picked one up. He always let her have them. So I have struggled with things that I could do to increase her enjoyment of life – other than going to the park. To be honest, I would consider my success to be extremely limited. Until tonight.

I was watching the Westminster Kennel Club’s annual show when Gracie came into the room. As it happened, the “Toy Group” was being shown in Madison Square Garden’s ring.

She sat quietly for a moment as she watched the procession of dogs parade across the small screen television in my home office. Suddenly, she got up from her sitting position and placed her nose against the television screen. She kept watching as dog after dog did their turns around the ring, her nose firmly pressed against the television.

Although I tell her amusing anecdotes, I realize that these may be lost on Gracie. Sometimes they’re lost on me as well. Perhaps the most reassuring thing I can do is cuddle up with her and hold her close to me.

So I decided that in the interest of entertaining her I needed to record the Westminster show. I am sure that I will be able to amuse her through the balance of this year – until it returns next February.

In the meantime, she’ll just have to settle for my affection – and an occasional re-run of Westminster.


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