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Happy Lights

Happy Lights

Happy Lights

When I still lived in Chicago a few years ago, I attended a yoga class in February. The instructor started class by offering gratitude for being on our mats. Then, she gave thanks for the gray day we had, saying that rather than grumble about the wet, cold, dark day, to look at the dreary clouds as a cashmere blanket wrapping us up.

I wasn’t buying it; it was only 5 p.m., but it felt like midnight. That time of year always makes me want to make a pot of soup that I can eat all week then spend the rest of the time hiding under the covers until the sun shines, even a tiny bit, throughout the day. However, I chose to build my life in a place where it feels wet and dark a random portion of the year, no matter what time of day it is. So, rather than grumble about it, I got myself a happy light. 

As I walked Gavin this Sunday, it made me think about how dogs are our happy lights. They beckon us to rest, with come-snuggle eyes, when our bodies are tired, yet our neverending to-do list tempts us. They kiss away tears when we’re sad. They get us moving outside for a walk when we need external motivation to enjoy nature and the sheer joy of being healthy enough to put one foot in front of the other. They make us laugh, getting us out of our overactive minds by eagerly waiting for us to throw the ball and then clumsily pouncing on it before deciding whether or not to bring it back.

The weather is cooling here in Ohio, so Gavin needs an extra layer for every ten degrees the temperature drops. Even sweatered up, my fellow cold-weather wimp’s love for people doesn’t waver.

He still wiggled and squirmed for my neighbor when she was taking her laundry downstairs. She stopped and oohed and awed over him while she told me that every time she saw him, his happiness made her day. Then, while we strolled through the neighborhood, a woman stopped her car, and baby talked to Gavin about how cute he was in his sweater. He obliged by smiling and doing his “I-don’t-know-you-but-I-love-you” dance.

I can’t take credit for my dog’s sweetness or his charm. But, I consider myself lucky that I have so many moments throughout the day that I experience his light and happiness. And it makes my day when he brightens someone else’s.