The Puppiness Project – Find Your Passion

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.

For years, I’ve loved hanging around people with passionate interests.

It’s exciting to watch someone throw himself into something with his whole heart. Whether a baseball fan, a motorhead, a dungeons and dragons role player–it’s all good to me.

Many years ago, I made two friends who took passion to a new level because they taught themselves things outside mainstream interests.

J was an avid genealogist seeking his family’s roots. His innate interest in history expanded and grew. J helped others learn their family’s history. And then he expanded even more and wrote a book (and a pictorial CD-ROM) on American synagogue architecture.

It appeared that J’s passion for learning and finding recognition for the wonderful stories hidden to most of us took over and he couldn’t help but follow it. I found it energizing to listen to him talk about his interests and wondered if I’d ever feel so passionate about something.

Celtic Knot in Limestone by Robert Spencer on FlickrAt the same time, I became friends with K who was exploring her interest in Celtic culture. K took talents she already had (music and art) and used them to learn about Ireland.

K took up the Celtic harp and became good enough to play professionally. She used her drawing skills to illustrate a classic Celtic story. Eventually, she up and moved to Ireland.

Ireland didn’t call to me the way it did to K. But I found it impossible not to be swept into her joy.

Ok, this is a dog blog and neither J or K are puppies (although they both like animals).

Here’s Honey’s passion–playing tug. Yes, I know she’s a retriever and that she’s supposed to want to chase a ball until she passes out from exhaustion. And don’t even start me on a Golden Retriever who prefers not to swim.

But tug? Honey could play for hours. She’s found her passion. That and meeting new people are the great joys of her life.

For years, I’ve wondered if I would ever find a passion of my own. You see, I’m a dabbler. I like a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I’ll pursue something seriously for a while and then I’ll move onto something else. I know a little about everything and a lot about nothing. I’m a great person to have on your trivia team but a horrible person to coach you through your dissertation.

Recently I woke up.

  • I’ve published 206 posts on Something Wagging This Way Comes.
  • I have a bookshelf full of dog books.
  • I follow more than 70 dog blogs on a regular basis.
  • I haven’t been without a dog in my life for more than a few months in more than 20 years.
  • Every time I pass a dog on the street, I say “Puppy!”. Yep, every time.
  • I’ve chosen my work to fit my desire to spend time with my dog in the middle of the day.
  • My vacation plans revolve around finding dog-friendly activities.

Could it be? Have I had a passion all along and just never realized it?

Golden Retriever playing tug

Looking for a passion? I recommend "Tug." It's the best.

[Image of Celtic Knot in Limestone by Robert Spencer.]

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  1. Mike Webster says:

    Yes, I think you’ve found it. Your love of dogs has been deep and abiding.

    Now we need to increase your love of dog hair. :)

  2. I must admit to being a dabbler too. It was very useful in my career [when I had one] as I had to know about lots of things, but not necessarily deeply about anything. I have had one big passion for the last 7 years – longer than I ever thought possible. And it isn’t dogs! It’s capoeira xxx :)

  3. Kristin Gleeson says:

    What a lovely musing. I do miss those and am so glad now to find you writing them. I was telling a friend about Spiral House and your journal prompts and she asked to see them. Loved them. You might regard yourself as a dabbler (as do I) but I regarded you as having various passions. Dogs are definitely one of them. K

  4. I think your passion is pretty clear. (And just so you know, I also do the “Puppy!” thing whenever I see a dog… you’re not alone!)

  5. It’s great when we can find a way to combine our passion with our daily activities/work. Oh, tugging…my dog is small but mighty. She can tug really hard! I almost never win!

  6. Maybe it’s a character flaw, but all my life as soon as I mastered something I’ve been off like a butterfly looking for a new flower. Somehow I’ve never tired of dogs. They are too complex and lovable to master.

    Yes, we have a passion, Pamela.

  7. I have always been so jealous of friends who knew exactly what they loved and just went out and did it. I have never really known what my big interests are. I have never really had serious hobbies that I have stuck with for any length of time. Until I started learning how to train my dog, I didn’t think I would ever find any sort of “passion” for something outside of reading books. But there you have it. :-) I am so excited for you!

  8. The best part about a passion for dogs is that the passion is returned BY the dogs! Love them, they love you right back!

  9. Yep! I’d definitely say that you have a passion there! I have a tendency to realize my passions a little later, too, although I do usually catch on. I dabble in some things, too, but that’s how you find new passions. I have recently reconnected with a couple of my passions and I am trying to work out how to include them more in my life. If I could work out a way to be with my dogs all day, I would definitely jump on the opportunity!

  10. I think I’m a lot like you, just dabbing in this and that, but if I had to evaluate my passion, it’s gotta be with the animals, from as far back as I can remember. And what a great passion it is, don’t you think?

  11. I’m finding it tough to keep up with everyone’s great comments and blogs just now.

    Thank you for all your kind comments and know I’m visiting your sites even if I don’t always get a comment in.

  12. Hi there, new follower who just had to comment on this post as I’m the same. I’m 56 years old and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! But for all of those 56 years I’ve rarely been without a dog or dogs. I was telling a woman at work today how I envy people with a passion as I feel I’m just drifting through life, but as long as I’ve got my kids with me it isn’t such a bad drift:) And I don’t know how many blogs I follow but I sure have trouble keeping up, and I keep finding new ones, lol!

  13. I’m such a dabbler too, so I totally understand where you’re coming from! I think you’ve found your passion though… I’ve been wondering this about myself lately too. :)

  14. Sometimes it’s the things right in front of us that are the hardest to see. :-)