Show Your Delight – Good for the Dog; Good for You

Do you miss words that people rarely use anymore? I do.

And “delight” is the word at the top of my list. When was the last time you heard anyone describe something as delightful?

Honey the golden retriever finds the snow delightful.

Snow is delightful. Aren’t you going to join me?

Cynics Don’t Show Delight

Cynical people don’t find anything delightful. But dogs are not cynics. They delight in many things:

  • a tasty morsel hiding in the carpet
  • rotting fish by the side of a lake
  • that ball that suddenly appears after collecting dust under the couch
  • scratches in just the right spot
  • and, if that dog is Honey, a foot of snow to roll around in

When people see their dogs frolicking with their newly found ball or grinning while they receive a belly rub, they describe them as goofy, silly, or lovable. But I think they’re showing delight.

Honey the golden retriever is delighted by the snow.

Let me show you how delightful snow is. Just roll around in it until you’re covered in the stuff.

Children Express Delight

People, unlike dogs, outgrow delight. But young kids are almost as good at expressing it as dogs are.

Maybe the key to rediscovering delight is to go back to childhood.

Do you remember when snow meant time off from school and sledding? How excited you got when you mom made your favorite dinner? Getting silly Valentine’s cards from your classmates?

My husband expresses delight when we watch Mary Poppins. He actually gets giddy watching Dick Van Dyke dancing with animated penguins or when dozens of black-clad nannies blow away in the wind. Mary Poppins is, to my husband, delightful. It’s pretty irresistible to watch him being delighted by the movie. Every. Time. He. Watches. It.

You might even call it delightful.

When I was a child, I found little to delight in.

I grew up reading P.L. Traver’s Mary Poppins tales. Her nanny wasn’t cheerful and rosy-cheeked.

I was terribly disappointed when I visited Walt Disney World at ten years old. I couldn’t believe that Cinderella’s castle was just a cheap facade to house a gift shop. No delight there.

But I do remember small moments of delight, mostly time spent with my dog, Duchess, or reading in my room. Come to think of it, Honey and reading are the most delightful aspects of my current life.

Honey the golden retriever delights in sitting in the snow.

Snow is so delightful I think I’ll just sit here and enjoy it a little while.

Be Delighted With Your Dog

Maybe it’s not just the word “delight” we need to bring back. It’s the whole concept.

With winter dragging on for those of us in the snow belt (which now apparently includes the Carolinas), we could all use a little delight. Luckily, we all have delightful teachers.

Watch your dog (and your cat) for signs of delight. And see if you can recover a little of it yourself.

And if you can’t find yourself getting all excited by a spitty tennis ball or a pee stain in the snow, try to uncover delight by enjoying how delighted your dog is with those things. Like me watching Mike enjoy Mary Poppins, it may be delight one step removed. But it’s still delightful.

And it’s good for your dog and for you to be delighted.

Your Turn: Do you like the word delight? What do you and your dog find delightful?


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  1. Delight is a great idea. Noah and I delight in walks- we love to take those walks with no planned end time – we just go where we do and return when we do. I love it- it’s our way to start a weekend- and I know Noah loves it- he gets so excited-

    I think it’s important to find “delight” or something good in every day whether it’s something your dog did or a flower or seeing someone’s smile- whatever. There is just too much negativity these days-

    • Dogs certainly do channel delight every day. And you’re brilliant for creating a career that puts you frequently in the company of dogs.

  2. We may not say the word, but Sage and I do delight in many things–mainly being together. It could be a walk, a belly rub or a good game of ball. And, of course, Sage delights in being able to run and there’s no better place than our own 1000 acres, even though it’s a half hour drive to get there.

  3. We delight in long walks! It is a great word. I’m a huge fan of under-used words. Recently, out of nowhere, my 4-year-old nephew started describing things as “wondrous,” which also brings me great delight!

  4. I’m absolutely delighted that it is still light out when I leave work! This means after work walks coming soon, they are the delight of my day!

