4 Reasons My Dog Is a Better Person Than Me

Despite initial challenges in puppy training, Bordeaux's vivacious and present-focused nature teaches valuable lessons in living for the moment, greeting others with enthusiasm, maintaining unshakable faith, and sacrificing comfort for relationships.

Written by Kevin S. Bemel

Sunday, 05 October 2014 03:30

In case you missed the announcement on my Facebook page (never miss another by liking my page), my family got a dog a few weeks ago. It has been over two years since our dogs Sasha and Jiggers died within a month of each. My wife dearly wanted the bump of a wet nose on her calves. So it was time to live the philosophy I espouse: Happy wife, happy life.


Image from Melanie Bemel

I drove three and a half hours from Naval Base Ventura County to the San Bernardino Animal Shelter to adopt a one-year-old Jack Russell Terrier that had recently been picked up. When I met her, at double the size, she obviously was not a pure breed, but she was sweet and calm (Unbeknownst to me she was still partially sedated from surgery the day before). On the ride home she laid her head on my lap and looked up at me the whole time with eyes that acknowledged I had saved her life.

After 24 hours to confirm her character I named her LT Kelly Post, call sign Bordeaux, Bordie for short. (Not the wine, Bordeaux is the best variety of See’s Candy)

The ensuing week showed us she had the energy and destructive ability of a puppy, which indeed the vet informed us she was. Housetraining began. Fortunately she learned quickly. Still to be resolved is her penchant for jumping on my daughter almost knocking her down and her fondness for slobberingly chewing on stuffed animals.

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While frustrating, in the short time she has been with my family, Bordeaux has put to shame my efforts at personal development. Here is how:

  1. She lives in the moment. Bordeaux never frets about the past or is worried about the future. She focuses intently on whatever she is doing at the moment: eating, chewing on her bone, finagling pets. Toys do not stand up long to her relentless pursuit of oral pleasure.
  2. She enthusiastically greets each person. Whether she has been alone all day or for just a few minutes, Bordeaux welcomes each person into our home with a headlong race to the door and furious tail wagging. No half measures, if you come to visit us you will know she is ecstatic to see you, every time.
  3. She has unshakable faith. Whereas my dog Jiggers begged to let me know what he wanted lest I would forget to give it to him, in her dog way Bordeaux conveys to me she has complete confidence I will take care of her needs. If there is something she wants that I am not giving her I get the sense she is perfectly happy to bide her time, secure in the knowledge that when I am ready I will provide it to her.
  4. She sacrifices some of her comfort for our relationship. Her preferred place to sleep is tucked close to my pillow on my side of the bed. Needless to say, given her size, we do not fit there together. It is not a problem from her perspective. She is delighted to move somewhere more convenient for me (Jiggers typically got huffy and left if I moved him from where he was sleeping). Often, she will come give me a kiss after I move her then go back to her place, letting me know there are no hard feelings. Our relationship remains undamaged.

Forgive my anthropomorphizing. Undoubtedly these behaviors are typical of dogs, though her personality is distinct from Jiggers’s. But whether intentional in a human way or merely instinctual, Bordeaux exemplifies traits that you and I should be proud to master.

What have you learned from your pet?

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