If you visit our house, you will get a warm welcome from the four-legged creatures and, of course, the two-legged ones. Buttercup, our two-year-old Boxer (or The Toddler as we affectionately call her), monitors the door vigilantly. One must be prepared, after all, as friends can appear without notice. As soon as she hears someone approach, she trots to the door and waits to determine who has come to call (“on her” is implied- I mean why else would someone come to the door?) This seems very important to her. Unless you are her friend Lucas who she mauls with love on arrival, she looks everyone over very intently and then heads for the living room to pick out just the right toy for the person and occasion. As a Boxer, her tail is docked so she has to put in extra effort to let you know that you are getting the wag. It’s not unusual for her head and behind to connect in her frenzied wagging. Her body takes on the shape of a comma making it difficult to travel in a straight line so she generally meanders sideways sometimes bumping into walls, sometimes going full circle. Though we have tried to train her well, if she really likes you or you show any inclination for permissive parenting, she will jump on you and give you a big kiss.
Her warm greeting, with accompanying wiggling butt, are not reserved solely for visitors. She greets her whole family this way. Being welcomed home by Buttercup is a great way to end your day. She doesn’t want to talk about it or “process” anything. She is just so glad you are alive and that you came home – again! She acts like you’ve been gone forever, and she missed you so much. Buttercup lives in the moment and knows what is important. Right now, right here, you are with her. What could be better? The potential is immense. You might rub her ears. You might play fetch with her. You might snuggle her. There might be a treat hidden somewhere on your person. Who cares about the minor disagreement you had this morning over the “missing” sock or refusing to come inside for breakfast? Who cares if you tried to wedge yourself under the new fence yesterday? That is in the past. Right now, she has a ball (or lamb or squirrel or beaver or octopus) and she has you. She knows a hug heals. She knows play and laughter are good medicine. She knows what is happening right now is what matters right now.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we took a cue from our canine (or feline) family members and greeted each other with a little more enthusiasm? You don’t have to bring a toy (unless you want to – no judgment) but what if we brought unadulterated joy at seeing each other? What if we let things go a little more easily? What is we tuned out rehashing the past and worrying about the future long enough to enjoy each other’s company? I think it’s time we figured out the human equivalent of wagging our tails and let people know, unequivocally, that we are so glad they are here.
Here’s what I came home to today. Aren’t I lucky?
(The blog picture is Buttercup breaking into a photoshoot with my daughter. She hates to be left out.)