A resolution to learn the Tao of dog

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By Brad Bowman

If I ever found myself foolish enough to think I would stick with a resolution for a year, I would steal my dogs’ wisdom.

We have a weimaraner and labrador mixed dog her name is Tilly and a beagle mixed with what we think is a blue healer named Henry. Henry looks very much like Snoopy and makes similar sounds as the Peanuts character with a custom for snorting when you directly ask him questions.

These two beasts are mentally superior and I have a lot to learn from them.

Somehow they subtly have made the arrangement that my wife and I will work and pay the bills while they sleep and guard the house at the same time.

We rescued Tilly from an animal shelter, or so we thought, and hoped she would keep Henry company. As it turns out, she rescued us from peace and quiet. If I could mount her on to the treadmill with a turbine, I could take my whole neighborhood off the grid.

Henry, who is much older, finds great joy in rubbing his backside on the wood underneath our bed where his paws can’t reach. But don’t let this doggish chicanery fool you they both possess hints of genius.

Tilly will sit on the neighboring couch and stare at me with the affection one would have for an idol.

Her fascination with the most mundane choirs in our house draws from a well of unfathomable curiosity. Sweeping, brushing your teeth or making coffee intrigues her with such wonder that she usually stands right beside me as I do it. She sharpens her focus, tilts her head slightly and continues day after day mesmerized.

If only everyone could find the wonder and magic that Tilly sees, the world may be an entirely different place.

Henry is the great hunter — even in the house.

During the summer when an innocent fly haphazardly finds its way into our house, it has no idea that it has stumbled into the lair of a fierce stalker. It is not uncommon to be in deep concentration, like writing, and out of the corner of my eye see Henry jump in mid air and close his jaws around a fly. He has successfully put the fly swatter out of business. He only accepts food and affection for his services.

Despite my lack of sophistication in understanding how to ascertain their lifestyle of wonder, leisure and entertainment, I have noticed the simplicity of their sophistication.

They enjoy simple things: laying in a streak of sunshine on a hardwood floor,  companionship, an overwhelming duty to affection and faithfully seeking attention. They also easily forgive and forget without any attachment to bitterness.

This year I may start as an acolyte of Tilly and Henry’s. I hope to find joy in as many things as they do and ultimately require so much less.