I’m now 3 ½. Like everyone I have no precise date to tell me how long I’ll be here for – it could be until the end of today or if I’m really lucky it could be until I’m seventeen or more in human years. I have no way of knowing exactly how long and neither do my people. There are averages for my breed but I’m not your average dog!
I’ve often thought it would be useful if people and animals had a “best before” or “use by” date stamped on their forehead (like they put on milk and dog food) so those around them could see it and didn’t waste time with silly things and arguments but just enjoyed every moment while they could. I sometimes look at humans with the weird things they argue, worry and fret about and wonder if its really worth the time they waste like when families and friends don’t speak for ages, and people stay in jobs for all the wrong reasons, or doing things that don’t matter and put off doing the good things until they retire only to find they miss out because they weren’t left with enough time.
But I digress - I am a dog and I live in the moment. Moments are all us dogs have so I don’t dwell about things in my past (like when my foot was sore) and I don’t think about the future (like if it’ll bring me pleasure or pain) because I live in the moment like the moment when I see the neighbouring cat, the moment when my food bowl appears or I’m going on a walk or I playing with my people or other dogs, the moment I see something interesting like an animal program on TV, or I’m going for a car ride, or I find an interesting smell in our back yard, or there is a ball to chase or I’m running along the beach towards the waves - but sometimes in the moment (like when I’m lying on my back four paws up to the warm sun with my mum beside me on the lawn (also on her back staring up at the fluffy white clouds and blue sky) while she rubs my tummy) I close my eyes and wonder what my legacy will be…
Humans like to leave legacies. Something to make them feel that their time, however long or short, actually meant something and that they will not be forgotten too soon.
Often what they choose to leave behind is money and possessions, and some people spend so much time getting things to add to thier pile that they miss out on other experiences with the ones they are wanting to leave their possesions to. There is a saying “he who has the most toys wins” but I know I came into this world without toys and you can’t take toys with you (since I got many of my toys from the last dog that lived here), and although they are fun at the time toys I don’t want my toy collection to be my legacy.
So what about another generation of me… well unfortunately, due to one of those visits to the vet (and yes the vet is still my friend and I still want t to go back to visit him!), being a father isn’t to be, but I live in the knowledge that I’m an uncle and also my daddy was a very busy boy so there are lots of his puppies around the world and lots of half-siblings in New Zealand (I’ve met some of them) with my good looks.
Then there is fame. There are those who seek it and those who just become famous for the things that they do. I’m not a show dog with titles, but I do dabble in obedience classes and agility classes for fun. Yes you read right “obedience for fun” as I get to socialise with other dogs, and my mum looks so happy as I do better with each challenge like dumbbells and scent cloths, but my mum is not so serious that she wants to win proper competitions with me as she’d get too stressed “she” wasn’t doing the right thing or “she” wasn’t walking the right way! So she takes me to classes to be social with others, and instead I have certificates for something called “Canine Good Citizen” from the NZ Kennel Club (they do a similar thing overseas in places like America and the UK) and every so often we do a ribbon parade thing, but I doubt I’ll be remebered for my efforts in those!
There is also being of service to others (like the animals that visit old people) and that is something to explore in the future (mum thinks I might be good at it), but for now I try to make people around me smile by eagerly going up to humans for pats, by being friendly to all the other dogs I meet (even the growly ones!), by wanting to play with everyone and every dog, by getting my humans attention and making them smile when they’re having a bad day, and by enjoying each and every moment I have.
Yes I think for now the thing that I will work on, and what my legacy might be, is to make others smile at the things that I do.