Dudley's Deliberations

It's spring and I love spring (except for the allergies, of course, but I don't really get them like my brother Ollie does, poor guy). Actually, there's not much I don't love... except, I guess, when it's too hot to take a walk. It's easy for me to love everything, though, because I live "the life of Riley." Now who is this Riley character anyway? more here And how did I get his life? It's a little confusing, but I'm told that's an old saying that means you hit the jackpot and got a cushy life. Lucky me!  

I eat yummy food and treats every day, have a bath every two weeks so I always smell good (at least to human noses), and somehow have a never-ending supply of toys to rip up and shake around with all my might. Lots of super nice people pet, hug, and scratch me when I go to work. I go for walks in the park with all kinds of amazing smells, and I sometimes meet new guys of my kind who are just... well... lovely fellows for the most part. My canine friends and I wag our tails with all our might until they almost fall off (and I go "YIP! YIP! YIP!"). I have a great family that loves me and cares for me very much. All in all, what a life I have! I believe that's what humans call gratitude. And if that's what Riley's life is, then I'll take it.

Which brings me to some sort of point, I could worry about all the others of my kind who don't have Mr. Riley's life and then I'd be sad. There are so many of us who didn't receive good circumstances and there is so much suffering in the world! I think about that sometimes, and I have a very tender heart, so it could really break even a strong guy like me. But, I don't dwell on it because it wouldn't make their lives any better... or mine. So here's what I try to do about it: I think if I stay really happy and gentle-spirited, maybe somehow it lifts up everybody else's life a little more. I'm not sure how that happens, but I think it works. My pal Rupa says it's true. Maybe it's about contributing to the "blanket of happiness all around us," in other words, meeting sadness with a light heart. Something about if I stay super happy (which is easy because it's my nature anyway), it creates more happiness and joy in the world, and that's my contribution... like putting some beautiful yellow tulips into the big garden of the world with all the other flowers planted there.

Now sometimes, like any normal guy, I get frustrated over little stuff, like when I have an itch and I just can't quite reach it, or when I want to catch my ball and there's nobody around to throw it, or when I stare at people and they don't quite get what I need and they ask me to "use my words" (really people?!). Then I suppose I get the grumbles and probably pour a little stinky mulch into the garden before I even realize it. Sometimes I just can't help it. I try to keep that to a bare minimum by letting go of the dark thoughts as fast as I can so I don't get caught up in them, trying hard not to muddy up the big garden of the world! The most important thing to remember is that what we think about gets planted and grows, like flowers growing in a garden. Meaning, there is the notion we can grow negativity or positivity by where we focus our thoughts, and focusing our thoughts on happiness or gratitude helps oneself, and in theory, everyone else. Our positive thoughts can represent the flowers planted in the garden. Our negative thoughts can represent the mulch or yucky fertilizer that looks and smells bad sometimes, but also enriches the soil and promotes growth.

Here's to wishing everyone a big garden of yellow tulips, so, together, we can make the whole world happier and more loving, and for goodness sakes, a little more cooperative (which, I hear, is not just important for families, communities, and the world but also needed in Congress, these days)!