Updated: Jul 20
Dogs are simple creatures for the most part.
They get sad when you leave for work and they're happy when you get home. And they'll do pretty much whatever you want for a good piece of turkey sausage.
They love to chew on things, especially a good bone. And they become simply ecstatic over a good tug-of-war.
They revel in their play time, they relish their nap time, they enjoy a good game of fetch. But if you want to see a dog at his most content, watch him when he finds the perfect stick.
We're not so different from our canine friends, when you really think about it. Finding just the right stick makes everything better; at least for a little while: A glass of wine after a hard day at work; an episode of Friends after a tough break-up; a good crossword puzzle when you need to take your mind off life's little challenges. And when you lose a loved one, having a laptop nearby can really help you cope. You can write down all the things that you're feeling at the time, because somehow it's less painful that way.
We all need the little things that help us to get by.
Have you ever seen the look of pride in a dog's eyes when he picks up a wonderful stick along his walk? Oh sure, sometimes he'll plop down on the ground to chew on a stick he sees along the way, but those are just appetizers. When he finds the perfect stick, he won't stop to chew on it. No sir. He'll pick that one up and carry it all the way home. The perfect stick is to be savored.
Does your favorite meal taste better if you're eating it for a special reason? Maybe if it quenches your appetite but also soothes your soul, it makes it that much tastier: A hot dog at the fair that reminds you of when you were a young boy, riding a roller coaster for the very first time with mom and dad. Maybe a slice of pizza has a flavor that takes you back to a time before life got so complicated.
How do you know when you've found the perfect stick, anyway? Is it the texture? Is it the size? The thickness? Maybe it presents a bigger challenge than those little snack-sized sticks that you see scattered about. Maybe some sticks just look more impressive to the other dogs. That could certainly be a contributing factor. "Hey, Roscoe! Look at what I got. Pretty impressive, eh? How much of a badass am I?"
But when it comes right down to it, the perfect stick is just that: the perfect stick. We all need to find that perfect stick from time to time. And if you find one, pick it up. Take it home with you and savor it. Because who knows how long it will be until you find another one. Perfect sticks don't come around too often.