A Lesson From My Dog

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I took last week off from blogging and…well…everything for two reasons:

  1. It was Spring Break.
  2. We decided to landscape our yard.

By “landscape our yard” I don’t mean we came up with a design and hired a crew to do the work. I mean WE landscaped the yard.

It’s been a week in the trenches. If we’d added barbed wire, we could have filmed a WWI war movie in our yard. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

And of course as I was digging and raking and scraping and planting and plugging and piping, etc., my brain was buzzing with thoughts about writing and creativity and life, etc., because…well…that’s what I do.

I learned a lot this week out there in the trenches. And the biggest thing I learned, I learned from my dog.

I have a really cool dog. If she should could talk (other than saying “mama”, which she can do), I’m pretty sure she’d tell me her favorite quote is from Winston Churchill:

“Never, never, never, never give up.”

My dog is obsessed with fetch. If she’s awake, she’s thinking about fetch. And if she could speak (again, other than “mama” <– I’m really proud of that one), I think she’d tell me she dreams of a world where humans do nothing but play fetch with dogs 24/7. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t a ball around. She’ll find a substitute. A toy. A shoe. Anything that can be thrown is worthy of being fetched. And she is always at the ready.

So, this week we’re out there in the trenches, digging and digging and digging and it’s just crazy work; and the dog is always there with the ball. I dig a hole. In goes the ball. I pull the ball out. In goes the ball. I throw the ball, dig really fast before she could get back, and…in goes the ball.

I should teach her golf. She has terrific aim. Hole. Ball. In. Voila!

We’d get frustrated with her, of course.

“No,” we’d say. “Go lay down.”

In goes the ball.

“NO. Not now.”

In goes the ball.

All day. Every day. All week.

That’s tenacity.  That’s endurance. That’s whole-hearted belief that at some point that ball is going to fly and fetch will be played.

If my dog could type (we’re working on that one), she’d have at least fifty novels published by now. I just know it. She has the tenacity it takes to stick with it. To not lose faith. To not stop at no.

Here’s another quote I bet my dog likes. This one’s from Amelia Aerhart:

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.”

Tenacity and writing go hand in hand. Tenacity and creativity go hand in hand. Tenacity and life go hand and hand.

OK, and fetch, too.


3 thoughts on “A Lesson From My Dog

    Lisa Nowak said:
    March 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    You are so right about dogs and tenacity. I tried to spread mulch for a friend who had a dog. That animal stood by me panting for hours, dropping the ball into the mulch then waiting for me to throw it. And if I did it was a big mistake. BTW, dogs don’t mind getting mulch in their mouths. Not a bit. 🙂

    Diane said:
    March 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Well written Amy. If we took care of the garden, we may have a similar story. Instead we harvest pre-historic weeds that feed our maniacal bunny. These are lessons I teach my class and my boys all the time, but have a hard time living.

    Nicole Langan said:
    March 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Gotta love the one track mind of a dog 🙂 Especially when food or a ball is involved!

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