Trish Matthies

Trish Matthies

Doggie DOGma: The Spiritual Lessons I learn from my dogs

DOGma Lesson: "Puppy Love or True Love?"

Most of us have experienced love in our lives...love from friends, family, children, pets, a spouse or partner. If we are lucky, we may find a true love relationship with our soul mate. This soul mate connection is unlike any other love we may experience...the bond seems to be instant and the ties  stronger.

 

At 9months old, my Newfy Goliath had a passive aggressive behavior of dropping his then 90lb body to the ground in protest of anything he did not want to do...get into the car...go up stairs....you name it. So I decided to try puppy school. The first night of training we met another Newf...a female named Molly. In the past, when Goliath met other dogs, he would do his polite sniff and greet, maybe a little pup wrestling, but that was the extent of his interest. All the female dogs seemed to love my big boy, he was the stud of the neighborhood. But he didn't appear to care about them and often seemed...well...bored with them. But when he met Molly it was obviously different. He was so excited the two couldn't stay separated, they kissed each other's ears, wrestled, chased, barked, wagged and seemed to experience what I called "Puppy Love." Every week Goliath would whine for 20mins while driving to school, knowing he would be seeing Molly. He was like a teenage boy smitten by his first love. This somewhat annoying but at the same time endearing behavior continued throughout his 2 yrs of training. Over the years we continued to meet up with Molly and her owners, letting the two love birds get a chance to run and play and kiss. And whenever they saw each other it was like no time had passed, they simply picked up from where they left off. As the dogs got older, traveling in cars became too difficult, and sadly the love pair had finally become separated by distance. But even up to the last year of his life if I whispered the word Molly to Goliath he would suddenly jerk his head to look at me as if asking if we would be seeing her. Through all the years there was never another dog that received his attention and devotion like Molly. Before having Goliath, I had never thought dogs could have such clearly strong emotions for other dogs, perhaps even loving them. But after experiencing their affections for each other over the years, even up until the end, I had realized Molly was much more than puppy love, she was his true love.

 

So I have learned when we are lucky enough to find a true love....appreciate it. Don't let a busy life separate you...make the time to reconnect, for a little wrestling, running, or wagging. Life is just too short,   not to spend it with the one you love, especially your true love.

 

 Trish Matthies-Vega

"Wag more, bark less."

Goliath and Molly

DOGma Lesson: "Just Sit"

Like many of us in today's world, I am someone that is always on the go. I run my own reiki practice, manage my wellness center, tend to family matters...the house,  shopping, cleaning, and occasionally cooking (ok "rarely" cooking is more accurate). There is always something on my  To Do list. I do one task while I'm already planning how I would accomplish the next one. Although this might be a great way to multi-task, it is not such a great way to live a peaceful and balanced life.

 

Many years ago I was out walking Goliath (my beautiful Landseer Newfoundland) and I was thinking "as soon as this walk is over I will have to go do computer work,  then run those errands "...my usual self-banter. It was going to be a quick walk to the field, then back home. We were walking along at a good clip, when suddenly Goliath just SAT!  No warning...while in mid stride...he just sat himself down. He was positioned on the hill that looked down over the field. I gave him a little encouragement,  "let's go",...nothing, he just sat and stared out over the view. So then I gave his leash a little tug ...still nothing, he was holding his own sit down protest...not a budge. If a 140 pound Newf doesn't want to move, you can't move him, not easily anyway. Quickly realizing I was losing this battle (ok it was clearly already lost!) I was just about to get frustrated when I decided to take a deep breath. Suddenly I realized WOW, it was a beautiful spring day, one of the first warm days of the season. I was too busy to be aware of my surroundings, too busy to enjoy the simple pleasures of life...breathing in a spring day. So I decided to take Goliath's lead for a change, and to join him.  The two of us sat there for a while, together. Feeling the warm sun, breathing in the fresh air of the season, listening to the songs of birds...just being still....just sitting.

 

So now when I start to run crazy in multiple directions with too much on my to do list, I remember to take Goliath's lead and be still ...and just sit. Life will happen whether we are moving at super speed or just sitting for a moment of stillness, but at least then we can enjoy the view.

 

 Trish Matthies-Vega

"Wag more, bark less."

