"Get busy living or get busy dying"
Well known quote by character "Red" Redding, played by Morgan Freeman, in The Shawshank Redemption, a concept a dog never has to think about. Dogs are always getting busy living and Winnie who is no exception is a full throttle kinda dog. Always pushing forward, onward, never looking back and barely looking into the future.
One afternoon while walking in Capitola on the trail along the Soquel Creek, Winnie leaped to the left under some shrubs following a skittering little bird which had hopped across our path. The bird was crafty for unbeknownst to us, on the other side of the shrubs was a retaining wall with a three foot drop into the creek. Now, a bird can just take flight when the solid ground disapears, but a Puggle? she'd have to jump and then swim. Trouble was not the swimming, Winnie is actually a good swimmer, or the jumping, we've seen Winnie jump into the Russian River before. The trouble was Soquel creek has no shores. Winnie would have been hard to retrieve and she couldn't climb out on her own. It could have been real bad. Winnie put on the brakes in the knick of time and burst back out from under the shrubs.
I was paralyzed with fear after the scenarios each aspect of danger Winnie had faced became clear. She could have fallen in, may have had to swim a ways in one direction or another for quite a ways to get out. How would we have directed her? Leaping into the dense under brush of those shrubs, Winnie could have gotten scratched by a branch or gotten her eye poked out. I didn't even know where the nearest Emergency Vetrinarian is! While these horrors played out in my mind, Winnie had already moved on. There was a lizard sunning himself on the path and Winnie just had to harrass it. She pounced as the lizard slipped into a crevice between the bricks of a border fence on our right. Sniffing hard at the crack, Winnie pushed her nose in for a good snout full of lizard essence. She filed away the scent for future recall.
Winnie was continuing on in joyful bliss while I was shackled by fears of what could have happened. Heart pounding, I was really visualizing the drama. I was assessing the sharpness of the twigs in the shrubs, I was scanning the creek banks for the best location I would have wanted Winnie to go. I was trying to muster up enough bravery to have jumped into the water to save her. Humans can learn more about themselves and life in one afternoon spent with a dog than years of couch time with a trained professional who always wants to know, "How did that make you feel?" Scared beyond reason. "Why?" Now, that is the real question.
The point is, Winnie didn't spend too much time thinking about what came next. Winnie's actions showed me there would be plenty of time for that when she knew what was next and we can't know til it actually happens. Let things unfold like a moving screen, participate in the scene before you so you can move on to the next screen. And most importantly, don't miss out on the lizard because you are imagining you are drowning in the creek. "Red"Redding used up a lot of his precious lifetime before he learned, but he realized it's never too late. It isn't too late for any of us, So get busy.