Thursday, November 17, 2011

Older Dog Wisdom: Tux 39 - Stockpiling Stuff

Tux was on a quest today. He was determined to find his oldest and most favorite toy, the pink, blue, and white plush ball. When he couldn't find it in the family room, he started going room to room, but it wasn’t in any of the rooms. He next checked his toy box - yes, he has a toy box although his toys seldom reside there. You can enter any room in the house and find at least two of his toys. Occasionally, his humans get tired of stepping on the plush squeeky toys and in a fit of pique, will gather them up and dump them in the toy box. He must, then, patiently pull each toy from the box and return it to its rightful place.
His plush ball was not in the room where he’d left it nor was it in his toy box. Stemming his rising tide of panic, Tux began looking in places where perhaps his sister Grace may have put it just to see him running around like a fool - she’d done it before. But it wasn’t on the stack of dog pillows in the corner of the family room nor was it on the beds. 
By now, he was well and truly in full panic mode. Where was his ball? 
You may ask what’s so special about this particular toy. He was given this toy as a “Welcome to the Family” gift the day he was brought home as a six-week-old sweet puppy. Yes, Tux has had this toy for 11 years. He has never ripped the squeaker out of it and it remains is in working order. It is his go-to toy when he’s stressed. Whenever I hear him squeaking a toy, I know he has his ball and is trying to become centered and at peace once again.
Every once in a while, the toy becomes dingy from too much loving and I’ll take it and throw it into the laundry basket while he’s outside. Today was no different, I noticed it was getting a little ripe and put it into the laundry basket thinking I’d do a load of laundry and have it back where I'd found it before he really had time to miss it. Alas, doing laundry was postponed, and now he wanted/needed his special toy, and the quest to find it continued.
I finally had retrieve Tux’s toy for him. When I handed it to him, I swear he glowered at me. My sweet boy had turned into angry dog. He is, as we speak, asleep with it lovingly held in his mouth as little snoring sounds emanate from him. 
It doesn’t take much to make Tux a happy camper - just an ancient plush toy and a nap.
Lesson Learned
Would that we humans were as easily pleased as Tux. However, we seem to need more than a nap and a toy to make us feel safe. We need things around us or as the late George Carlin said, we need “stuff.” 
Do we need all the stuff we stockpile? Do we really need all those books we keep just in case we run out of things to read? Never mind that we keep buying more books, and many of us have a Kindle and have dozens and dozens of books stored there, too. Now that winter is upon us - almost - I’m switching out summer clothes for winter clothes. As I put the summer clothes into their storage containers, I asked myself do I really need this many t-shirts? The answer was no. Did I set any aside for Goodwill? Absolutely not. I figure that, for this year at least, it was enough to admit I didn’t really need all those t-shirts. Maybe next spring, I’ll actually give a couple of the t-shirts to Goodwill.
While clothes are import, books seem to be my equivalent to Tux’s plush ball. When I’m stressed, I can sit and look at my crowded and overflowing bookshelves and feel the peace return. How could I possibly consider giving away any of them? So, like Tux, I have a stockpile of books, just in case.

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