I wish I could be more like my dog. It's not a new sentiment, I know. However, it is true. Goldie, my Golden Retriever, lives in a golden world. Everyday she wakes up excited to greet the day. Everyday she runs to the food bowl happy and grateful -"Hooray, dog food again!" She looks for opportunities to play, she'll drop anything for a hug, she loves unconditionally and she's the eternal optimist sure that THIS is the day she's going to catch that squirrel. She is such a well-mannered, gentle, lovable golden girl.
The dog we had before her, Buddy, was a mutt from the streets of Camden. He was six months old when we adopted him and already streetwise. Whenever I picture him I imagine him smoking unfiltered cigarettes, which is weird, I know (even weirder because he died of lung cancer). In many ways, Buddy was a dog only a mother could love. He had attitude. He did not love unconditionally. He didn't trust people outside of the family and although I'm sure he loved us I also got the feeling that there was apart of him that tolerated us - like he knew if he had opposable digits he'd be running the place. The one person he perhaps loved unconditionally was our daughter. Although he peed on almost everything of hers to let us know he was still in charge, he was also fiercely protective of her. He somehow instinctively knew she was his and she needed him. She could do anything to him. I could barely get a collar back around his neck after his bath. My daughter, however, on her third Christmas was able to deck him out in reindeer antlers, garland and a bow. I have a picture of it. It looks like he's saying, "oh please, get me a beer!" but he let her do it. Unlike Goldie, Buddy was not grateful for his dog food everyday. He smashed countless plates stealing food from off of the table the minute our backs were turned. One time he ate a block of cheese still in the plastic wrapper and didn't even get indigestion. He got in the trash, took things out of cupboards, terrorized the neighbors with his barking and snarling, and if there was something he had been instructed not to do - you can bet your bottom dollar he'd do it every chance he got. In many ways he was a big pain in the ass - and I loved him. I never wished he was different because he was BUDDY! I loved him for who he was.
I realize that although I WISH I was like Goldie, I'm actually alot more like Buddy. I'm a big pain in the ass. I don't love unconditionally. I wish I did but I don't. The one person I do, perhaps, love unconditionally is my daughter and I, too, am fiercely protective of her. I try to be grateful for my meals everyday but there are many days when I'm opening every cupboard thinking, "MAN, I wish there were some chocolate chip cookies around here!" Now - there ARE a few differences. I don't pee on people's things and I don't steal food (well, except for french fries). But, basically, I'm a cynical, rule-breaking pit bull mix that wishes she was a Golden Retriever. Sometimes I wish I could have the same acceptance for myself that I had for Buddy. I wish I could stop forever shaking a can of pennies at myself and could just shake my head, laugh and say, "Oh, Kim! You're a mess, but that's OK - I love ya!"