A Message from My Dog: Stop and Smell the Roses

Dogs are simple creatures. We can learn a lot from them. One of the most important lessons they can teach us is to stop and smell the roses. Really get your nose in there and savor the scent. Don’t like the smell? Then change it and move on. Don’t just keep pruning and fertilizing and hoping the smell is going to get better.Dog reading paper

Every morning, I take my dog Rudy out for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s a nice neighborhood. Lots of dogs for Rudy to greet along the way. I use the time to think through all my tasks for the day, challenges I’m facing, conversations I’ve had… I often get completely lost in my thoughts and hardly register when Rudy needs to make a pit stop.

Rudy has his favorite spots where he always wants to stop and “smell the roses.” (It’s not always roses, mind you. He’s not particular. And smelling isn’t the only thing he likes to do. Sorry, neighbors!) If you have a dog, I’m sure you are familiar with this routine.

During my walk this morning, it occurred to me… What goes through Rudy’s mind when we’re on these walks? While I’m cycling through my lengthy “to do” list, he seems equally focused on diligently smelling every bush, mailbox, and blade of grass along the way. He’s really taking his time, enjoying the process and the moment.

Conversely, I get so caught up in the minutia of daily life that I forget to stop and smell the roses, to enjoy where I am and what I’ve accomplished. My mind is in a million other places, so I’m not really thinking about the direction I’m going. I’m on autopilot, and I’ve realized that’s not such a good thing.

What about you? Are you walking through your days on autopilot? Cranking through the to-do list, not really thinking about where you’re headed or whether you’re even enjoying the walk? Tis’ the season for reflection and counting blessings, and this year I’m going to take a note from my dog. (Don’t worry, neighbors, your roses are safe.) Before I dive into making plans for 2017, I’m going to take a long walk with Rudy, savor my accomplishments, decide if I like the “smell” and, who knows, maybe head in a new direction.