My dog, Wyatt, just had his birthday. Since he has been my main companion for the last 8 years, I was thinking this morning how this little creature has given me such daily joy.
Wyatt is a small white fluffy dog, my first lap dog. I don’t think I will ever be able to return to the big dogs I have had in the past. He is a Coton de Tulear. Originally from Madagascar, the breed first came to France in the 1970’s. Coton’s were given as gifts to royalty and known for their sweet temperaments, no shedding and portability. All three of these characteristics where important to me when I was researching the perfect dog for me.
He greets me each morning with a happy smile…yes, dogs do smile. And the little bounce and skip during our daily walks makes me chuckle. He also helps me get out and notice the natural beauty around me. Each blade of grass is appreciated and the cats that slink by also get noticed. He keeps things very Zen for me, the simple pleasures of life, nature, companionship and good treats. Martin Seligman, in his work with the Psychology of Satisfaction (Recommended Reading: “Flourish” by Martin Seligman)
lists one of the components of a joyful life as daily pleasures. Wyatt certainly helps me build up a bank account of those pleasures. When I look back on my day or week and list what I am appreciative for I realize that my dog Wyatt is at the top of the list. I take him with me everywhere. We travel to Europe and to Southern California. I often take him to work when I see my clients. We take road trips to the beach (he loves the beach) and hike the city streets of San Francisco and Oakland. His companionship has made my single life feel blessed.
I live in a community of eight condominium buildings. There are a band of dog lovers that often gather for neighborly talks or walk their dogs together around the grounds. Our common interest in dogs has over the years built good connections among neighbors. Sometimes people take extended hikes up in the hills surrounding our development together. Sometimes they help each other out by caring for the animals of a friend who has to go out of town or is too ill to take her dog
for a walk. Our dogs are helping to build community where there was once a more separate and distant feeling with only a wave or two in the parking lot.
Lately, I have been looking for a volunteer project to give more meaning to my to my life and have decided to certify Wyatt as a therapy dog through http://www.pawsforfriendship.com/. Wyatt loves people and I think he would be a perfect candidate to visit the elderly in the hospital or with children who have emotional challenges.
Wyatt has helped me live my third act filled with small daily pleasures, appreciation, daily exercise and connection with the animal world, neighbors and helped me to build community when I might have just stayed home alone. Soon he will help me with more meaning and purpose. These are all attributes of a successful third act. Little did I know how much pleasure he would give me when he first jumped into my lap, looking into my eyes with complete joy and adoration. I love him so much I had a pet portrait in pencil done of him.
Thank you Wyatt and Happy Birthday!
Tell us your favorite third act pet stories.