As I head into the Thanksgiving season, I am, like many people, trying to cultivate the value of gratitude. The problem is that Thanksgiving is arriving at an inconvenient time this year when a number of things seem to be going wrong with health, finances, blah blah . . . I won't bore you with details. But when it's a challenge to be thankful, I turn to the most thankful person I know.
Who is not actually a person. He is a dog.
Regular readers of this blog may remember that last Thanksgiving Day, Onyx was on death's door and the vet thought he was a goner. Thanks for all your prayers; he's doing great now. In fact, these are the lessons he wants me to impart to the world as Thanksgiving draws near once again.
- Today is going to be the best day EVER! Just remember that, OK? So in the morning before your people get up, go right next to their heads and breathe heavily with excitement so that they, too, will catch your enthusiasm about this being the best day EVER. It will be even better than yesterday, which was the best day to date.
- After eating breakfast, be sure to always go find the person who fixed your meal for you and nuzzle their hand in gratitude. They always remember to feed you. They are therefore the best humans ever. And isn't food just amazing?
- Be grateful all morning that you can work like a dog. This often involves working with your eyes closed — whether you're on the couch, the dog bed, or the regular bed that you're not actually supposed to jump on. Work is so important.
- During the lunch hour, paw your human insistently so that she understands it's time to stop working and enjoy the neighborhood. Drag her to the front door. Isn't it great when people understand what you're telling them? Communication is so important.
- When you get outside, run around in circles a few times and bark with joy. You love your yard! You love your life!
- In the neighborhood, take time to greet your friends and sniff their butts. Smelling their butts indicates that you think they are wonderful and interesting. And they are. They are the best friends you've ever had!
- When you walk around and read your pee-mail, savor the moment. Someone took the time to leave you a message: “Rover was here!” So leave a message back and be grateful for friends and smells and this fabulous world.
- OMG, did we mention that this is the best day EVER? Are you having fun yet?
- If, during the course of your day, you come across any humans who seem to not quite understand that this is actually the best day EVER, it is your job to cheer them up. As a hint, butt-sniffing is not as effective at communicating love to humans as it is to fellow dogs. But a well-timed cuddle is always appropriate. Which leads us to the most important gratitude rule:
- When the people you love walk in the front door, drop everything in your excitement. Rush to them, jump up and down, slather them with kisses. They are the most remarkable and beautiful creatures in your world, and you have to let them know that every single day — especially this, your best day EVER.