 

Goliath and me

 

 

DOGma Lesson: "Catching Snowflakes"

 

Loki catching snow flakes

 

     I am sure you are like me, crazy around the holiday season. It doesn't seem to matter whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, or Yule....the holidays equal stress. It is the season of rushing too much, spending too much, doing too much, and eating too much. We all have our own ideas of how we want the holidays to go each year. "This year will be better", or "This year we will all get along"...we all have our own expectations. But with all this anticipation and preparation, sometimes the true joy of the season can slip by us.

 

     One year I decided to do what all good doggie moms do...I wanted to take photos of my goldendoodle Loki for our holiday cards. I wanted a winter wonder scene, so I waited for the first snow. I noticed a couple flakes outside my window, so I leapt at the opportunity.  I was in the yard with Loki, camera, props, and treats in hand (no I am not beyond using bribery) asking him to sit pretty, look this way, lay down, sit up, be still and of course... stay, stay, stay! With a little help with his favorite treats, I started snapping away. I was focused on getting a cute photo, getting them developed, mailing them out and the other hundred things on my holiday To Do list. In the midst of taking photos Loki kept moving and ruined yet another perfect shot. But then when I looked at the photo screen I realized, he was catching snowflakes!  It was so sweet and so dogmic. He was doing what dogs do best, enjoying his surroundings and just "being".  I was so touched by his simple gesture that I joined him and caught a few flakes of my own.

 

     So now every snow day, we take time to catch some snowflakes and enjoy the true pleasure of the season. I hope this year, your holiday To Do list includes catching snowflakes!!!

  

Trish Matthies-Vega

"Wag more, bark less."

DOGma Lesson: "Loving Your Reflection"

    When I look in the mirror there are days I say, "hmmm not so bad." Then there are other days when all I see are the wrinkles, the tired eyes, or the too tight jeans. I know I am not alone, I know that many of us have this response. Too often we become our own worst critics. The things we say to our reflections we would never say to a friend we care about. Can you imagine meeting a friend for coffee, looking at her and saying..."wow you gained weight".....or "you look awful today"....or how about..."wow, those wrinkle make you look old"! Yet, we don't think twice about being so harsh to our own reflections.

     The first time my pup Luna saw her reflection, she wanted to make friends with the "mirror puppy." It was quite adorable, watching her paw the mirror and try to lick and kiss it. She was all about accepting this new puppy with no reserve. Luna is now 1 1/2yrs old, and when she sees her reflection she knows it is her. But she still loves to look at herself, she does a dance and checks herself out happily. Dogs do not dish out harsh words or judgment at their reflection, they just see the reflection for what it is and not their arch enemy to criticize.

     So Luna has made me attempt to be more like her. I try to be loving and accepting of my own reflection, with no harsh judgments. Her actions have inspired me to stop treating what I see in the mirror as my arch enemy, and instead attempt a loving friendship with my own reflection!

 

Trish Matthies-Vega

"Wag more, bark less."

Luna loving her reflection!

 

 

 

DOGma Lesson: "Patience"

     I am a woman of little patience, I take after my father. I am not sure if it comes from always having someone  to meet or someplace to go and too much to do. I would rather drive 15 minutes to another restaurant than to wait anything longer than 10 minutes. I know this makes no sense, but I do it. And waiting in lines, forget it. I can't tell you how many great pairs of shoes I have left behind due to the line in a department store.  

 

     When we leave our dogs in the morning to go to work, they understand that we are gone for sometimes hours if not the whole day. And in that long time span they wait patiently for our return.  My 5yr old Goldendoodle Loki has been conditioned to sit politely to be petted when I come in and to remain calm under all circumstances. Luna, my 1 1/2 year old, not so much. She is a ball of energy and insists on showing you all her love in those first 2 minutes upon returning home. But when I watch my dogs I notice they wait sometimes with grace (like Loki), sometimes with excitement (like Luna) ...but always with patience. I find this amazing for such supposedly simple animals.

 

     So now when I am stuck in the action of waiting like a long line at the mall, or the waiting for a late friend for coffee... I use that time to breathe, relax, and practice the art of doggie patience....sometimes with grace, and sometimes with excitement.

 

Trish Matthies-Vega

"Wag more, bark less."

 

 

 

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