The Puppiness Project – Show Some Enthusiasm

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.

Honey Does Her Happy Dance

Golden Retriever close up

You want to see some enthusiasm? Just let me off this leash for a second. I’ll enthuse over everyone on the entire boat.

It’s hard not to feel loved by a Golden Retriever.

Any stranger who comes to the door—and not just the ones delivering food—witnesses the Golden Retriever Happy Dance.

It’s just a jump to the left  Oops, wrong dance.

It starts with two front paws dancing in place. That leads to a half turn which puts Honey in full body contact with her victim dance partner while her tail whips furiously. At times, the tail creates lift and all four paws appear to levitate.

Honey knows she must keep “four on the floor” during a greeting. But sometimes her sense of mischief and sheer joy get the better of her.

No one ever suffered from feeling “too loved.” But Honey gives it her best shot.

I’m Doing a Happy Dance Inside, Where It Counts

My husband recently said of a friend who was moving out of the area, “He’s always so enthusiastic. I really feel like he’s happy to see me.”

Unfortunately, my husband has surrounded himself with people who run emotionally cool—his wife included.

Golden Retriever getting treats in Doggy Ride bike trailer.

What do you mean he’s your favorite? He’s hardly furry at all!

It’s not that we don’t have our enthusiasms. But our reactions run cool, not hot. We’re more like the lazy old dog on the porch who flaps his tail once against the wooden floor than the dancing dog with golden hair flying everywhere.

In the case of we humans, I wonder if not showing our excitement is a way of holding back. Or a fear that our exuberance won’t be returned or appreciated. Giving with your whole heart is risky.

Put On Your Tap Shoes

I do have my enthusiasms. Probably my biggest one—even greater than my love of puppies—is my husband, Mike.

I don’t have to force myself to think of all the ways he’s special. It comes to me many times throughout the day.

As I sit here typing on my lovely front porch, I think of how hard he worked to give me wireless internet anywhere in the house, despite not having a tech background. Mike is always doing thoughtful things for me, like setting up the Doggy Ride cart this morning so I could bring heavy things home from the office. And, in nearly 30 years of knowing him, I have never seen him eying another woman.

He makes me feel like I’m the center of his world. And that’s a lovely place to be.

If anyone deserve a Happy Dance, it’s my husband.

A friend recently got the call at work that no one ever wants to get. Her husband had been killed instantly in a household accident. I know she feels the loss every day of not being able to tell him one more time how much she loves him.

I don’t ever want to regret not showing more Golden love. And if Honey can show her enthusiasm for a stranger who just might give her petties, I can do an occasional Happy Dance for my best friend.

Who or what causes you to do a Happy Dance? And do you do it on the inside? Or do you let it all come out?


Welcome to Monday Mischief – The pet blog hop that wraps up the weekend! This Blog Hop is brought to you by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies and Luna, A Dog’s Life and you can read more about how to link up here.

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  1. Oh, I definitely dance on the inside! It’s a learned response. I feel that my parents and even my sister don’t really know the true me. That’s largely in part because they don’t want to, but it has taught me to play things very close to the vest. It just becomes not worth the risk after awhile . I know with others I can be more who I am, but it’s hard to overcome that sometimes. I’m still surprised when people seem to really want to know me.

  2. LOL! Pamela you remind me so much of myself. :) My hubby is also a big enthusiastic person and is always doing happy dances and singing off key. It’s one of the reason I love him so much because he’s the only one who can really make me smile and laugh. You cracked me up with your “cool enthusiasm” statement. We are so much alike in that way. I’ve learned way too many times never to show happiness, (besides the fact my life was miserable before I got married) and it has carried over. It is so tough for me to show any amount of exuberance and I’m a tough egg to crack and so far Mark is the only one who really knows how to break that shell. I forget way too many times to laugh, smile and have fun. Between the dogs and Mark I learn every day how to do that. Mike sounds like my Mark, he’ll do anything for me, especially if it makes me smile. :)

  3. I’m pretty much like my Poodles, which is probably why I am so attracted to the breed, friendly and enthusiastic on the outside and reserved on the inside until we get to know the person. My dogs are “Golden Retrievers” on the outside and the inside.

  4. Oh my gosh, Pamela, I am so sorry for your friend’s loss, and for yours as well. I was wondering what inspired the somewhat sentimental post today. Unfortunately, I think we’re all guilty of not expressing our appreciation for each other every now and then.

