Happy Halloween or A Dog of Many Hats

Max is a dog of many hats…at least on Halloween!

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Alright grasshopper, wax on…wax off.

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Here I come to save the day!!!!!

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It’s elementary…

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Trick arrrrrrrrrrr treat!

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Git along little dogies.

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No sweat!

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Domo arigato, Mr. Dogboto.

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My best Snoopy as Red Baron pose.

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Alright, enough of your shenanigans!

And through all those different personas, Max is still Max – a goofy, fun dog. He has taught me that no matter how many hats I may find myself wearing, I can still be me – a goofy, fun human. And as fun as the hats are, they don’t give him any more meaning. That meaning is intrinsic and flows out of him through all the different roles.

So thank you Max for making Halloween even more fun and enjoyable. And thank you for teaching me that no matter what array of hats we may find ourselves wearing, we are still intrinsically valuable.

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Persistence

Max is obnoxiously persistent. I’ve already shared how persistent he is on walks either when he catches the scent of something he just must smell or when he is ready to sprint around.

But he is also surprisingly persistent around the house. When he craves attention he will try to climb on top of and over people to be right in the middle of things (which is why more of the pictures I take look like this rather than the nice ones I typically post).

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While Max may be calm most of the time, when he really wants something he will stop at nothing to get it.

I begrudgingly admit that this must be some sort of virtue he is teaching me. I do so begrudgingly because it is really annoying. The couple times it is humorous are far outweighed by the times I will do almost anything just to get him to stop.

But then I think of what he really wants at those times – to lay outside, to get some loving attention, to play. Self-centered desires perhaps, but still ones that are innocent and honest and ultimately lead to mutual sharing of affection. Max is persistent because he wants to be an important part of my life.

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And maybe I begrudgingly admit the value of his persistence because if I do so it reveals my own lack of intentionally spending that little bit of extra time with him. His persistence brings to light not only my lack of persistence, but also my often-present apathy.

Max has learned that there are some things not worth giving up on, some things in which we have to invest a little extra energy, some things we have to do over and over again because for whatever reason it is worth it and for whatever reason those around us do not seem to get it.

Max has taught me to persistently seek the things that matter most, especially when they do not come readily. Max has taught me to push for things that I care about even when I think my efforts make no difference. Max has taught me that persistence is a form of love when someone invests in others regardless of whether or not they are open to it.

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But I think I am right to be at least a little hesitant on lauding persistence in whole. Max does not always incessantly strive for the best things. There have been times when his insistence on eating decaying things outside resulted in sickness the next day.

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Thus, Max has also taught me that persistence must be tempered with humility, for I do not always have the full picture and what I insist on may not be the best thing. I must take the time to consider (with others) whether what I am consuming and promoting with zeal is life-giving or death-bringing.

So thank you Max for teaching me that there are some things worth pursuing persistently. And thank you for teaching me to incorporate humility in those persistent pursuits so that I may seek to align what I value with what is truly the best for all.

Going

Max likes to go. Go outside, go back inside, go in the car, go around and around (and thankfully I don’t mean go in the bathroom sense, though he does like to do that outside a lot too).

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He likes going in the sense of moving. In fact he is more or less built for that. While I get around well on two feet, he has four to continually propel him.

And often he really gets going on our walks. I even have to jog to keep up. I have a hunch that it is usually because he thinks he will get fed when we get back, and, hey, that’s a good enough reason for me too.

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Max has taught me something in his persistent going, especially when he is ready to go when I am not, when it’s hot outside or I am tired or busy or just do not want to do anything. Whether he goes fast or slow he goes and is always ready and willing to go. He could be half asleep and if he hears me walking to the door or getting my shoes, he is up and ready before I get those shoes on.

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Max has taught me to go even when I don’t feel like it. He has taught me that although I often need a push and a reason, it’s always worth it. It is worth it because in going I experience life in all its beauty and mess and warmth and cold and life and death.

Max has taught me that going is important because that is how I grow and learn and live.

Going does not mean that I always have to be busy though. Max is full of energy and his going is an expression of that energy, but I also see something significant in his disposition to go.  Max’s going is not born out of a need to fill his life with activities, but rather an eagerness to live his life to the full.

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And Max does experience that fullness of life because he is eager and ready to meet it anywhere at all times.  Even though he spends much of his life in a small apartment, he is no prisoner to apathy. He keeps a desire for life smoldering within himself that looks for opportunities to go and seizes them with vigor.

So thank you Max for teaching me to go even when I am lazy or apathetic. Thank you for teaching me to develop a disposition of going so that I may be ready and willing to experience life in whatever ways I meet it.

Tail Chasing

Max is a tail chaser.

It cracks me up every time. Sometimes he has too much energy that needs to be spent and sometimes that tail is taunting him just enough.

Max does other silly things, like chase crickets. I admit it looks like a lot of fun as the crickets bounce around randomly and Max gets to pounce about trying to catch them.

Max even has a couple of silly moves he employs when playing. When he is really hyper and running around outside he often sprints a little distance squats down and does a quick 360 before sprinting in another direction. And when we play in the house he seems to always get in this weird position where his head is sideways on the ground and his bottom is still sticking up in the air…

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I don’t presume to know why he does all these silly things, but I also don’t know that he has a reason either. Maybe he just does them because they are fun, like the little kid in the park who takes off fully clothed running through the fountain. It doesn’t make sense, but when you watch it you can’t deny how fun it is.

I do my fair share of silly things too, but I tend to be overly cautious and wait until I have really thought it through. I suppose that is a helpful quality, but when it comes to silly things, thinking it through too much sometimes keeps me from being fully present in the moment and robs me of the spontaneous fun of it.

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In chasing his tail and doing his other countless silly act, Max has taught me the importance of doing silly things just for the sake of it. He has taught me to run around and do something fun just because I can. It is in these acts that I seem to experience and understand something about the fullness of life that I miss out in merely thinking about what needs to be done or observing whatever is happening around me.

So thank you Max for being silly. Thank you for teaching me to let go more often and embrace that child-like fun that helps me experience life rather than merely observe it.