A new puppy started sprinting through our house this week, introducing both chaos and joy into our home.
As we’ve learned to adjust to the quirks and nuances of Mack, a golden retriever/miniature poodle mix, it’s helped me remember five valuable life lessons.
1. Everyone wants to help when it’s new.
There’s no shortage of people wanting to feed, hold, cuddle with and take Mack outside. That’s because he’s been here less than a week.
So often in life, everyone’s excited when it’s brand new.
The real test is how responsible everyone wants to be in a month or a year. That’s when you realize who’s really making time and effort.
2. Enthusiasm is contagious.
When I think of a puppy, the first thing I think about is boundless energy.
Mack has that in spades. Even when he’s about to fade off to sleep, he’ll jump up and run a few laps around the room.
While that’s a tad counter to my laid-back lifestyle, it’s good, too. He makes me want to jump up and do something with him.
We all need that spark-plug in our lives to keep things from getting too stale.
3. It’s good to play.
All this dog wants to do is play. It’s his reason to exist.
Whether it’s pulling on a chew-toy or just chasing behind you when you walk from one room to the next, he’s all in for playing.
He’s happy to play even for a few seconds, too. Sometimes I’ll just pick up a toy and toss it so he can chase it and bring it back to me. It costs perhaps 15 seconds of my day, and we’re both happier for it.
Too often we think we’re too busy to play. Whether it’s a quick game of solitaire or sharing a joke, it’s completely possible to have a little fun in your life and still get things done.
4. Accidents happen when you can least afford them.
We’re potty-training this puppy. Accidents will happen, and they doo-doo, usually when you least have time for them.
The trick is to not waste too much time getting upset when things go wrong. You just need to do whatever it takes to clean up that mess and move on to the next thing.
The more time you spend moping about the universe being against you, the more time you’ve wasted. Trust me, the universe didn’t make that doggy mess, last night’s supper did.
5. Start with a blank slate.
This puppy came into our home with no knowledge of who to love or trust. Right off the bat, he decided to love and trust everyone, with no preconceptions or prejudices.
That’s not a bad place to start with new people in our lives. Everyone deserves a first chance. It’s good to give people the benefit of the doubt — until they prove they don’t deserve it.
It’s funny how much dealing with a new puppy reminds you of how you should deal with the humans in your life, too.
David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest.