I wish I were more like my Border collie.
Really, I do.
She is the happiest soul I have ever met.
Pumpkin has zero worries, is always happy to see everyone, and never gets upset - she's quick to forgive even after the Evil Beagle has attacked her over nothing. Of course, Pepper can either cuddle to make up for her poor manners or Pumpkin will sit on that rotten little hound's head, either one works for the Border collie.
She's the first one to greet me in the morning, putting her sweet face in my lap as I drink my coffee, tail wagging, waiting for her petting.
She demands the attention she wants, giving you a soft reprimanding bark if you don't notice her at first; the bark becomes more stern the longer the delay until she eventually paws you and gives you a head tilt that says ‘I adore you and you better love me back, dingdangit.'
She takes constructive criticism well, not taking it personally when she gets on Venus' nerves and the blind old gal has to snarl at her to calm her down for getting too rambunctious.
Unlike Pepper who starts the dinner howl at 4 p.m., reminding us it's feeding time - she has never missed a meal in her 14 years mind you - Pumpkin doesn't worry if she's going to be fed. As long as she's been here, she's had a bowl full of kibble and Milk-Bones every day of her life. No need to fret and pitch a canine hissie like the beagle.
If anything, she is always so happy and grateful to see her little bowl, that she would rather thank us with puppy kisses than eat. You don't have to worry about losing a digit if you try to offer her a treat either. With the other three, an overzealous chomp is always a possibility.
"If we want to truly know how to be, we should aim to be more like Pumpkin," I said to Cole one day.
Cole watched her chase after a squirrel across the yard. "Mama, we're supposed to try to herd up squirrels?"
"No, Cole," I began, "Just look at how happy and thankful she is. She knows she was rescued and that she has a home, a family that loves her, a pack. She is perfectly content. We should try to be more like that."
The Border collie returned, triumphant at chasing the squirrel up a tree and laid down in the grass next to Venus, who gave her a nuzzle.
"Really, all we need to know about how to deal with life, we can learn from dogs," I continued.
"Be happy when you see someone - even when we just go to the store, they are always so happy to see us. It may be an hour to us, but to them, that's forever. We need to not hold grudges. We need to appreciate what we have, play when we can, take naps often and be more loyal."
Cole nodded, letting it all sink in, the simple truths of what I was saying, watching the dogs laze in the sun.
"You're right, Mama," he said. "They do all that, don't they?"
"They do. If we want to know how to live life, we should just think, how would a dog handle this situation? Dogs are just pure souls. They don't have the agendas, the ulterior motives humans do."
No sooner than I had said that, Pepper marched up to Roubaix as he relaxed in the sun and gave him a stern, aggressive bark.
Roubaix's head snapped back, wondering what her reproach was about. She pointed her face right in his, ignorant to the fact her whole body is not as big as his head, and barked again. With a shake of his head, he pulled himself up from his nap spot and studied the Evil Beagle. He gave her a sniff and then let out a gruff cough; she evidently reeked of beagle stink. He gingerly licked the top of her head, which caused her even further annoyance and she bulged an eye out at him and growled.
"Mama, what do you think he's going to do? Is he going to hurt her?" Cole asked, worried.
"No, son," I began. "I have never seen Roubaix hurt that fool dog ever. He's the bigger dog, and he knows it. He will just walk away."
Just as we thought he was going to do just that, he turned to walk away, but not before he lifted his leg. Right on that evil little beagle.
Well, that pretty much sums up the dog's philosophy: If you can't eat it, or play with it, just walk away. But not before heisting your leg.
Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of the recently e-published novel, "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."