Despite all the cold weather, all the snow and all the ice, I’ve been enjoying my winter days here in Maine. What does a great day look like to a rescue dog?  Well, it’s not that much different for me than it is for my human. On the weekends, we sleep in until 7 a.m. and delight in the warmth under the covers and next to the radiators. We get up and have a lazy breakfast. I eat my usual dog kibble and gravy while my human sips her coffee. Then it's a short drive to the dog park, where I say hello to all and do lots of sniffing. We dogs love to sniff, and that’s the way we learn all about our friends! I tell my human to try sniffing too, but she refuses.

So anyway, we are having a great time outside and then suddenly, I sense this heavy energy coming from my human. And because I can read her feelings well, I know that she’s thinking “ahead.” Thinking ahead to a future time (say, in 10 years) when I will no longer be here. I don’t like knowing that, but I accept it, since I can’t live forever. And then she poses her difficult human-type question.

“Benny, how do we hold onto the sweetness and the beauty of now and keep worry and sadness at bay? I worry because I know that someday when you’re gone, that I will look back on our time together, miss you terribly, and long for the carefree days of us playing outside.”

I don't like questions like this, and yet I think that most humans ask them. When you’re happy, you want to hold on with white-knuckled fists. And then when you’re sad – you want the time to pass quickly. But you can’t hold on, nor can you rush things. No one can, because no one owns anything forever on this planet and especially not “time.” We can only pass through these fleeting moments with our head held high, our eyes wide open, and be grateful that we have had any of it at all.

You humans are so silly when you talk of “bucket lists” and the crazy things that you want to do before you die. That makes no sense to me! Truly living is having a bucket list for now. A list that says, “take total and complete pleasure in the moment, in the joy of a sunny day, the joy of a dog’s cold nose pressed into your hand, and the joy of that piece of apple in your mouth.”  To me, that is what everyone should do before they die: try to appreciate the glorious moments of experience – none of which has anything to do with jumping out of an airplane. Life brings us both good and bad things – but truly living is embracing all of it.

I tell my human that if she wants to hold onto the sweetness, that she needs to draw out every ounce of pleasure from this moment and push worry and regret aside. Anyway, that is what we dogs do and it works for us! We make the most of every moment in the moment so that our short lives are as sweet as they can be. I hope this helps. With love and tail wags, Benny H.