Greet Like a Dog

by elizabethbrantley

There was once when I thought it was actually unnatural and a waste of money to have a dog.

I can hear the gasps of dog lovers everywhere and can see your fingers move to the mouse to click off of this post. But wait!…. I have turned completely, and in fact find dogs to be one of Life’s best gifts.

That is why today’s post is dedicated to a lesson from them. Life certainly speaks to us through pets! And I hope to remember for myself to have the courage to be more like a dog.

Last night, I lay in bad as I usually do and thought of the many good things that were in my day, one consistent memory that kept bringing a smile to my face was of our dog and my parents dog greeting me. They were both so enthusiastic it was as if they didn’t have any control over their bodies. They were jumping up and down, spinning in circles, running into me and bulldozing me over – and this happened again and again! Nevermind the fact that I was the one that put our dog in his kennel for 6 hours before. Nevermind that I was going to have to put him back in his kennel in just 30 minutes. No. I was the greatest, most wonderful, most exciting person they could see. I was their heroine and their love. That was abundantly clear

It was amazing to me to think about how loved, needed and excited this made me feel. All this coming from a dog- an animal without anything to give – except their presence.  As always, this made me think – why don’t we feel that we have enough to give to others, when a dog can give me so much? Why have I not recognized my presence and energy as a gift to give others? Why have I not greeted those I love and new friends in this way?Isn’t this presence and excitement what we really want from the ones we love?

My mind went straight to think of a handful of camp friends who actually do greet me like my dog greets me.  They run and jump! They scream and throw their hands up in the air! I feel like the greatest, most wonderful person in the world – all because I simply showed up. I could remember the very first time they greeted me like this, it was as if all of a sudden I was initiated into a secret club of friendship – a membership that confirmed I was loved, I was fun, I was enough, I was part of their world. When one feels this from another it is hard not to become addicted to their presence and the love they so naturally outpour.

While a few people get to spend a lot of time at camps, where this greeting might be more prevalent, why can’t we create that culture and this salutation tradition in our own lives, every day? What would happen in our homes if we greeted each family member this way, consistently? How would our friendships change? How would our work environments or schools be altered? How different would your intimate relationship be if  you committed to simply dropping everything you were doing when your love walked it and you ran to them with enthusiasm and butted your head into them, and gave them your undivided attention?

Theoretically, we can see, that this is so easy a dog can do it. Yet as humans we tend to complicate things a little. We hold back because to act and greet like a dog is actually a very risky thing. We risk looking like fools. We risk being rejected, shot down, overrun by someone’s negativity or lack of reception. But, like I said, dogs do it every day – and they don’t expect anything in return. They simply cannot help it. Could we be willing to give and act from a place where rejection doesn’t even register as a possibility, the place where, like dogs, we are so fully in the moment and loving, loving, loving? It will be then that we have the ability to change someone’s day. We can then alter their moods, their outlooks, their consistent and perhaps damaging mental loops that they ride on continuously. We can love them through a greeting. We can bring an unconditional excitement and life to them for just being them. And we can do this with everything that we already have with us right now.

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