The Puppiness Project – Enjoy Your Own Backyard

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.
 Golden Retriever in a Life Jacket

If I get into the kayak, no one will be able to see how pretty I look in my red life jacket. Maybe I should ride on top.

Honey loves going new places and sniffing new things. But let’s face it, she’s never once told me she was bored with her walk. Or decided she’d rather stay inside. Every walk is a new adventure–squirrels to chase, cats to investigate, and lots of p-mail to check.

Sometimes I get wanderlust. It appears that some other place is cooler or more interesting. I forget how to see my home with new eyes the way Honey smells it with a fresh nose.

And Honey isn’t the only one to teach me this lesson. One of the wonderful blogs I read expresses a lot of appreciation for local history and beauty. Tales and Tails not only shares the lives of Bunny, Blueberry, and Lilac the greyhounds along with the German Shepherd, Morgan, but it also has great photos and historical notes about the interesting places they visit. Tales and Tails is a great reminder that the best places in the world are those you share with the ones you love.

I must remember to appreciate my own backyard as much as Honey has. Notice the wonderful sights, sounds, and smells all around me. And stop taking them for granted.

I think it’s time for me to open a bottle from a local vintner, celebrate my town’s role in silent film history, and keep working on my sailing skills.

How could I be happier anywhere else? Honey couldn’t.


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  1. What a great lesson! Every weekend that passes with poor weather I have been lamenting the fact that I haven’t left the city, unless you count agility workshops, since last fall. It seems so unfair that so many people are going on these great trips and the furthest I’ve been is the other side of the harbour. But perhaps instead of whining, I should start appreciating what I have. I do love this city and there is so much to offer.

  2. Thanks for the mention! You know, when I started the blog, it seemed like so many people had such cool and interesting stuff where they lived, I was envious. I credit the dogs with me getting out there and appreciating the beauty of the area where we live in a new and exciting way. I love history (and I was that annoying nerd girl who always ruined the grading curve in history class) and so learning about local history and new things always fascinates me. I would be all over that film festival if it were happening here near me! I’ve learned that sometimes if I just look, there really is interesting and exciting stuff near us. I think blogging has opened me up to some of that, too. I hope that when people read our blog that they either want a Greyhound of their own, want to get out and do something with their own dogs, or look for the interesting things about their own area that they can share.

  3. Since Sage came to live with us, I have learned more about where I live than ever before. I’ve lived in many parts of the country and some places are better than others. Some I could care less if I ever went back! But in each place, I dove in, so to speak, and found things to make me happy. So, yes, it’s true–enjoy what’s around you and make the best of what you see and do.

  4. Concise, beautiful and true. Thanks for the reminder, Pamela, I sometimes forget that, too. Sending for a wine bottle right now 😉

  5. Agree with you about Tails and Tales. I love her blog.

    I can also appreciate your desire for the new and different. I often want my dogs to have that opportunity too. I took Daisy and Jasper to a new dog park this weekend to meet up with some clients and Daisy had a ball! She was initiating play (something she rarely does) and running through the woods and smiling. Jasper was busy chasing tennis balls (his favorite activity!).

    I think appreciating the backyard and the neighborhood is good, but I think dogs don’t care if it’s new to us or new to them. They just like new. New smells. New sights. New sounds. Hope you enjoyed the wine!

  6. Great post! A good reminder to look out our own backdoors and really see what is there…and appreciate it. Life is too short to wish for something different when you most likely have greatness right in front of you. : )

  7. Another fantastic lesson… sometimes it’s so easy to overlook what’s right there!

  8. didn’t know you lived in a famous town :0 i love old movie posters and should really spend a bit more time actually looking at the movies. we have TCM, so why am i always watching masterchef and survivor? stooopid!

    your sailing adventure looks on course. how’s Honey’s boating skills coming along?

    i like taking pics of silly things on our neighbourhood dogwalks. sometimes, i think those little things tell a better story of the people who live here than any tourist brochure with slick pics could.

  9. I need help! I live in one of those places where you can’t think of anywhere close to show visitors from overseas. New Zealand is too young to be really historical and I don’t know of anything historical that happened in our area. We only have one outstanding natural landmark. No wonderful garden parks, waterfronts, lakes, markets. Makes me wonder why I live here, lol. Or perhaps I just need someone from outside to visit and show me my little town through new eyes? It is a lovely place to live:) And I’m not tired of living here either. So I guess that says a lot?