Mum’s brought me to the vet because of excessive licking (I won’t get into the personal details) but will mention that I keep hearing the word “surgery.” I’m not sure exactly what that entails for this kibble-loving cockapoo. I expect I’ll do fine, but now that I’m over ten years old, it’s time to share the wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years. Here are my top tips for how to live a wag-worthy life.
Plan your Day. When I wake up in the morning, I like to stick to my routine. I wait until Dad gets up so I can get my belly rub then I sit and give him puppy eyes so I get my pieces of Crackling Oak Bran. After Mum takes me for a walk, I have free time to squirrel chase. Charge for the squirrel and then around the tree. It’s fun but exhausting. After my afternoon nap, I get to smell supper cooking. I let Mum and Dad eat first, but as soon as they’re done, I expect my kibbles. Then it’s cuddle time and an early bedtime. If no one messes with my routine, I’m much happier.
Exercise. Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re all groaning. But problems, like that squirrel who keeps teasing me and scampering just high enough that I can’t reach him, seem easier to deal with if I get out, clear my head, and take a long walk. If it’s any consolation, I won’t include eating healthy to this list since I admit life just isn’t worth living without gravy on top of kibbles and an occasional ice cream.
Learn new tricks. I don’t mind Mum exercising my brain and teaching me new tricks like “What does the fireman say?” I stop, drop, and roll. After, I get my piece of jerky. Mum and Dad don’t know it, but I’ve taught them a few tricks, too. If I stand by the treadmill, Mum will turn it on. I walk on it for a few minutes so Mum can oooh and ahhh and call me “such a smart dog” and give me a treat.
Dad’s been a bit harder to train, but he’s coming around. When we’re riding together and his free hand isn’t on the car’s steering wheel, he now knows he’s supposed to pet me. I sometimes need to remind him by pawing at his arm, but he’s learning.
Share the Love. When Dad gives me extra bacon, I wag my tail enthusiastically and let him know I appreciate him. When my favorite friends stop by, I bark loudly, wag my tail, squirm my body, and sit on their feet. I like making my humans feel special.
Learn to Slow Down. When Mum or Dad hook me up to the bike trotter and say we’re going for a run, I start off. But if it’s too hot or I’m not feeling it, I slow down and pant to let them know. I hitch a ride in Mum’s basket. After we return home, I stretch out on the couch or in a patch of sunshine and take a nap.
Fight for what’s yours. Guard your time and keep your eye on the pack. That beagle in the neighborhood, the one who’s always peeing on my mailbox, thinks he’s all it. Well, I have news for him. I’m top dog around here, and if he invades my territory, I’m going to alert my pack.
Follow Your “Frisky.” Consider what makes you race around the yard and keep chasing it until you catch it. Whether it’s herding sheep, catching balls, or chasing rabbits, be true to who you are and what you want.
Be patient. Shortcuts aren’t always short. Dad should have listened to this advice instead of skipping reading the mole trap directions. If he had taken those few minutes, he could have saved himself the pain of having the trap snap the tip of his finger, leading to a visit to urgent care. Likewise, if I sit patiently and wait for the squirrel to forget that I’m at the base of the tree, I sometimes get to chase him again.
Don’t compare yourself to the golden-doodles of the world. I’ve seen you humans scrolling through Facebook, feeling bad because your lives aren’t like others. Stop it. It only makes you feel like you’re on the bottom of the dog-pile.
Give a paw up. As long as another creature doesn’t threaten my top-dog status, I’m okay with helping out, and that includes any humans. Mum’s been looking a bit frazzled lately, which is why I offered to write this column for her. She appreciated it.
Don’t worry or dwell on the negative. Yeah, I have a surgery coming up, but what sense does it make to fret when there are squirrels out there to chase and ice cream bowls to lick?
And finally, my last bit of advice.
Cuddle up, snuggle in, and enjoy life.
That’s it for now.