Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Wagging Tale of Jasmine & Gypsy: Forever Young

I watch so many stories being played out between these two creatures named Jasmine and Gypsy. Unfortunately, at least in my estimation, I rarely record them. Today I was watching a common scenario and found a few minutes to jot it down to share with you all. (at least I think there are people enough who read my blog for me to say you ALL!)

It was late morning. Jasmine, the four year old Boxer, had already settled down for the day, content to curl up for hours, only to raise her head if she heard a monster (any truck with a diesel engine or, worse, a UPS truck), or a ring at the doorbell. Gypsy, the one year old Beagle/terrier cross, was in no way ready to settle down for the day. The terrier that courses through her blood keeps her wanting to move at least 50 minutes of every hour of the day. She began begging Jasmine to play, which may look to some like a form of terrorizing of the older dog. First, she brings a toy to the settled-in older sibling and drops it by her mouth. Jasmine, deep mahogany coat lying on a matching dog bed, opens one sleepy eye and closes it quickly. Immediately Gypsy gets into her ‘play with me’ stance: down on front elbows, butt up in the air, with long white tipped black tail wagging furiously. Jasmine peeks again. At no real response, Gypsy begins barking, high pitched and loud. Absolutely nothing from Jasmine. (Although a sharp, “Gypsy, quiet,” from me curtails that behavior quickly.) As a last resort, she begins nipping at Jasmine’s back legs. This brings a low growl with one eye open. Not mean, just a warning that said, “Leave me alone. I do not want to play.” Gypsy picks up a chew toy and tears her teeth into it, lying close to her favorite canine friend.

Jasmine really is not that old, even for a Boxer. I love her to bits. She’s quiet and the most gentle, non-aggressive dog you’d ever meet (you cannot get her to play real tug games). She’s devoted and pretty well behaved (naturally would be better if I spent more time on training). She makes us laugh when she wiggles her little butt and that stubby tale moves like a metronome set at 140, and melts us with those big sad eyes that make us want to give in every time she asks permission to for ‘sofa time’ with us. But there’s not a productive bone in her body, either. She doesn’t care if life passes her by. She doesn’t even care if Gypsy gets more attention from us because we end up playing with her more often. She would be content to sleep away every day, as long as it was near us. It’s not because she’s old; it’s her personality.

Gypsy, on the other hand, is not only active because she is young. We’re thinking it’s that the terrier strain fills her with uncontainable energy. We watch her so often trying to sit still and be good, that sweet beagle face looking up, that is surely saying, “See? I’m sweet and quiet and good, too.” But under her skin we also see energy beginning to bubble and suddenly, without real warning, she jumps straight up in the air and then bounces, nipping at our hands, happy as a lark. We turn our backs on her, she sits and looks remorseful, again as if to say, “I just can’t help myself. Why do I do those things? I so want to be a good girl.”

What I thought of today, though, as annoying as this jumping by her is to us, Gypsy is getting everything out of life there is to get. She is not letting life pass her by. She is aware of every movement around her and is fast as lightning to get as close to it or a sound as she can for closer investigation. She’s happy and waggy and loving and devoted. And she might stay young forever because of that attitude.

Maybe I should take a lesson from two of my favorite canines. There’s certainly a time in each day to relax. But I do not want life to pass me by. I want to be in life. I want to be full of life. I want to have uncontainable energy that is ready to bubble over at any given moment. I want my outlook on life to be forever young.

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