Earth Day is a time for us to appreciate the earth’s gifts and take action to reverse the damage we’ve done to her. Would we take better care of our planet if we acted more like our dogs?
Care for the Earth; Act Like a Dog
Maybe we’ll appreciate Earth more if we experience it the way our dogs do, everyday.
1. Go Barefoot.
The earth feels cold, squishy, hot, dusty, or grassy depending on where or when we are. But we wouldn’t know it because we’re often wearing shoes.
I wonder how differently we’d think about the ground if we went barefoot the way our dogs do.
2. Eat Food on the Run.
What does grass taste like? How about squirrel road kill?
Okay, I’ll pass on the squished squirrel. But there are so many tasty things to eat on the run—gnawing on a birch branch, a rose hip clinging to a bush at the end of the season, tangy dandelion leaves making their first spring appearance.
Do you think eating on the trail is more earth friendly than grabbing a Twinkie? Or a hand full of extruded kibble?
3. Sniff the Air.
When it’s sunny and breezy, Honey sits on the porch rapidly sniffing the air. When it’s damp and foggy, she puts her nose to the ground. What do you smell, Honey?
While my sense of smell isn’t as good as Honey’s, I know there are interesting scents I’m missing because I’m not paying attention.
I wonder if we’d care more for our planet if we paid attention to what it smells like.
4. Feel the Wind In Your Fur.
I hate being cold. I’m still wearing mittens and it’s April.
But Honey goes outside in glorious nakedness.
Maybe I need to expose a little bare skin to the elements. After all, a light breeze or a little rain won’t kill me. I can always dry off later.
5. Poop in the Woods.
I used to think roughing it was staying in a Holiday Inn. Then I discovered camping. I love sleeping and eating outdoors.
But when nature calls, I find myself more like a dog than at any other time.
While dogs go when they need to go, I have to think about the location of water sources and leaving no trace.
So while Earth Day celebrations urge recycling, I’m reminded more of my impact on the earth by pooping like a dog.
Get Out In the World
We Americans work very hard to limit our exposure to nature. We heat and cool our homes. We bathe indoors. We eat food processed in a factory somewhere.
While I’d never argue that dogs were better off roaming the streets on their own and rarely visiting a vet, we’re also working to disconnect them from nature as much as we are.
Luckily, most dogs are always ready to take us back to nature. It may be on the end of a leash, but your dog is happy to teach you what he knows about the world.
Let’s celebrate Earth Day, Honey. Let’s go for a walk.
Will you and your dog join us?
Your Turn: Do the animals in your life help to reconnect you to nature? How?