Doing vs Being – Good for the Dog; Good for You

Sally is a basset hound foster puppy.

I’m a puppy on the go. Just call me the Black Scallion.

Puppy “To Do” List

When there’s a puppy in the house, I get nothing done.

Well, that’s not quite true.

  • I vacuum to promote socialization. But it’s hard to clean a whole room when you’re throwing treats around the whole time.
  • I did have a conference call the other day. But I had to leave in the middle to take Sally outside for a pee break.
  • I was able to plant some perennials in my garden when Honey and Sally were exhausted from their morning’s play. But it came at the expense of writing Saturday’s blog post.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t feel worthless about getting so little done.

If I’m not working or thinking about working I might as well not exist.

But I don’t feel that way about others in my life.

I never look over at Honey and ask myself, “Why isn’t she pulling a cart or guiding some blind person. She’s useless.”

And I’m happy just having my husband sitting beside me watching a movie, even if I’m working at the same time.

So why can’t I give myself the same break?

See the Dog; Be the Dog

Dogs are equally good at being and doing.

Honey is a champion at lying in the sun, snoozing on the bed, and watching out the window from the couch.

She never asks herself whether she’d be a better dog if she was “doing” something. Honey is fine just “being” the sweet girl she is.

And maybe that’s what I should be doing. Learning how to “be.”

After all, if it’s good for Honey, it might be good for me.


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  1. Max's Ma says:

    I finally learned that lesson and life has been 1 million percent better since 😉 baby steps 😉 good for you!!

  2. I struggle with this too. I am so ‘on the go’ at work, that when I get home, it takes me a long time for the adrenaline to settle. I’m getting better at ‘being’, and doing yoga every day has helped me enormously. Charlie is not very good at being, he gets restless and wants to play or eat. But Hannah, my golden retriever, is a master at ‘being’. Maybe it’s a goldie thing :)

  3. Ah, such sage advice from Honey…and most of the other dogs out there in dog world. The are good teachers, if only we would pay attention in class!

  4. We are dog-sitting, and so I spent most of gbe weekend just relaxing with all the dogs. They live in the moment and appreciate each day, I often think they have a lot to teach us…

  5. Now those are wise words to live by. The only catch is, dogs don’t have to worry about making an income. But, some time to “just be” is always good.

  6. Sue at The Golden Life says:

    Like Max’ s Ma, I used to be the same way. With me, it was upbringing. My parents grew up during the Great Depression so they worked their tails off seven days a week in one way or another. And, they brought my brother and me up the same way. But, once they had both passed on, my brother and I started relaxing. And life has been so much better for both of us since we learned how to chill out. So, my friend, learn from Honey. When you sit down to watch a movie with your husband, put the work aside and enjoy the movie. I like to play solitaire on my Kindle while we watch TV. It’s how I relax. Sam’s on a computer at work most of the day so he can’t understand how it relaxes me. When I was still at the old job, I was on the computer all day, too; but now it’s by choice, not necessity.
    Relax, but don’t try to do it “cold turkey” — do it a little at a time. Try yoga, or tai chi.

  7. A bit of chillaxing is good for you. Have a marvellous Monday and we hope puppy is behaving.
    Best wishes Molly

  8. SUCH an important lesson… and such a struggle. But you’re absolutely right: Dogs are the perfect example of finding the balance between doing and being.

  9. I don’t think we can ever achieve the doggie view of life as long as food, shelter and clothing are necessities, they all cost money, and we are not independently wealthy. I don’t mind supporting my dogs in the indolence as long as they think of me as a goddess. :)

  10. I tend to agree with Sue – I think we are raised to believe that we must always be doing something productive. Idle hands are the devil’s plaything! No one stands over a dog and tells them they must being doing something constantly. Yes, we do have to earn a living, but that doesn’t mean we constantly have to be in motion. Yesterday, I got the best Mother’s Day present I could I ask for – a day of nothing. It won’t happen again for a while, but I sure enjoyed it while it lasted!

  11. We doggies are pretty smart!

  12. That is a tough one, and I feel that compulsion and nagging sensation sometimes, but it pretty much dissolves when I immerse–fully immerse–my nose in a paw or an ear, and breathe deep. Are you doing enough of that? Really spending time with them just feels intrinsically rewarding and worthwhile, though it definitely detracts from my productivity in other areas!

  13. I give you credit for working with a puppy. You need energy and stamina. It is one of the reasons adopting or fostering an older dog works for many people.

  14. I struggle with this, too, especially right now while I’m trying to get ready for BlogPaws, keep up with my 365 Project and keep up with other blogs. I need a clone!

  15. Oh, yes, sometimes it’s best to “just be.” Dogs know!

  16. You and my husband have a lot in common in that way. His day is worthless or fantastic depending on how much he’s gotten done in a day. It can be frustrating, but I understand his need to accomplish things, so for the most part I take in stride.

    Maybe it’s just a matter of accepting who you are and quit trying so hard to change it?

  17. I’m the same way as you. If I’m not busy, I’m thinking about what I could be doing so that I can get busy. But I like being busy so it is my way of just “being”. I do have to admire Maya & Pierson for the talented use of their time – sleeping, eating, playing, and more sleeping. :)

  18. Well, I guess I’d just like to “be” a dog, because it might be much easier to just “be” then! I can’t give myself a break, and constantly struggle with trying to do too much. And feeling guilty about the things I’m not getting done. But I do try to relax at the end of the day and watch some TV with my hubby, and the dogs all sleeping in the room with us. I leave my computer and tablet upstairs, and most of the time my cell phone too. It’s not easy to do it though!

  19. It’s very hard to get much else done when there’s a puppy in the house, but the time you spend with the puppy is very important.

  20. I always struggled with mindfulness and being in the moment. Then I got Athena and everything changed. She has shown me that a hard day’s work deserves a good rest. She has taught me that giving 100% focus to what we are doing right now is the only way to be. Dogs are gurus like that.