Lyn and I were sitting at our kitchen table the other day. It must have been Sunday because the sun was coming up and we were still sipping coffee instead of hustling off to work. Our Lab pup doesn’t know what a “day off” is and she had woken us at 5:20 AM.
Lyn and I both got up and let the dogs out. I filled their bowls with kibble and we went through the feeding ritual, making both dogs sit and wait a couple seconds until they were allowed to eat their food.
Over coffee, Lyn and I discussed my progress with Kaia’s training. The pup was already showing considerable interest in retrieving. Our discussion centered on the different techniques to reinforce her desire to retrieve. It’s important for a young retriever’s development that they be praised whenever they bring an object to one of their human companions. Lyn and I had discussed this at length and we had both explained to the kids how important it was not to scold the dog if she brought them something, even if it was something that the pup wasn’t supposed to touch. This can be difficult to remember when the young dog comes bouncing towards you with your cell phone in her mouth.
Kaia has shown considerable interest in retrieving things like cell phones and TV remotes. When she lopes across the floor with my drool-covered phone in her mouth I have to remind myself (twice) not to yell at her or show any form of displeasure. This is really critical stuff for retriever training. If Kaia came waltzing up with the TV remote and I yelled at her and yanked it out of her mouth she would simply assume that retrieving was bad and it could take weeks of work to undo the damage.
Anyway, Lyn and I were revisiting this idea in our conversation when it occurred to me that life is kinda like a retriever pup. Since it’s almost thanksgiving, I began to draw parallels in my mind between retrievers and life. Maybe it’s important to be grateful even when life delivers something really stinky and covered with drool? Perhaps life is just like a big slobbery retriever pup that can drag anything through your door, deliver it to your hand and expect to be patted on the head? Sometimes goofy ideas like this really take hold in my mind and I soon found myself wondering if it might not be just as important as it is in retriever training that we react with grace and gratitude no matter what life drops at our feet. Naturally I wondered if it might be damaging for life’s further development if we curse it for retrieving things we don’t really want. Perhaps if we react with gratitude, no matter what life brings, we can expect to wind up with a good solid dependable retriever… I mean… life?
The answers to these ruminations are, of course, far beyond my grasp, but I do know this much: Lyn and I are both very grateful for the continued support of each of you whether you are a family member, friend, customer, or all of the above. Please know that we appreciate you and that you are in our prayers now at Thanksgiving and all year long.