Happiness is a Warm Doggy

My pal.
My pal.

A few years ago, on a scorching hot workday in August, I visited a Princeton area farm. I was there to oversee a photo shoot for The Lawrentian, and, while the place was idyllic and lovely, I would’ve rather been doing almost anything else — as long as that “anything else” included air-conditioning.

It was one of those days where it felt like I was being assaulted by the sun. A few minutes after we had begun to work, I was soaked through, exhausted, and crabby beyond words.

During a break in the action, I wandered over to the farm store to buy a frozen cider slushie and an apple donut. As I sat there on the store’s covered porch and ate, an old yellow dog lying in the sun in front of me raised her sleepy head, glanced in my direction and decided that I was the type of fellow she’d like to get to know better. She toddled over and flopped down next to me as if we belonged together.

I was sort of honored.

I pet her belly with my left hand and continued to eat with my right.

“This,” I remember thinking, “is what I want my heaven to be like.”

This moment of bliss was quite a turnaround for me. Ten minutes before I met that dog, I was grumbling about the heat. Five minutes after that, I was filled with exhausted relief, thanking God for creating a world that included the cider slushie. And five minutes after that, my heart was full of peace and joy.

I never wanted that moment to end. And, in a way, it didn’t; every time I recall it, I relive it, and I can’t help but smile.

That’s pretty much the way happiness works, I think. At least it’s the way it works for me. It is at once elusive and right in front of my face.

Wanna share a small, happy moment? Please do! Write me a comment!

45 Replies to “Happiness is a Warm Doggy”

  1. That cider slushie sounds so good! Especially on a hot day.

    My personal moment of bliss: being at the airport in Amsterdam (coming back from visiting friends in Luxembourg), facing a VERY long flight back home, and being desperate for something good to read, in English. And then I spotted it….a good, thick book of short stories from one of my favorite authors: Dick Francis. WIN! Almost danced a jig right in the store aisle.

  2. I’m highly curios as to what your idea of “scorching heat” is, though you do have the month of the year right. 😀

    But yes, it’s amazing what simply viewing a circumstance from a different perspective will do to change our attitude.

    Right now, my main frustration is having time to a) write, or b) garden. Both of them keep getting interrupted by things out of my control, so I have to keep looking at where I’ve reached in my progress, rather than where I *think* I should be. Because even slow progress is better than nothing…

    At least, that’s what I have to keep telling myself!

    1. I don’t remember the temperature, but the humidity must have been at about 900%. The pre-dog part of the day smacked me upside the head.

      Good luck with your writing and gardening efforts, my friend. Do try to remember some little happy moments when frustration sets in.

  3. Here’s my story.

    I had a house that had been used as a rental and decided to sell it. Since I no longer lived in the area, I planned a full weekend to whip it into shape before listing it. When I arrived Friday evening the place was a complete disaster…every room was littered with remains of the previous tenant.

    Slightly overwhelmed, I began the task of sorting out the trash from the donate to charity pile, determined to get the house ready for the clean up crew that I intended to hire the next day.
    The next day the weather was a bit drizzly and as I entered the Home Depot parking lot, there were only a few guys milling about looking for work. I selected three and brought them back to the house.

    I don’t think I have ever witnessed such a hard working crew. In six hours, we cleaned the house from top to bottom, cleared out a shed loaded with years of shed stuff and completely cleaned up the landscape…including trimming all the hedges. After a pizza lunch, we put the finishing touches on the windows and shampooed all the carpets…we were done!

    I couldn’t believe that we had accomplished so much in such a short period time! I thanked my helpers and paid them generously. As I gave the money to the first one, he started to divide it up between the three of them. I shook my head, No, and said, “This is for you. You really did a great job!” His eyes welled up with tears as he thanked and they left.

    As I drove away, I was able to say goodbye to that chapter of my life, still amazed at all that had been accomplished in less than 24 hours. And, that excitement went up just one more notch when I realized that, because we got done so quickly, I would be able to watch the Superbowl which was scheduled for the next day. A game that I dearly wanted to see but had more pressing obligations to deal with. It really was a win/win trip for everyone involved.

    1. The thrill of accomplishment is always a great joy. Little can beat that “Wow. I did it!” feeling.

      Actually the “Wow. I did it! And now I can relax!” feeling is better.

      Great story, Mrs. P. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. I’ve been feeling like crap all week (as you know)—but last night, I was on the couch with a cup of hot peppermint tea, an afghan, a good book, and a warm cat snuggled into my tummy, and I knew I would live. And then I fell asleep and stayed there, dreamless, for six hours. Lovely.

  5. Did you ever see Funny Farm with Chevy Chase? He has a dog, simply called “Yellow Dog” who does nothing buy lay there, looking content. Ah, the life of a dog. I get lots of small, happy moments watching that movie, it’s hilarious.

