Relish your freedom

Bramble is a chocolate Labrador with a thirst for life. Today he has been brought to his favourite beach; it’s off season, with no one around, so he has lots of space to run and investigate. This is his beach.

He pads along with his owner towards the water’s edge until she is ready to let him off his lead. He looks sideways, far into the distance, and sees the untouched wet sand ready for his paw marks to stamp his identity all over it. She fiddles with his collar and his excitement rises. He thinks he sees a fellow dog in the distance and so once released he launches off into a fast run. He’s partly running towards a potential friend, but also he just loves how his body lurches forwards, trying out his leg muscles. He does love his cosy home, but, wow, this wide open space where he can move for ages in all sorts of directions.

Relish your freedomBramble eventually slows his run, coming to a panting stop. He looks out across the sea into the misty horizon. He feels the breeze tickling his floppy ears and breathes in the acrid smell of salt into his nostrils. Up above him he sees the seagulls lazily swooping around, up and down in haphazard patterns, occasionally making squawking cries to each other and at the world. This moment on his beach is a moment of absolute freedom and peace.

He looks back at his owner. She’s fiddling with her portable rectangle, her brow is furrowed. She sighs. She is often like this. He wonders why she always seems to be thinking about these bits of paper she gets piles of and then seems to need to give away. Why does she feel she needs to worry about inanimate objects? Bramble absently scrapes the sand with his paws, enjoying the feel between his toes. He feels rich. He doesn’t need anything other than these moments.

What can you learn from your dog?

Imagine you are on Bramble’s beach. Can you find that same level of freedom and peace? It’s not easy, is it? Your thoughts about all the things you need to remember, all those worries. And that ever draining bank account.

Wouldn’t you like to be at that beach more often? But, of course, work commitments, family obligations… And endlessly attempting to build that pot of cash towards retirement and then, maybe then, you’ll let yourself finally relax and have those beach moments. What a shame.

Your dog owns… nothing. He isn’t awake at 3am thinking “what if”. How can you find that inner calm?

Platonic love

Cooper doesn’t appreciate being teased. Now, there are exceptions to this rule, if, for example, you have a rope toy and you waggle it and quickly move it around, that is fine. Obviously he could absolutely take it at any time but he is humouring you by allowing you to play with him and enjoy yourself. People sure do like wiggling toys at him.

But Cooper does not like being teased about Amelie.

Platonic love

Who is Amelie? Well, Amelie is a FRIEND. That’s right, a friend. Not some girlfriend and it’s super annoying when people saying “oooo, is Amelie your giiiiiirrrrlfriiieeeeeeend?” in a mocking way. He feels simply quite cross. He gets it, he knows Amelie has been gifted with luxurious snow white curls, a perfect black wet button nose and eyelashes that go on for days. HE KNOWS. But he just really likes that they both like chasing sticks. What’s wrong with that? There doesn’t have to be some ulterior motive behind him wanting to spend time with her and there definitely doesn’t need to be the insinuation that they might make little beagle/poodle hybrid offspring together. Though, he does agree, they would obviously look adorable because Cooper is well aware of what a handsome spread of genes he has.

Cooper likes that it’s easy to spend time with Amelie. They can lie in the sun together in silence and just enjoy the presence of the each other close by. It’s comforting and familiar and peaceful. Isn’t that a nice version of love?

What can you learn from your dog?

There are so many permutations of love. We might love our parents and children and childhood best friend. We might lust from afar after Hollywood’s latest leading A-lister. And how about that friendly guy on the tills at the supermarket who so carefully packs our shopping? We like to pigeon hole our complexity as humans, whereas our dogs just tend to love indiscriminately around them. It might be their default emotion. What would happen if it were ours?