Always a good dog 🐶❤️

Lessons learned from a dog never have to go away even when you don’t have one. During this time of sheltering in place and staying home, my time around dogs is socially distant. This has me reflecting on how dogs are still able to positively influence me from six feet away. I’ve been impressed by their work. I’ve also been thinking back to my big adopted dog from the San Francisco SPCA.

Best advice ever: Set your dog up for success!

One of the best pieces of advice the SPCA gave us was the notion that to help our new family member and dog flourish, we should try to set her up for success. This perspective struck me as both simple and brilliant, easy to remember, and you can apply it to everything. Each time I engaged with her, whether taking her for a walk or asking her to watch the house while I went out on an errand, I applied this philosophy.

Image from grouchypuppy.com
Good job puppy!

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Thank goodness for dogs who are social butterflies

One of the places nearby is a dog park that is big enough for folks to safely social distance while letting their dogs play off leash. Since the pandemic and number of coronavirus cases still prevent me from getting my dog fix with the sugar faces at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue as a volunteer, I have started stopping by the dog area. I have changed my route when I am going to the store and have added it to my outdoor walks when I need extra steep hills. It is a little hit or miss on how many dogs will be there but I am not picky. I enjoy just watching the scenery and dog play, and if a dog decides they want to come over and say hello, who am I to be rude?

Thank goodness for dogs who are social butterflies

If there is a smart reader of this out there good at math, I bet you could tell me what the odds are that there is a social butterfly in a group of dogs. There always seems to be one. Sure, it usually is a puppy but sometimes it is just a dog who is just not that into other dogs. Often they like other dogs, but they get tired of them pretty quickly compared to others. On this day, I was lucky to meet one of those, in the form of a big Anatolian Shepherd - St. Bernard type name Riley.

image from grouchypuppy.com

 

Being a dog, and the type he was, Riley saw me, but first walked over to check out the other dogs coming through the gate. Then he moved down the line to say hello to me and get some love while his mom laughed and introduced him. After me, he continued over to an area that looked like a piece of tasty trash had traveled over the fence, just in case there was something to eat. That entire session gave me the happiest feeling of continuity and life, and how there is joy still around.

I am so grateful for the social butterfly because I am not. And, if that social butterfly flies over to me in the form of a dog, then all the better. Dogs have delivery methods for their type of affection and interest which never cease to make me laugh, smile or feel my heart lift up a little. They blow through resistance like the wind. 

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So much has changed, but still there is the delightful consistency of dogs

It has been so many months since I have been able to volunteer with the oldsters at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue that I feel slightly desperate in my reactions when I see dogs on the street. The slightest look from a dog gets an immediate waggle of my fingers! Not gonna lie, there have been more than one person on the other end of the leash who looked embarrassed for me. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. What is important here is that dogs are dogs are dogs, and given how uncertain everyday life is right now, I am grateful for this fact.

So much has changed, but still there is the delightful consistency of dogs

Dogs can be so delightfully consistent! I mean, since this pandemic has us social distancing whenever we’re out and wherever we are, I find myself sitting alone on a bench, either at a park or neighborhood street. It doesn’t happen every time but often, a person out walking their dog will slow near me, either because the dog is interested in the tree nearby or the dog wants to say hi to me! It is usually the typical labradorable type dog, a puppy who would also say hi to the tree, the bench and the mailbox, or the sweet little old dog who can pick out a dog lover in a minute.

image from grouchypuppy.com
The chocolate lab social club of Dolores Park in San Francisco

 

I confess that I have taken to placing myself purposefully in the spots where a dog is likely to walk by during an afternoon break. I can’t help it. It’s a gamble to see what each day brings me but such is life, and if it is simply the chance to have a moments engagement with a happy or tired little pup on their way home, it’s worth it. We all need to find our own forms of self-care. Besides gardening, and walking the city hills, a dose of d-o-g helps my peace of mind. Dogs remind me of all the good that is around us. These loving sentient beings remind me to find joy each day. How something as simple as a soft pet or quick stinky kiss can send a jolt of happiness into your immune system.

So for all of you folks out there who aren’t able to volunteer with dogs, or have a dog, don’t be afraid to search out the ones living around you right now. Walk over to your dog park and see what happens. Try a bench. Give yourself permission to sit and rest, and be open to the opportunity of an offer of a fluffy head or maybe just a slow walk by with a knowing wink (yes, I’ve gotten those too!). We’re all in this together.

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Helping dogs get another chance at a forever family, one step and flight at a time

Pilots N Paws is a wonderful nonprofit. Their volunteer pilots and plane owners assist specific rescues and shelters, sometimes flying animals directly to adopters waiting to be united with their new pup. They take to the skies to give adorable adoptable dogs a second chance at a forever home.

 

Giving a dog another chance at a happy life is one of the reasons I support Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and volunteer with them. I believe that dogs offer us humans another chance to show kindness, do good, be humane, and demonstrate the best of humankind towards animals. This is how both sides demonstrate the animal-human bond. Whenever I have offered the sweet older dogs compassion at Muttville, they have generously offered me affection and gratitude in return.

Image from grouchypuppy.com

 

The world needs our positive influence, our empathy can heal. When we have a compassionate response to those in need, the world notices.

 

Learn more:

Pilots N Paws:

Pilots N Paws® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our site is intended to be a meeting place for volunteers engaged in the valuable services of rescuing, sheltering and adopting animals, and volunteer pilots and plane owners willing to assist with animal transportation. The intent of Pilots N Paws is to provide an environment in which volunteers can come together and arrange or schedule rescue flights, overnight foster care or shelter, and all other related activities.

Through the Pilots N Paws discussion board, volunteers can exchange information regarding animal transports, coordinate and schedule transports, share rescue stories and recruit volunteers.

Read about more Muttville Senior Dog Rescue 

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