  6. Mine was visiting my mother-in-law for her 80th birthday, a crazy busy time surrounded by people who don’t always get along that well. I got up early one morning while everyone else was still asleep and made a cup of tea and took it out on the porch. This was in Sequim, WA, and just the intense smell of the clean air, the fragrance of pine and earth and moisture, seeing horses playing in the field across the way, and the Olympic Mountains in the background was such an incredible sensory moment for me. Every time I get a whiff of that wet piney earthy smell now, I am transported back there. Great post!

  7. What a nice moment of pure happy! It is the little moments I savor too. Yesterday I saw my parents and when my dad put out his arms before I left it was wonderful to see wanted a hug. Wishing you a wonderful day!

  8. Happiness is coming home on a cold, wet evening after work to find your housemate has laid a fire for you in the grate and all you have to do is strike a match. Happiness in eating wild raspberries from the bushes you pass as you walk to the river for a swim. Happiness is cooking a meal that has been so enjoyed by those you made it for there’s not a scrap left and everyone’s full. smiling and satisfied. I’m lucky enough to be able to say all of these have happened to me more than once:-)

  9. Oh lovely story. Mine is every night when I see the kids sleeping always with a little peep of a smile on their lips. I’m pretty sure I could sell tickets to watch babies sleep because it is that magical.

  10. I lost a beautiful necklace that belonged to my grandmother. I couldn’t find it anywhere in my apartment, and couldn’t remember when I had last worn it. Perhaps the chain had broken and I hadn’t noticed? After two years and two moves, I found it in the pocket of a suit jacket. I have no idea how it got there, but I’ll never forget being so flooded with happiness and relief that I sank right down to the floor!

  11. What a great picture and visual image of a moment. I can’t think of anything comparable. However, my assistant boss just gave me three pieces of candy for doing a good job. As I ate the candy, with mixed feelings of being treated somewhat like a housepet and somewhat like somebody who enjoys candy a great deal, I thought, why is it so hot in here? Then, in reverse order from your experience, I became crabby and came to your blog for crabbiness relief.

  12. I can’t tell you how much I love this post. Cold slushie + friendly dog = happiness and peace. For me, it’s usually coffee + cat = happiness and peace, but it’s the same idea.

    There was one occasion several years ago that I remember fondly. I was at a history conference at the University of Maryland. A friend of mine was attending a morning session that I had no interest in, so I just hung out and waited for her. It was a warm day but not too warm, and I was sitting on a bench in the sun. There was a nice breeze, and I had a cup of coffee, and squirrels were romping around nearby. I just sat there with my coffee, watching the squirrels, enjoying the breeze and the sun, and I thought, “This is GOOD.”

    1. That’s a very nice moment.

      I, too, can appreciate the joy of a good cuppa coffee. A nice latte with an extra shot or three on a chilly day makes the world go ’round.

      And, of course, we are both of one mind, squirrel-wise.

  13. Two moments of happiness from the last few days, and one involving a dog. 1. Sitting down at 10 PM on Saturday night, after completing my task for a Big Epic Girl Scout Camping event – details will be a blog post later – and having a chocolate chip cookie and hot chocolate. 2. Coming home from work yesterday to be greeted by my dog, who had been gone being dog-sat for the past 5 days. Happiness truly is a warm doggy.

  14. Great post – there’s something about dogs that can get you through anything. Thank goodness for such amazing creatures. Although mine is snoring pretty loudly right now…

  15. Wow, what a great and personal vignette – a snapshot of a wonderful moment in life, and best of all, one that is within reach of all of us.

  16. Oh, sooo many moments of happiness. The problem is, we are usually so busy, we don’t take the time to STOP and realize that flash of ‘oh wow, this is wonderful.’ The best one that comes to mind for me is many years ago, on vacation, in a little cabana in Maui, and my two (youngish kids at the time) and my guy and I were all resting in the middle of the day on the big king-size bed, reading and napping after hours of swimming. A tropical breeze was filling the air with flowery scent, my son’s book had fallen down as his head rolled back in sleep with his mouth open, my daughter immersed in her own book with a smile, my man snoring softly, and I thought, “it will not ever get any better than this…”

    Thank you for writing so beautifully about a ‘happiness’ moment. Love your paraphrase from John Lennon, “Happiness IS a warm dog,” for sure.

    1. That is a wonderful, happy memory — the sleepy, blissed out calm after a busy day. Thanks for sharing that.

      Funny, I wasn’t even thinking of John Lennon; I was paraphrasing Charles Schulz. The point is, they were both right.

  17. Reaching a pass in the sierra – weary, hot, and aching, but suddenly filled with a sense of accomplishment that you were able to acheive something so few people do, and then get to view the dropping valleys, the lush greens, the granite cliffs cascading down on either side of that pass, which is a sight that once again only a few people ever get to see. That’s one of the four things I would consider my little piece of heaven…

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