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.
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.
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.
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.
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.