My Beautiful Reward …how good comes back many times over…
When I started this website almost eight years ago, it was out of a simple thought. I was just tired of watching you humans struggle so much to find happiness, when the answers to it are so easy. I could tell that your giant brains were far too complex to grasp what we dogs understand all the time – about living in the moment, the joy of unconditional love, the power of loyalty, the thrill that comes from giving your all to what you care about – and the magic that is living in this world, even with all its flaws.
Sometimes it’s been really painful. Some of your letters have broken my heart and made me sluff out my doggy door and howl at the sky. Some have made me angry enough to bite the computer screen. But most often, I just feel so much affection for you guys – how unique and how alike you all are. And how lovable.
Now I’ll admit – I could find people I like by just sniffing legs in the park (Maybe I wouldn’t like them quite as much as I like you, since I wouldn’t know what’s inside their hearts, but I might get some dropped treats, so it wouldn’t be too bad!). But there’s one thing I can never get anywhere else. And that’s when one of you writes me back and tells me what happened, with whatever we were talking about. And especially if I made a difference.
You might have seen some of those comments in a Pawprint Newsletter. I always love to post them – not bragging so much as my way of saying Thanks!
But sometimes I get a fuller story. Like a letter I recently received from a Pack member named icecandyicepop. She had written me years ago, about a relationship issue, no different from most of the letters you send. That was fine – I love jumping in to all your exciting romances and crushes and fantasies! But then things went a little further…
Around 2 years ago I asked you a question on the subject of a friend I had, and my parents got into a big ‘hooha’ about it, accusing me of various things because they thought he was too young for me.
I just want to say a massive thankyou for your advice! I was in a dark place during that period. I was in a transitioning phase of going from high school up to a college, and lost contact with many of my friends within the short space of a few months. This stress ultimately led to me developing an eating disorder, one that I can now say is in remission as I have just recently shot back to almost the same weight as I was when I had a healthy mind.
That guy was a part of this problem as he became more of an obsession, or a means of rebelling against my truest friends: my family. It took me just under a year but I eventually realized the cause of my desire to be friends with him and what my efforts had caused on myself: Anorexia, loss of family bonds and a disregard for my pre-existing and healthy friendships.
Now at my second year, an ease of mind and family support have helped to boost my grades far higher than I could have expected, which is a result of my eating good and proper amounts of healthy foods, closer than ever bonds with my family, even with my Dad who I have up until recently NEVER seen eye-to-eye with, and topped off with my many NEW friends I have made at college, all of whom seem to genuinely care about me and take time to talk to me and arrange events and occasions, something that even my old friends could never be bothered to do.
My life now is now as fulfilling and happy as it’s ever been for me (minus the workload of school!) which is thanks I guess to the tough year that I endured mentally. I guess you could call it an emotional safari; we had just been chased by lions, but those lions chased us all the way to the end of the rainbow. The pot of gold.
I now put my family and friends first at every opportunity, I no longer care about how skinny I am – to be honest, I rather want a little chubbiness to me, nothing excessive, just a little bulk to fill out my t-shirts and skinny trousers that for all too long, despite being skinny, have always fit like a straight leg.
Are you loving this as much as I am? Well, here’s where I collapsed onto the floor…!
Your email which you sent me, whether you remember it or not, hit the nail on the head. I just needed to make some new friends my own age. I have done this and now feel like I belong somewhere, I don’t have to prove myself or the way I look to the type of friends I have, because now I am accepted for who I am, by my family and my friends – as these friends have chosen me for my personality, not my looks.
The next step for me is to get back into sport. Now leading almost a ‘coach potato lifestyle’ with the occasional walk, albeit often a big one around town or taking my beautiful dog, wups! I mean my beautiful owner, for a long walk around my village.
Hearing your advice in those dark times for me was relieving, you helped to shine a light on the right path for me and that path was the best one.
I think all I needed was someone to talk to, while at the time, I had no friends or family to do so with. You helped me a great deal for which I am in debt; massively!
Thank you so much.
So okay, I read this, and next thing you know, I’m lying on the floor, panting. Handsome saw this and got worried that I might have had some food poisoning, but I had him read the letter, and he plopped down on the floor next to me. “Oh, now I get it,” He said, scratching my ears. “Pup, you’ve just experienced getting everything you live for. Kind of overwhelming, isn’t it?”
It sure is.
And this is why I’m sharing this with you, Pack Members. The rewards this website has given me haven’t been financial – no, actually they’ve actually been far greater. I’m the only dog I know who’s ever gotten a letter like that! And I get all sorts of wonderful, beautiful letters from you guys. I can’t dream of anything more wonderful!
I was already a lucky pup, I know. I have a human who loves me and shelters and feeds me and takes me to the veterinarian’s office even if I try to run out once I see they might give me a shot. I’m not out in the wilds, or on the streets, hunting for food to keep from starving, and fighting off predators all the time.
Instead, I get to put my efforts into doing this. And it’s the best feeling in the world for me. Do you have something that works like that for you? Something that has that quality some call “Selflessness,” but which really is completely selfish because it makes you feel so good?!
It’s so fun. One of you gets a new boyfriend (or dumps a lousy one) and I feel tingles of romance. Or another finds the way to work an issue out with your parents, and I feel more secure and trusting about the world. And icecandyicepop moves past an eating disorder, and all my food suddenly tastes better.
Whatever you want to call that quality – charity, codependence, universal love – it’s beautiful. And everyone can have it.
And if you can find a way to make it a part of your life, I guarantee, you’ll find the happiness I wish for you, each of you, every day.
Oh, one other thing – a funny thought about that. From all I can tell, that quality I’m talking about is the one that most replicates the actual experience you humans get in adopting a dog. You know you’re going to lose money on the deal. And time. And property that gets chewed up. But the rewards are nothing short of magical.
Or so I’m told!