As I posted before - I am trying to emulate my dog because he seems to have reached the zen plateau of contentment and happiness. I have been practicing "lesson # 1: have a routine". So far it's worked on saturday, monday and wednesday. I fell sick in the meantime so I excused myself for the other days. yeah, yeah, excuses you say to yourself. Here's the next gyan.
Lesson # 2 Practice togetherness
I had a tough time summarizing what I observed with Astro with regard to his policy on togetherness. Let me try to explain this with incidents.
Every morning my father takes him for a walk. If I can get my lazy butt off the bed on time I accompany them. Now, if for some reason I am up but unable to go Astro doesn't budge from the gate. His take is: you are up and I see no reason why you can't come. A lot of cajoling and yanking follows at which point he departs for his walk rather morosely. My father's explanation is that he likes me to come along since I am younger and Astro likes to be associated with youth. But today, the tables were turned and instead of my dad, I took Astro for a walk. Dad was up and about so he saw us off on our morning tryst. Astro walked for about 50m and then he realized my dad was not following us. After a bit of a sit down (literally - Astro sits down in the middle of the street if he has decided not to go on. And he's about 130lbs so tugging at his chain is a futile process), some sweet talk and a yank, we carry on. Every 50m Astro looked back to see if my father was following. He purposefully took very long pee breaks along the walk and any person who walked towards us wearing shorts was a potential "dad" for which he got his tail in action. About halfway through the walk he accepted that my father was not coming and resigned himself to walking with me. After the first stretch we usually go to a lake and he communicated his displeasure with another sit down. We go home, he checks to make sure my dad is still around and then gets into the business of following his routine.
Another time, in the evening, my whole family got into an argument. We are all very opinionated and rather verbose, so sometimes the small fire of quality family time turns into an raging inferno of exchanges. On one such evening after a lot of high decible drama Astro demanded to be taken for a walk. When my dad picked up the leash and opened the gate, Astro didn't budge. He refused to move till the entire family was out with him and on the walk. Of course, the walk cooled everyone off and we all went to bed saner.
There you have it. Two sterling examples on what Astro values: togetherness. He's committed to making sure that we are all united and a family unit no matter what. He's willing to stage a sit down anytime this is compromised and will be headstrong in his commitment to make sure that we are together. Astro is the binder in our loosely fitting lives. How do I intend to practice this lesson? Well, to be quite honest I am bit gung ho about giving other people and myself some space but nevertheless I think going for walks with my family is definitely restorative, especially when we walk in silence. In the broader scheme I plan to practice this by prioritizing time with my family - a luxury I have not enjoyed for several years while I was away. Till next week on Astro, bow bow.