Present Tense

Love your people like you love your dogs….

dogsI was sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace reading one of the many spiritual tomes that currently adorn my nightstand.  My two dogs were lying on either side of me; so peaceful and sweet and relaxed.  As I was rubbing Junior’s belly it occurred to me that if I were to treat all of the humans I encounter with the same patience and forgiveness that I afford my dogs, my world might change.

I have two Jack Russell Terriers, Chili and Junior and have had various numbers of JRTs in the house for over 20 years.  They can be a handful, but I love their spirit and athleticism and sense of humor.  They require a fair amount of training and lots of praise and patience.

We’ve always used rewards much more than punishment and we allow them their dogisms; chasing squirrels (within reason), killing small rodents (again, not encouraging massacres), tugging, chewing, wrestling, digging, occasional barking binges.  At our house, they are allowed on the furniture and one sleeps in the bed. I just let them fulfill their nature and ‘be’.

As with humans, there are occasional bumps in the road.  A couple of months ago they got into a fight to the death over some food and I foolishly got in the middle of it and ended up in the ER getting intravenous antibiotics due to a badly infected dog bite.   Chili, the perp, was unapologetic, while Junior seemed upset about the fight and my injury.  Me?  I was pissed that I was dumb enough to get into the middle of the rumble knowing that the dogs wouldn’t have any idea who they were biting.

I forgave and moved on.  After massive doses of Levaquin and Flagyl.

But, what if that was one of my ‘people’?  What if during a rough stretch or an emotionally raw moment, someone sliced me open with a thoughtless comment or action?  Would I be so forgiving of their human-ness?  Doubtful.  The anger and hurt would fester like my dog bite, but it would not heal.  It would calcify into at best, a checkmark on their permanent record or at worst, a hardcore grudge.  Maybe even hatred.

I hear your cries.  “But, Jane! Our dogs love us unconditionally and they don’t know any better.  People are different. People know what’s right and wrong!!”

My reply is:  so what.  We’ve all been that person.  The thoughtless one who said something cruel or let someone down or lashed out in anger or frustration.  That is us being human. We all have those moments and I am going to try and remember that next time I want to toss out a ‘screw you’ to someone that I feel has wronged me.

Every religion and spiritual path in the universe teaches us two things: Love and forgive your fellow humans.  Period.  So, no excuses about how dogs are nicer than people.  You should have been at my house when Chili was clamped onto my wrist like a Great White.  Or watched them round up and murder the foreign squirrel in our house.  That is their nature and we allow it and forgive it.  Let’s try it with each other.

I’ll go first…and I hope that you will in turn, return that grace to me next time I say or do something stupid or hurtful.   Trust me, it won’t be long…..

February 2, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , ,


  1. You are so right Jane. I think I will try and show others a little more compassion. I am still going to watch the big game Sunday though, the Puppy Bowl at 3:00pm.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd | February 2, 2013 | Reply

  2. Jane , this really hit home with me, There has been a recent tragic death in my family. I have lashed out in my grief and had family members lash out to me in their grief, and said multiple things I would take back in heartbeat. I think that to forgive and apologize is hard to do and I want to hold a grudge but I NEED to apologize and forgive because in the long run it makes me feel better. Like my daughter’s JRT Bristle, I want to forgive and move on. Life as I have learned is too short and I need to get my I love you’s and I forgive you’s in before they are not there any more to tell..

    Comment by Christine Ridgeway | February 2, 2013 | Reply

    • Christine:
      I’m so sorry for your loss. You are so right that we all need to remember that our time is too short to spend it with a hard heart and regrets. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Take care.

      Comment by janelondon | February 2, 2013 | Reply

  3. I wish I could be more like a dog and have people come and go casually into and out of my life. But I’m human and it hurts when friends leave without comment, and I know I have disappeared from people’s lives in the same way. Dogs are so casual. They take each moment for what it is without looking forward or back. I want to be more like that. I want to be less grudging against those who have hurt me, and I want to be more forgiving of myself for the things I’ve done wrong. Thanks for sharing, Jane!

    Comment by Joy Opp | February 2, 2013 | Reply

  4. Awesome!!! We all need to practice this!!

    Comment by marge beem | February 3, 2013 | Reply

  5. Love this! And timely too as I was invited to a Super Bowl Party yesterday but when I called to confirm, no answer, no return call or text….third time my girlfriend (new boyfriend in her life) has ‘blown me off’ in 3 months now. Let’s not even mention that weekends are sacred now and I’m no part of them ever. And we’re in our late 40’s and late 50’s! Girls will always rate guys #1 priority, no matter how many years (26 mind you) you’ve been friends. I have to read this though, about 3 more times today to get over my anger and disappointment toward her. Thanks Jane! I needed to read this today.

    Comment by Tj Trolly | February 4, 2013 | Reply

  6. Thank you!

    Comment by Lori Hitchcock | February 4, 2013 | Reply

  7. Think of it this way, dogs lives are about 10 years, give or take, five. They know, probably, that it just doesn’t matter. Live each day as it is, today, then move on. I wish I could do that. I need to do that.

    Comment by Sharon Cary | August 9, 2013 | Reply

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