Dogs rule, but Max sure does drool.
I noticed him drooling more than normal the past couple times I’ve taken him to a new dog park. There are many dogs there and I guess all the new smells and sights make him excited. The past two times we have gone he has walked around and played a bit, and then he looked up at me and had two long strands of drool hanging off his mouth.
He also drools at meals times. When he sees me grab his bowl to fill it up, he follows me. And as I walk back across the kitchen to give him the food, my feet often find every little spot of drool he has left across the floor.
It is pretty gross, whether I am looking at it or inadvertently cleaning it up with my feet.
But Max doesn’t care, because it’s just a part of who he is. And it is just an expression of his happiness. He has the freedom to be happy and excited and let it show in whatever ways it naturally comes out.
I, on the other hand, am very bad at expressing my emotions. I spent a long time trying to be as stoic as I could and that is now my natural reaction to both happy, exciting things and sad, depressing things.
Being stoic in this way is not always bad, but it does inhibit how I can relate to others in those extremely happy or sad times. And it makes it much harder for me to convey how and when I am passionate about something.
But Max has taught me to ease up on the reigns of controlling those emotions a little. He has taught me that it is good and natural to express myself, even if that leads to a nasty drool puddle.
He has taught me not to worry about whether I look a little strange, but rather to allow myself to be invested in situations and to know that however I react is a worthwhile part of me.
And he has taught me to look at other people’s drool puddles in a more compassionate way. Everyone has natural reactions to emotionally powerful events, and instead of being confused by those reactions or being bothered by them, I can now focus more on celebrating or mourning with those people.
So thank you Max for teaching me that sometimes you just gotta drool. Sometimes you just gotta let loose and be excited, even it if means you look funny. And thank you for teaching me that your drool is not meant to offend, but rather to convey your deeply felt emotions.