Puppy Love

dog

According to the Chinese zodiac (and all those Facebook photos of dog-inspired Bento boxes and dog-face Yee Sang), 2018 is the Year of the Dog. However, in our house, we are way ahead of the times. The Year of the Dog happened in 2017 because we somehow, after years of resisting, acquired a puppy. It was not an easy year. There were sleepless nights. There was the return to toilet-training without the back-up of nappies. There was the guilt of leaving her alone for any period of time. There was a chewed up laptop cable, gnawed shoelaces and a destroyed (and subsequently declared favourite) Beanie Boo toy.

Before we named her, someone told me we should wait to see if she was a ‘Grace’ or a ‘Muddles’. I’m not sure how many 3 month old puppies embody grace but this one certainly didn’t. She was a little explorer, burrowing her way into any nook or cranny, bounding up the stairs on her little legs and then getting stuck at the top because she was too scared to come down. She was energetic, affectionate and fun. We named her Dora.

I must admit, I was not entirely delighted at the whole ‘Let’s get a puppy’ idea. I thought we just didn’t need anymore Crazy in our lives. We were already at full capacity and bursting at the seams. But over the course of the year I learned a lesson. Some things are finite and cannot expand easily – a house, your time, your energy, resources. But other things, that cannot be measured, are limitless – like the capacity to love. And who doesn’t enjoy getting a hero’s welcome (and fervent licks) every time you walk through the door?

Aspiring to be as wonderful as your dog thinks you are can only be a good thing. And that’s how Dora slowly made her way into my expanding heart with her unconditional love, no-holds-barred emotion and infectious energy.

I’ve always preferred dogs over cats. As much as I admire a cat’s ability to loll about in a self-absorbed state of aloofness, a superiority complex just doesn’t inspire love. Give me generosity of spirit, enthusiasm and a wagging tail any day. So if I have to be one or the other, then I am definitely a dog person. I wonder why nobody asks you if you are a rabbit person. Or a hamster person. Or even a goldfish person. Or, come to think of it, a non-pet person. People have always been, it seems, either canine or feline. Dogs and cats signify two opposing sides, usually at war. Mutually exclusive. Dog people and cat people are considered incompatible.

But could we be both? Apparently we now can. There is even a word in the Urban Dictionary for a person who likes both dogs and cats. Are you ready?

Bi-petual.

©2018 Seetha Dodd

It’s Swings and Roundabouts

swing   Photo: Esra Güzel

The sun is shining. There are choices to be made. There is a lot of fun to be had. You can join in or sit on the bench. The swings will keep swinging. The teacup will keep spinning.

Sometimes you’re flying up in the air – ecstatic, loving the feeling, wanting to go higher, shrieking with glee. Sometimes you’re on the ground – giving someone else a push, lifting them up, holding their hand, or watching. If the ride is spinning too fast, speak up. Ask the Spinner to slow it down so you can get on or get off.

For some things you need a friend, or two, or three. For other things you go it alone. Look out for one another. Look out for yourself.

As you navigate the obstacles, you will probably fall. You may get hurt. It’s OK to have a little cry, but then get up and carry on. You may be given a helping hand and a kind word or you may have to become your own hero. A grazed knee, like a grazed heart, will heal.

There will be kids who are better than you at cycling, scootering, climbing, making friends. But there is enough fun to go round. So cycle, scooter, climb, make friends. It’s your adventure. Having fun is optional, but it is there to be had.

There will also be kids who look lost, or sad, or broken. Share your toys, share your fun. One day you may be that kid. One day that may be your kid. Kindness is contagious and worth spreading.

The park, your life, is waiting. Bring your scooter and a smile.

©2018 Seetha Dodd

Very very very!

My 7 year old brought his Writing book home at the end of last year. I gleefully flicked through his Year 1 literary journey and stopped at this short story about a fidget spinner (that popular and controversial toy of 2017):

very

Ignoring the minor spelling and punctuation challenges, and partially removing the Mum Bias lens, this story has everything you could ask for. Excitement, imagery, intrigue, potential bloodshed. What worries me though, is that his lovely teacher crossed out what she saw as excessive emphasis on the speed of this fidget spinner.

Just one very is enough.

What???

First of all….if one ‘very’ is enough why leave two? But more importantly, I DISAGREE! One ‘very’ is not enough to describe the mental picture in his head. That blue fidget spinner was OUT OF CONTROL! One ‘very’ just would not cut it. One ‘very’ couldn’t possibly demonstrate the danger, the climax of this nightmare. We need more ‘verys’ in our lives, not less. Don’t hold back. Wholehearted emotion.

One day soon, he will know how to use words like extremely, exceptionally, terrifically, remarkably, mightily. (Perhaps from an online thesaurus like I just did.) But until then, he absolutely, definitely, must, must, must! use words in whatever way he chooses, to express himself. Yes, rules are rules, but artistic licence makes your words s~p~i~n off the page and explode in your face.

©2018 Seetha Dodd

The Shift

(Or The Fix, Part 2)

Window to the soul

You can’t:

Dig yourself out of a bottomless hole

Un-feel what once ignited your soul

Un-deal a card from your poker hand

Or breathe when your head is buried in sand.

But you can:

Weather the storm with a dance in the rain

Allow raw emotion to course through your veins

Accept that your power exists in today

Believe that your heart and your soul know the way.

©2018 Seetha Dodd