    What a wonderful gift you’ve given your husband though – not just a public declaration of his awesomeness but one that he can return to time and again just in case you forget to get your Happy Dance on often enough. 😉

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your friend, unexpected passings can tend to leave a lot of guilt.

    I like to think I’m a dancing on the outside kind of girl, most times when I am happy and excited I cannot hold it in, I just have to share. :-) I could be slightly reserved around people I don’t know though.

    Sampson is a Golden Retriever, he dances the exact same way Honey does! Delilah is a lab.

  6. I do the happy dance on the outside if the time is right, as in the right people and not those who would think I’m seriously weird. And those who already know I’m seriously weird…the dance is on.

  7. I am so sorry to hear about your friend’s husband. How completely devastating. Not that it’s any easier really if you have some warning, but I can’t imagine trying to deal with the suddenness of such an accident. My heart breaks for her and for all those he left behind.

    I do tend to be more reserved. Both my husband and I are not the most outwardly expressive people. But our relationship has weathered a lot and I know I am so lucky to have a husband who is also my best friend. That is definitely worth a happy dance!

  8. I’m so sorry about your friend’s husband – that’s heartbreaking.
    I tend to be pretty expressive and enthusiastic and happy dances are not uncommon around here. Of course, my husband is at the top of the list. My family, friends, the dogs – I get pretty excited to see them all!

  9. Mike Webster says:

    I am not worthy.

  10. Susan Cain’s book “Quiet…” about introverts in an extrovert world, is on my mind and was reinforced by this post. I’m extroverted in some things: I loved public speaking, singing at weddings, going to movies…but when our family traveled, I didn’t ooh and ahh but kept the loveliness in my heart and always had a book. I was very introverted in school – I am more “cool” than “warm,” except about 5 in the morning at work – then I cut loose with some dancing (and it’s not pretty!).
    What a lovely post – learning from our dogs is important; Beagles and Collies (my two favs) are both gregarious, out-going, friendly dogs – they help pull me out of my shell. Sharing the strength and love you receive from your best friend is awesome…I’m still looking!

  11. What a sad inspiration for your post though. I’d be very lost without my hubby (also named Mike), who is also my best friend, and it’s my worst fear to go through what your friend is facing. Sending her pawsitive thoughts – wherever she is out there.
    I also tend to be pretty “cool”, as is my hubby. There are things that really get me amped up (and then people usually say, “wow, I’ve never seen you this excited before”) but generally my hubby and I are both just very calm folks. Hopefully our calmness rubs off (soon) on our new pup, who is very overprotective of us/the house!
    BTW, love your hubby’s posted comment. :)

  12. My husband definitely causes me to do the happy dance, but most of the time it is done inside because I can never let him know how happy he has made me because then he might think he is all done:)

    I loved this post:)

  13. Wow Pam, you certainly hit all of the emotions with this post!

    I wish I could express my happiness like my Golden – though that would require me to whack myself in the face with my tail!

  14. How sweet. That is how I feel about my Fiance. I hope we have as many happy years to come. I have suffered a lot of loss in my life so I learned early on to tell people how you feel about them TODAY because it might be your last chance. I can say from experience though, you can’t kick yourself. No matter how much you thought you told that person everything you wanted them to know, there will ALWAYS be more you wish you had said after they are gone. I am very sorry for your friend.

  15. I’m so sorry about your friend’s (and your) loss. What a tragic thing to happen!

    Blogville seems to be fairly populated with introverted females, many of whom have extroverted husbands. I’m certainly one of them! Thanks for sharing and for making (I’m sure) many of us feel like we’re not alone in not always doing the Golden Dance.

  16. I’m saddened to hear of your friend’s loss. Life is too short. This post serves as a reminder for me not to take any life for granted. How lucky you are to be the center of the universe for your husband and to realize how special it is!

  17. Hi Pamela,

    Thanks for reminding us to show our loved ones our happy dance. I do need to do this more with my close friends and family. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. It goes to show you that you never can tell someone too much how much you love and appreciate them.

    By the way, Apache is a Golden and doesn’t do the happy dance. He either calmly waits for people to approach and pet him or he does the insanity dance where he jumps all around and forgets all about his guide dog training….still a work in progress.

    Have a great week!

  18. What a beautiful post Pamela. I hope Mike felt your happy dance and tail thump as he read it.

    I am generally a happy person who alternates between a happy dance and a tail thump. I think I like Honey’s idea of a greeting more. I may have to start tapping my foot a little more often. :)

  19. I can just imagine Honey doing the greeting dance.