Max is always excited and ready for whatever comes next. He bolts down and up the stairs, eagerly anticipating going out or coming in – especially if he perceives we are going to do something special, like go for a ride in the car or eat dinner.
But lately I have noticed something else he consistently does when rushing to the next exciting thing. He stops and looks back at me. I notice this most as we come back in from a walk. He runs up the stairs but then almost always stops on the last step and looks back, making sure I am coming along too.
I interpret this action to mean that he really wants to share with me whatever experience is awaiting us at the top of the stairs. I guess it could also be that he realizes he cannot get his own food, but I like to think he’s just being a good friend.
I know dogs are social by nature, so this is not unique to Max, but I have still learned a significant lesson from Max’s behavior. Max has taught me to turn around and invite others to join me.
I enjoy doing things alone, and being in large social settings exhausts me. But with Max’s reminder I see the value in community, the value in inviting others to join me in fun adventures or meaningful work.
Such an inviting attitude makes the activity much more enjoyable and meaningful by means of creating new memories that many can share. But it also changes me for the better. It makes me more welcoming and caring, more attentive to others around me. It breaks me out of self-absorption and attunes my eyes and heart to the others with whom I share my life.
Yes, there are times when I need to go lay out on the balcony alone, but when an opportunity arises to invite other along in my life, Max has taught me that I need not pass that by.
Not only does Max exhibit an attitude of excitement, but he also proves that such excitement is heightened when others are invited along. He is not merely ready for whatever comes next, he is ready for others to join him in whatever comes next.
So thank you Max, for inviting me to join you in your life’s adventure. And thank you for teaching me to cultivate an inviting attitude and welcoming presence in my own life.