Throw Out Fifty Things


The other night as I lay in bed, I heard this big, fat sighing sound. Actually, it was a sigh with a little moan at the end. When Willa, our Golden Retriever, jumped up on top of me (she weighs 70 pounds) and started licking my face, I realized the sigh came from me. Willa was worried. She was relentless in her licking. She started with my neck, moved up to my cheeks, my ears, my eyes and was about to start all over again when I said, "Look, I'm OK, I really am. It was just a sigh..."

Then I started to think about it and realized I'd gotten into the "sighing habit" lately and it wasn't good. I seem to be sighing about the smallest things: I can't find my cell phone, my pants have a spot on them, my hair looks terrible form the humidity, they discontinuted my favorite lipstick - whatever. Here's the thing, when you hear yourself sigh, it depresses you. One sigh begets another. And all that sighing makes you feel that things are really bad - when they're only annoyingly bad, or just plain inconvenient. And then others around you will start sighing, too.

When Willla gave up on the licking, she stretched out next to me, got herself settled and..... sighed. I'm not kidding. She gave out a big sigh with a little moan at the end. "What have I done?" I thought. "This has got to stop. Pretty soon everyone I know will be sighing and looking anxious and annoyed and their dogs will be frantically licking...God knows where it will end."

So here's what I decided: enough with the sighing, enough with the moaning. When I feel a little sigh/moan coming on I'm going to stifle it and hum a few bars of "The Bitch is Back" or recite some of the dialogue (I've memorized it all) from "The Two Thousand Year Old Man" or pretend I've just gotten a standing ovation on "Dancing With the Stars." Maybe you'll want to do it, too. I mean what kind of example do we want to set for our dogs? Think about it.

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Comment by Jinny on August 23, 2009 at 11:32am
Our dogs really do take cues from our moods. After bringing home 5 boxes of files and books from my office (after 25 years as a university professor, I retired and was thrilled to give away most of my books), I was down in the dumps figuring out how I was going to find room for the stuff. My golden retrievers, Dakota 12 yrs old and Honeybear 4 yrs old, knew to give mom some space. I finally figured it out: gave away more books and stacked the other stuff on bookshelves in the basement. Talk about a sigh of relief! I then told the kids all was well and I wouldn't have to leave early in the morning anymore. And they knew. No more sighing in our household. BTW, friends, colleagues, and students were so delighted to inherit my books!

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