  5. We find lots of delight, but don’t use that word much. Being snow lovers, Mom and Bailie took delight in an hour walk in the snow storm on Saturday. They had a blast!

  6. What a delightful post! I think dogs (and cats sometimes) are great teachers. Watching my dogs’ delight in freshly fallen snow or my cat’s thrill at a brand new mousie toy bring me great joy. Delight, as you said, can be found in the tiny moments. And I think our pets are great reminders of that.

    –Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

  7. One of Silas’s great skills is finding baseballs that the local kids lose over the park fence. He’ll sniff one out, dive into the bushes, and then roll around with it in glee. His delight is pretty . . . delightful.

    • I can just imagine Silas discovering a new ball. And given the work you put into helping him be happy, it must be particularly delightful for you.

  8. Cue theme song for this post: Cole Porter’s “DeLovely”! “It’s DELIGHTFUL, it’s delicious, it’s delovely!” I love words that have sadly fallen out of fashion only to be replaced by faux excruciating ennui. The only people that were really good at affected boredom appeared in the Georgette Heyer novels or as the Russian Prince in Die Fledermaus – who finally laughed, as you may recall….Yes – delight is a word that bears repeating and looking for places all around us every day for that to which it can be enthusiastically applied!

    • Yes, Cole Porter! That should be the soundtrack for this post.

      You won my heart today, Miss Jan. First for Cole Porter, second for the wonderful phrase “faux excruciating ennui,” and finally for tossing out the Strauss operetta. ^ :) ^

  9. Now I’m feeling obsolete. I use delight and delightful a lot, but I refuse to use the now overused “awesome.”

    • I’m afraid I occasionally succumb to the overused awesome. But every time I do, I remember what awe is actually supposed to mean and I blush with shame.

      I’m so glad you’re keeping delight alive. 😉

  10. It is delightful to see Honey having so much fin in the snow. I guess there is a good thing about having all of this snow.

  11. Your husband has good taste I’m movies. I wish mine enjoyed Mary Poppins half as much. But we do find our own delight together. I delight in watching Shiva play with a food dispensing toy. I delight in connecting with people who share my values, and I delight in challenging my preconceptions. I hope you were able to find new delights today.

  12. I love the word delight, and all that it entails. Getting out in the snow for a walk or a hike is pure delight for the dogs, and I never fail to be immersed in it with them. I also like working with young children during winters like this, when the snow creates magic and fun. We’ve been doing science experiments with things in the cold and bringing buckets of snow in to the water table for fun. Don’t get me wrong, I will be even more delighted when spring gets here, but I try to find things to love about every season. Right now, I’m a little less in love with the snow than I’ve previously been, though….

    • It’s nice to hear that the snow is delightful for the kids in your class. Sounds like you’re making the best of it.

      As I look out the window and see the snow falling, I’m delighted. When I’m dragging my class materials to work over the sidewalks 75% of my neighbors didn’t shovel in a few hours I’ll probably feel a little less delighted. :)

  13. Thank you, I needed that this morning. In a bit of a down place. But I am picking up BD tonight and I will delight in being with him, and forget about the crap that means I can only be with him occasionally!!

    • One of the great things about delight is that it crops up unexpectedly, even in dark places. I hope BD gives you many chances to delight in his company tonight.

  14. Watching my dogs be delightful over the smallest things is one of the things about them that make me so happy. I mean, seriously, if Maya can get so super excited about an empty paper towel roll, then surely I can find joy in some of the little things I do too. :)

  15. I’m just delighted to see how my dog can have so much fun with a tennis ball. I wish I could have the same ease when I’m really stressed!

  16. We are headed out to play in the snow right now. I may not be as delighted about all the snow as the dogs are, but I will certainly be delighted watching all the fun they’re going to have. :)

  17. I missed this one earlier, but I love it! I’m a big fan of the word delight (and delightful) and use it a lot. :)


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