What My Pointer Taught Me About Life and Happiness

I have the tiniest German Shorthaired Pointer anyone knows of. Her name is Embry.  She is about thirty pounds (where the breed standard is about forty-five to sixty pounds for females) of pure love and snuggles. Her main goal in life is to get under the covers. Any covers. Do you have a towel laying around? She wants to get under that. A napkin? That'll work.

She is a happy, grateful dog. For no other reason than being alive. Her main achievements in life revolve around getting bites of chicken, successfully forcing her way into the tiniest spots between two people, and taking intense naps in incredibly entertaining positions. Every day she teaches me how to be a better person, which is strange, with her being a dog and all. 

Every morning, Embry FLIES out of her soft crate, almost breaking the zipper, jumps into our bed, and glues a very cold nose to either of our faces. "Hello parents! I am here! Rejoice!" she seems to be saying. 

She is full of love and and forceful snuggling, and I can't help but laugh. I used to ask her, "What are you so excited about?" but now I hug her and say, "I knooooowww, we are so happy for no reason! Let's party!" A new day, new smells, naps, maybe new toys and treats, fresh laundry to roll around in, potty breaks, eating grass... the opportunities are endless and the world is her oyster.

We run downstairs, and she starts running in small circles wagging her little nub of a tail signaling she's ready to go potty, one of the highlights of life, obviously. If I take too long getting to the door, she sends me one of her snorts that sound like a race horse at the track gate. Still half-asleep, I open the door to let her out and she does her business proudly. She runs back inside and grabs Dharma (her favorite toy, a blue dragon) by the head, and brings her to me as a trophy of a successful potty escapade. Thank you so much, I was really needing a slobbery stuffed animal rubbed against my leg. If only we could celebrate our small victories like that...

I sit down to eat and have my coffee, and the shameless begging begins. Dharma is long forgotten when there are potential treats at stake. She was my husband's dog at first, but she has lived with me for three years now, and I have to admit I have completely ruined her. She sticks her entire GSP nose into my plate or bowl, and snorts again. Excuse you?! I tell her "no," and she backs off daintily, just to fake politeness. "Sorry mama," her raised paw says. Two seconds later, she tries again. "You persistent little nugget," I tell her, shaking my head. I wish I could be that shameless in real life. Wait, but why can't I? I should be as persistent as she is when there's a lot more than chicken at stake...

The day goes on, and I sit down to write as she finds herself a little cozy spot in the living room, where she can monitor me. Sometimes she's an independent woman and goes upstairs and puts herself in her crate. She doesn't need company, she could use a little alone and quiet time to unwind from her busy morning of potty and begging. She didn't even excuse herself, she just left. What life would be like if I could just say, "I just need to be alone in my crate today. Bye." The freedom! 

I take a break from work and go upstairs to do some chores. As I pick up the six thousand pillows and blankets to make the bed, I look over at her inside her crate. She's under her blanket next to Dharma, watching me from the little fabric window. I try to remember why I decided I needed all of this stuff on my bed. Look at her, she has one blanket and she's perfectly fine. She doesn't even feel the need to put up some art in her crate. Why do I need so much to be happy? 

I head back downstairs and start to do some laundry, where I find some of Dharma's friends, Gerard and Madeleine, buried underneath the piles. All of it is covered in black and white hairs, including the clean laundry, which she prefers for napping. She follows me downstairs and I scold her a little for getting into the clean clothes. She's embarrassed and sad about that for a moment, and looks up at me with "I'm-so-ashamed" eyes. Right, you don't fool me missy.

I get back to work, and hook myself up to all my electronics: iPhone, laptop, iPad, remotes, earphones... you know, all the things crucial to my daily survival. Today, like most afternoons, after hours of looking at too many screens, I get overwhelmed and mentally over-stimulated. I look over at her and she's sprawled out on the couch, not a worry in sight. Sigh. She's already forgotten about the laundry, and perks up when she sees me watching her. I wish we knew how to forgive and forget that quickly.

I jump up closing my laptop, pull my earphones out, turn my phone off, throw on some running shoes and take her to the field across the street. I let her loose, and she runs in erratic circles, ears flapping in the wind, looking up at the sky. Forever hopeful, she is looking for potential birds she's never going to catch. Every so often, she sees me across the field and runs towards me as fast as she can, skinny legs flying in every direction. I'm laughing and the sun is setting, and I wonder why I get so caught up with "life" every day. She doesn't care if she looks cute, or if she should post this adorable moment on her Instagram. She lives in the moment, and she chooses to be happy with whatever she's got. She is grateful for the smallest of things, like the freshly cut grass and the warmth of the sun, and now I am too.


This post was first published on The Huffington Post.