There are plenty of reasons to love dogs--their unfailing friendliness and loyalty, their ability to forgive almost anything and anybody, and their insistence on being happy. Even when they're sick, with their chin resting sadly on their paws, and their nose warm as a pancake just off the griddle, they give you that-big-eyed, soulful look, seeming to say, "I'm sorry I'm not in a better mood."
But what I truly admire about my 11-year-old rat terrier, Lucy, is this: She's able to plop down in her little bed, cozy up to some ratty never-washed dog toy, close her eyes, and start snoring. Loudly, within 30 seconds.
She doesn't have a care in the world--no overdue mortgage or unpaid bills, no errant children, no negligent spouse, no deadend job, no jackass of a boss to deal with.
Nope, her only concerns are waking up in the morning, taking a walk on the dewy grass as the sun rises over the horizon, checking out the new smells that wildlife might have left overnight, finding a bathroom by this bush or that tree or that patch of lawn...then coming inside to a tasty breakfast...then resting for a good part of the day, maybe strolling around the grounds again...then barking at the mailman or some passing dog on a leash...then eating dinner...then resting a bit more...and finally plopping down and resuming snoring.
No wonder she's in such a good mood and she sleeps so well.
That's not to say she doesn't have her little neuroses and eccentricities. For instance:
1) Until recently, she balked at walking down stairs. I had to give her a little push to get her started. Now, for some reason, she's fine. Go figure.
2) On the beach, she rolls around, enraptured, on dead seagull guts. Loves it. It's a canine thing, I guess.
3) A few years ago, she wandered back home, covered in the excrement of some animal. Her tongue was hanging out, she had a big, silly grin on her face; I've never seen her so happy.
4) The other night, she refused to come inside the house, even though it was 40 degrees outside. I suggested she come in, I urged her, I even tried to bribe her with a treat, but she just sat back on her haunches and gave me this frightened look. I finally had to carry her inside, and then she was fine. Normal again. Cozied up on her dog bed next to her ratty toy and began to snore.
Surely there's a lesson here for all of us, since studies are now telling us we need at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night: Go ahead and act crazy as hell during the day, just get your rest at night. You'll be happy and live long.
Just maybe stay away from the animal excrement.