Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Learning New Tricks or What an Old Dog Can Teach Us

Tux and the Bush

I have a male dog named Tux (his name has been changed so the other dogs at the park won’t mock him). The other day we were out for our morning walk in the park. As we passed a bush, he paused, lifted his leg, and did his thing.

So what? You may ask. No big deal, you say. Ah, but it was a big deal. Tux is ten years old. He’s never, ever lifted his leg before.

What Are the Lessons for Tux?

Old dogs do learn new tricks. Tux is living proof of that. He took a risk that

  1. He wouldn’t fall over,
  2. He could perform his duty like a male, and
  3. No one would make fun of him.

Luckily, there was no one around to see him except me, and I was too stunned to say a word (I did, however, give a fist pump when his back was turned).

Why did he do it? My guess is that because he’d been talking trash with three rude dachshunds over the last few months and his manhood had been impugned. He was determined to prove he was, indeed, macho. He only needed to lift his leg once to prove his point.

I didn’t want to ask how the mouthy dachshunds knew he’d lifted his leg, but I suspect that he didn’t need to prove his manhood to them because he’d proven it to himself. They probably knew right away by the way he swaggered up to them.

What Are the Lessons for You and I?

There are three lessons that you and I can take away from this episode.

  1. If you’re going to take a risk, minimize the consequences.
  2. You needn’t prove anything to anyone but yourself.
  3. Take pride in whatever you do.

Taking a risk is hard we all know that. It can be scary as hell under the best of circumstances and terrifying under good circumstances. Sometimes, though, we need to risk in order to advance, to feel alive, to prove to ourselves that we can.

It would be wonderful if every risk we take paid huge dividends. But they don’t. Some risks turn out to be unmitigated disasters. Ignore the naysayers in your life. You’ve proven to yourself that you can and will take a risk for what you want.

If the risk you take turns out to be a complete disaster, don’t hang your head as if you did something bad. You didn’t. You did what you thought was best at the time you did it. So hold your head high. You are a risk taker. Take pride in that because so many others play it safe all the time.

Pride and Panache

Tux hasn’t bothered to lift his leg again. He’s returned to squatting like a girl, but now he does it with pride and panache.

1 comment:

  1. I was SO gratified that Tux, at age 10, taught himself to be a "manly man." My 17-month old puppy, Sarge, has so far had only the example of our other dog, Sissy, and I worry that he will have aspersions cast by distant relative dogs when we attend a family reunion soon.

    Please give Tux a hug for me, because he has been a huge encouragement. Then please give him another because he is such a handsome guy!

    I LOVE your blog--just found out about you at the "blogging buddy" post at ProBlogger. I would love to be your buddy, but please give me a couple of weeks. My blog is not quite publishable, due to all the technical things I can't get right! Your blog, by the way, LOOKS great, too. Would that mine gets to a stage that I wouldn't be too humiliated by it, and then I will love "writing to the world."