Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.
I’m a traditionalist living with two free spirits. I find routine comforting. I eat a vegetable with every meal (even back when I simply added mushrooms and peppers to a cheesesteak). I like to be at work a bit early every day. I wake up the same time whether it’s the weekend or a weekday. I always bring a hostess gift to a party.
A pop psychologist would tell me I’m trying to make up for times of instability in my childhood. She might even say I’m a bit rigid. My husband would probably agree.
My lack of spontaneity can get in the way of my being a good wife. I can’t relate to my husband’s need to respond to an ever changeable schedule that comes from deep inside him instead of the rules and order I like to follow. I resent him for not slogging away at things day after day–just to have him put me to shame when he finally does a task with more energy and creativity than I could ever bring in my daily routine.
I try to predict what my husband’s going to do next so I can work my routines around it. But he’s thoroughly unpredictable. You’d think after nearly 22 years of marriage I’d know that by now. But sometimes I’m a slow learner.
Time to look to Honey for answers. Most dog trainers tell you dogs thrive on routine. They need consistency in their daily lives.
That’s true, to a point. But I think many people misunderstand what a dog’s routines are. Sometimes Honey goes to work with one of us. Sometimes she stays home. Sometimes she’s fed from a Tug-a-Jug. Sometimes it’s a Kong Wobbler. Sometimes she travels with us. Sometimes we have a sitter come in to stay with her.
Honey’s routines are that she’s always going to have nutritious food fed to her in a fun way. If we go away, we always come home to her. That’s it.
Whether we go to the store, or kayaking, or camping Honey’s content in her routine because she’s with us.
I need to learn how to recognize the most important routines in my life–that I have a husband who loves me even if I’m not perfect, that my dog is love in a fur coat, and that none of the other routines are nearly as important.
And now for something completely different…
Adapting is a great theme for today. As I promised in my post Too Awful? Or Awful Cute?, I would start to like whatever was voted by my readers as the cutest of some puppy options that scare me. The readers have spoken. Dog pictures taken with a wide angle lens won with 57% of the vote. As of last night, they are officially on my Awful Cute list.
Fortunately, the example I found on Flickr and some linked to by Aleksandra in the comments were already starting to win me over so it’s a painless transition. Thank you everyone who voted and commented.