Holy Cross College | Ellenbrook
'I came that they may have life, and have it to the full' John 10:10

Learning from dogs


When I was young, my family always had dogs. Some were working dogs, as my father had a sheep trucking business, and others were pets, mongrels and pure breeds alike. I loved them – when I was young. Now, I am not really a dog person and I am always astounded how so many people have dogs and love them so much.
We often say that dog-owners look like their dog. Whether this is true or not, I think we influence the character of our dogs and, in turn, they can influence us.
We can learn some important lessons from our dogs. Watch them in the morning. The first thing they do is have a good stretch. Then they walk, and breathe deeply. They sniff the air. They pick up on a scent.
A good walk makes dogs happy. Rolling in the grass makes them happy. Rolling over in the grass after a good walk and having a drink of water-that’s the ultimate happiness.
Shakespeare said there were “tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones”.
We are animals too. So ease yourself into your day the way dogs do. Take the time to enjoy getting the day started, the walk to school, seeing the world coming awake around you, inhaling the scents and sounds of the new day.
Work like a dog. Not straining and forcing yourself to do things you hate but by learning to enjoy your work and looking forward to each new day. Once you have decided on your goals, practise every day and make the most of simple things to help you.
For instance, like dogs use the support of your pack – your family and your friends Listen to what they can teach you. Dogs listen a lot. “Many dogs can understand almost every word humans say, while humans seldom learn to recognise more than half a dozen barks, if that”. (101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith)
Take the help of your pack. And help them in return.
Relax. Look at dogs when they are most involved in an activity. They are also at their most relaxed, their muscles loose, their movements fluid. Humans tense up. Dogs relax.
“He could tell by the way animals walked that they were keeping time to some kind of music. Maybe it was the song in their own heart that they walked to. (Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer)
If you don’t accomplish your goal – or if you do – just keep going. Dogs, whether they win or lose, still celebrate. “Wise dogs smile you know “(The Wizard’s Tears by Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton) And enjoy a roll in the grass.
So, when you get out of bed tomorrow morning, have a good stretch, go for a walk, breathe deeply and sniff the air. It’s going to be a wonderful day!
Acknowledgement: Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer; Martha Beck.

Peter Collins
Acting Principal