I went for a walk this morning along the creek and the highlight was watching a large white dog cavorting along the marsh banks on the far side. At first he seemed to be all alone but eventually His Person appeared walking along the raised path. It seemed like His Person was either on the phone or listening to music and not really paying much attention to his Big White Dog.
We have a leash law in our community, but there are two paths along the creek and I was walking on the paved side where there is a wide bike path and everyone walks with dogs on leashes, kids in strollers, bikes and people and dogs all sharing the road. The opposite side of the creek is more of the wild side. The path is not wide enough for people and bikes, there is some meandering and it’s closer to the property fences and surrounding bushes. It’s the perfect side for renegade owners to let their hounds go off leash. I know I would walk on that side and let my fido off leash if I had a dog.
So back to Big White Dog.
When I first saw him he was hanging by the edge of the creek, looking up at His Person, who was not paying any attention. The next thing I saw was the dog just went for it. He took a running leap into the creek and began swimming. Back and forth he paddled, head just out of the water. As I continued my walk I would occasionally glance over to the other side of the creek and catch a glimpse of my friend. One moment I saw him leaping up out of the water onto the marsh bank. You could sense that he was sinking into the mud as he pushed his body up and out, over and over again, leaping along the banks, wet, sort of white and with dog abandon! I started to laugh because I felt such joy in that moment. He was leaping, I was laughing and His Person was tuned in elsewhere.
As I continued my walk I realized that we all have an INNER DOG that just wants to play, wants to swim in the muddy creek, leap along the banks, get our white fur all muddy and matted, wet and wild.
Dogs are such social creatures: there was that moment, he was looking for approval: a “Yes, it’s OK to get wet today.” Then I realized that could be me, asking for permission to just DO IT. To leap out and get wet and dirty, just for the sheer joy and pleasure of it. But who is giving me that permission? The Big White Dog’s Person, “the responsible party” had gone off the reservation, into techland and either didn’t care about bringing home a wet white dog, or didn’t notice. Hey, that was me too, that person who should be in control, but really didn’t care about the consequences, who just wanted to let my INNER DOG go and run and leap and play.
It was a great walk today. I saw something about myself. I will remember that Big White Dog when I am feeling leashed in by my own sense of responsibility, by the rules I have imposed on my life. I believe we all need to take our INNER DOG for a walk each day and sometimes look the other way and allow a little leaping in the mud.