Thursday, June 30, 2011

7 Life Lessons From a Bulldog

After reading 10 Things I've Learned About Writing by Walking My Dog on the Tartan Ink blog, I was inspired to write down some things I learned growing up with my dog Spike. You'll see, he was really smart.

Other than the obvious "When someone's trying to take your toy, clamp down and don't let go no matter what," here are a few other lessons from Spike:

Spike's "school picture"
1. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't succeed. Dogs can't climb trees, but Spike didn't now that. When I was playing in the tree house and Spike wanted up there, pretty soon I'd see him climbing up. I'm not sure why he wanted up there so badly, since he'd just sit there while I played spaceship or Nancy Drew, but that's what he wanted, so he found a way. You may have to work harder than others who seem to achieve their goals faster and with less effort (like cats), but you can get there.

2. But accept help when you need it. He wasn't able to climb down the tree, so someone would have to carry him down. He knew he'd fall if he tried it himself. Don't try to be so independent that you hurtle to the ground and land on your face.

3. People can tell you're not being sincere. If Spike wanted sympathy, he'd start this fake panting thing like he was suddenly exhausted. Be authentic in everything you do, so you'll never have to hear, "Cut it out, faker. You've been chewing on a rubber hot dog and napping all day."

Just look at the joy on his face. You can't fake that.
4. Be optimistic, but accept that there will be storms. When Spike saw rain out the front door, he'd turn around and run to the back door to see if it was raining out there too. Then he'd go hide under the bed. It's good to hope for the best, but we're all going to have things happen that make us want to crawl under the bed sometimes.

5. We can see you. He also hid when it was bath time. He wasn't hard to find, since we could see his butt sticking out from under the bed. Be yourself, but be aware that people can see what you're doing and that the Internet is a public place. Don't show your butt. Figuratively speaking. Also literally speaking.

5. Celebrate the small things. If Spike heard the word "walk," he'd grab his leash and dance around with it until we could catch him and put the leash on him to go out. He'd do quite a dance if given a piece of bacon, too. Be sure to stop and do the bacon dance.

6. Take care of your friends. Spike knew how to comfort someone who needed it. Especially my sister Lisa, who's the youngest. Like if she was crying because someone told her that her name used to be Gruselda and that our parents found her in the street, for example, Spike would go sit next to her and lick her face. (I can't believe he took her side. That was pretty damn funny.) You don't have to crawl onto your friends' laps and lick their faces, but you get the idea. Take care of each other, and reach out to someone who needs a friend.

7. Take naps. No explanation needed.


  1. Lynne, I want a Spike. He is the cutest! And yes, I often think about how wise dogs are. They don't sweat the small stuff, live in the moment, and still get excited to smell the grass in their own backyard. We could only be so lucky.

  2. Lynne, I smiled all through this. Spike is truly special and I absolutely adored your list. Aren't dogs wonderful?

  3. Eve, that would be a great way to live, wouldn't it?

    Glad you liked the post, Sue-Ellen! Yes, dogs are wonderful and so smart.

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Spike had some good advice there.