You can learn a lot from a dog…

Last night, lying in bed trying to fall asleep, I started thinking about lessons learned, and lessons yet to come. I’m struck by the way Max simply adapts to whatever comes his way.

When we were traveling – moving from one town to the next every day – he just jumped up into the car when asked, got out when we arrived, and knew the whole check-in drill at the hotels.

Home was whatever room we were in each night. Neighborhood was wherever we walked. Friends were everywhere.

According to the “experts,” for a dog, there is no future, no past, just now. “They” claim that dogs have no sense of time. I’m not sure I buy all of that.

Since Max came into my life a little over a year ago, I’ve observed how he has an amazing internal clock. He wakes up every morning between 6:40 and 6:47 AM – probably at the same minute every morning if I paid enough attention. How does he get me out of bed? With a soft little “Mffph!” not a bark as much as a little whisper.

And he knows that every evening between 5:30 and 6 I will ask him if he wants food. If I don’t ask the magic question on time? He starts to hover around me, looking searchingly into my face. Almost as if he’s asking Where’s my food?

In a few days, when I begin packing up my bag, staging things by the front door, he’ll realize that this little interlude is coming to an end. This home, too, is going to be left behind. And he will be ready to get in the car and head on down the road. Ready to get back into the travel groove, as we head towards our real home.

I do find that Max lives in The NOW, more than willing to lie at my feet while I write, sit in the car while I drive, and walk with me to town if that’s what strikes my fancy. Play comes in waves as he re-discovers a toy tucked in a corner, or remembers that his favorite ball is on the bed, the couch, or under the coffee table.

Having to slow down after our car crash, I’m trying to be more in The NOW like Max. Afternoon naps, morning walks, last walk of the evening observing the sky… Slowing. Pausing. Seeing. Being.

I’ve learned a lot from that dog. And I expect he will continue to teach me, silently, soulfully, with that deep abiding patience that he works so hard to maintain.


About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in New Mexico, On the Road, Random thoughts, Silver City, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to You can learn a lot from a dog…

  1. guy oliver says:

    I have never seen this so well put, it is inspirational even to people who do now have a dog.
    I want you to listen to Cindy and also to me, publish this, it is needed.

  2. hank says:

    snow’s melting fast. beautiful here today. we miss you guys

  3. Cici Eberle says:

    I love this post……….we are so lucky to have these furry soulful creatures in our lives ; )

  4. sarah doremus says:

    Wonderful. Read Billy Collins poem ‘Dharma’ speaks to just what you are talking about. hugs sarah, sitting with her patient companions W&C

  5. Awwwww, couldn’t be more true, Mom. . . Dogs do have incredible internal clocks and understand emotional weather way better than we humans do. The thing is, he probably wouldn’t be so patient if you hadn’t taught him to be. . .

  6. Catherine says:


    I think what Max might add is that home is wherever YOU are. You are the touchstone in his world that makes sure he’s safe. You’re mom, you’re home, you’re his source of love as much as he is yours.

    I too, have loved reading your thoughts and travels every day. Catherine

  7. Ellie Adams says:

    A lovely and humble tribute to sweet Max!!

  8. mmmmmm (I totally agree. This is a very special post – thank you!)

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