Dreams Do Come True

Max has a habit of falling on his back when I bend down to pet him. Sometimes, it happens even before I touch his head. He falls over and rolls around so that his belly is easy to scratch.

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And because I’m a sucker, I usually give in and give him a belly rub.

Max has modest dreams – getting the occasional treat, having a fun run every now and then, and, most prominently, getting as many belly rubs as possible.

Even though these dreams are modest, Max has taught me how to make them come true. He does not just sit around waiting for the belly rubs to come to him. Rather, he creates opportunities and takes advantage of the best times to flop on his back.

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I, on the other hand, too often sit around hoping my dreams will magically come true. Or, I wait for just the perfect opportunities. And so I wait and wait and wait, and those dreams get polished and fine tuned, but do not become a reality.

To be honest, though, Max’s dreams do not always come true. He flops down for a belly rub a lot, and he only gets the desired results about half the time (that’s actually also his posture when he knows he did something bad). But the fact that he fails about as much as he succeeds does not deter him. He knows that his dream of constant belly rubs is worth the failures, and he is sure not to miss any opportunities.

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Max has taught me that if the dream really is worth it, I just have to go for it. I have to trust that even if I am not fully prepared, even if it doesn’t work out sometimes, or even if it takes a few tries, that I have to flop over and go for it. And he has taught me that if I never try, those dreams will certainly fade away unfulfilled.

Max has also taught me that striving after dreams is a vulnerable thing to do. In rolling over and exposing his belly, Max puts himself in a very vulnerable position. And though following my own dreams does not always leave me physically vulnerable, it is usually a scary thing, because something I really care about is on the line. And in sharing my dreams in order to try to make them a reality, I have to share a deep, meaningful part of myself with the world.

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Despite the possibility of failure and the vulnerability inherent in following dreams, Max has taught me that they do come true when my effort and the right circumstances align. And even if they don’t always make it, it is worth trying.

So, thank you Max for encouraging me to follow my dreams, even when I am likely to fail. Thank you for teaching me that expressing vulnerability in following those dreams can be meaningful and powerful. And you are welcome for my role in helping to make your dreams come true!

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Dreaming Big

Max really wants to chase rabbits.

And there are so many rabbits out this year that we usually see two or three a day. They seem to be getting bolder too, because they are not hopping away as quickly and are venturing closer to roads and sidewalks.

No rabbits in here?

No rabbits in here?

As we walk by, Max becomes very alert then dashes toward the rabbit. Sometimes he even hops around straining against the leash trying to pull me on his hunt.

While I have occasionally run along with him, I have never let him freely chase them (you’re welcome rabbits). I honestly don’t even know what he would do if he got one, and I doubt he would know either.

Either way, his desire to chase and/or catch the rabbits will remain a dream, an ever out-of-reach goal.

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But Max does not give up on that goal, however many times he fails.

And he has taught me that it is worthwhile to maintain those lofty dreams. He has shown me that it makes no sense to give up on such a goal – he may actually attain it someday, and it doesn’t hurt him to keep trying, even if he fails.

Moreover, he has shown me that the goal is important (whether or not he attains it) because it provides much needed excitement, newness, and challenge to his daily routine. He can too easily fulfill his goal of peeing on every bush he passes (at least until I get fed up with his moseying around). While this minor goal does make him excited every time, he also needs bigger dreams that inspire him to journey to new places in new ways.

I reckon his dreams of chasing rabbits are sometimes even very literal. His sleep is often interrupted by muffled yips and twitching legs that I imagine are signs of him living out that excitement of the chase in whatever version of doggy dream imagination his brain can handle.

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But I think the most important lesson I have learned from Max’s big dream is that he does not let it distract him from making the most of his daily activities. Yes, he would love to chase some rabbits and he jumps at any opportunity that passes. But when I pull him back to the normal path with boring, static bushes and grass, he maintains a healthy level of attentiveness and interest in the plain walk itself.

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He does not despair for not getting to chase the rabbits, but he also does not despair that his whole life is not a rabbit chase. He maintains his big dream without trying to escape into endless sleep in pursuit of it.

So, thank you Max for teaching me to stay steadfast in my big dreams, even when I may never achieve them. Thank you for teaching me to find a way for those dreams to bring excitement to my daily walk. And thank you for teaching me not to become overly absorbed in that dream so as to miss the beauty of the rest of the ordinary journey.

Grounded

Max is a dreamer, I’m sure of it. I see how he peers out into the distance, dreaming up ways in which he can finally catch that rabbit taunting him.

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But Max is also very grounded. He doesn’t spend long standing there before he is off again.  

I, on the other hand, get lost in dreams of what could be. And this dreaming is heightened even more as I venture out with Max. 

Now that the weather is nicer I like to take longer walks with Max.  And he seems to enjoy it too.  In being outside more, I realize how captivated I can become of things in nature around me.

During the day time, Max and I share a fascination with birds. I think he usually just wants to chase them, while I stare and marvel at how they function and how cool it would be to be a bird, flying high in the sky.

At night, I often look at the stars. I can see more of them where I live now compared to the past 7 years, and though I know I still can’t see even a small fraction of the depth of beauty of the night sky, it always captivates me.  I don’t think Max gets quite as much out of the stars, but he enjoys being with me.

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As I stare out into the sky, I begin to think again of how cool it would be to be out there, exploring the infinity of space and time, to be lifted out of this world, this reality, and jump right into something totally unknown…geronimo!

And as I get stuck desiring to enter into those experiences of flight or space, Max often tugs me to move along, pulling me out of my reverie.  He keeps my feet on the ground, wherever my head may be.

In doing so, Max has taught me a valuable lesson about dreaming. I am still a fan of getting lost in the wonder of fantastical reverie, but there’s something to be said about staying grounded.

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Max has taught me that as important as such dreaming is, perhaps it is more meaningful to appreciate my reality and allow myself to stop and enjoy space and nature just as it is from my perspective.

For there is nothing unfantastical about what I actually experience everyday.  Space is still a beautiful, unbelievable thing witnessed right from where I stand as I stop to admire it on a nightly walk.  Birds are still incredible and worth a certain degree of amazement even without imagining that I am flying with them.

So thank you Max for dreaming with me and for teaching me that grounded dreams are no less beautiful. Thank you for teaching me to stop and see the wondrous world around me as it really exists, without an escape to made up experiences.