Spring has finally arrived, complete with rain, wind, sun, volatile temperatures, budding leaves, chirping birds, intoxicating smells, warming temperatures, mud and a different slant of the sun. And here at A Better Pet, rollicking growing puppies taking in the scents, sounds, sights and surfaces of life as they expand outward in search of adventures. Winter was spent planning their creation, nurturing their mother Franny through a healthy pregnancy, and helping her guide them out and into the world. Through the cold, snow and decreasing darkness of the last 2 months of winter into the start of spring, I savored watching them grow and discover the world through naive eyes. Now the young super puppies are beginning to head out into the world, off to their next adventures.
Their last evening as a pack, on the day they turned 8 weeks old, I was prone on my mat during my daily home yoga practice in my upstairs studio space. As I lay there, trying to stay in the moment and focus on breath and movement, the puppies, downstairs and contained in their pen after a rollicking day of freedom outside, revolted. Maybe it was restricting their freedom to romp in wide open warm spaces, maybe it was just a moment of great energy. There I lay, feeling a bit bittersweet pang, knowing they would start leaving the next day. Although caring solo for a pack of 6 active, athletic, vibrant, and confident puppies is endless work, I was going to miss the pattern of feeding, cleaning up after them (well, maybe not this so much), playing, cuddling, and exposing them to a variety of challenges.
And I found myself listening to their revolt — loud barking and yelping, bouncing off the walls and floors, and this got me thinking. Two of these puppies would be leaving the nest very soon. Their carrying on and crying and yelping was not because they had bittersweet thoughts. Dogs, to their everlasting credit, live in the moment. Their sounds were play and fun and maybe some bickering. On the other hand, despite my efforts to stay focused, my head was pinging from thoughts about the future as well as thoughts of how much had happened in the past months since their birth on January 26. Fewer pups would give me more time to organize my business, prepare my yard for upcoming DIPs, rearrange my home back to something resembling “normal”, not puppy central, and finally find some time to recharge in a different direction.
My contemplation about a renewed sense of energy or my spinning thoughts is beyond the scope of what these small canines can imagine. They see only what is right in front of them. The now is all they have. The lesson at the heart of any meditative practice or any yogic experience. The goal we all aspire to is seeking is to live in what is happening right now. We strive to be appreciative of our current situation and give in to it completely. These ‘alive in the moment’ pups can inspire us to take action, resist making excuses, embrace life with an open heart, and cherish the now. This is at the heart of it all why I am so enamored of dogs and cannot imagine a life that doesn’t include at least a couple underfoot (but not such that they knock me down!).
As they begin to leave the warm, loving nest for adoring puppy raisers and/or their future partners, I am left with a feeling of admiration for Mango, Kiwi, Newton, Maggie (nee Vera), Pinto, and Fig. Their curious, brave, and loving spirits remind me about what is really important and I will remember what they have taught me long after they are settled in their new homes.