As many of you know, I have a Golden retriever named Pancake. He’s 9 months old now, and I’m beginning to wonder if getting him was a good investment since he has so far shown absolutely no interest in retrieving any gold for me. But he’s cute, and I’m choosing to interpret his insistence on playing tug-of-war every 20 minutes as a thoughtful attempt to keep me from sitting at my computer too long, so I suppose I’ll keep him.
Now pretty much anyone who writes about what they’ve learned from their pets or children is going to say the same thing – patience, understanding, the importance of good communication, and an increased tolerance for cleaning up poop. But I don’t want to repeat the same stuff you’ve already heard. So here are 5 things I’ve learned from the dog that nobody’s ever bothered to put into an article.
A Greater Appreciation for Running Backs
Pancake can corner like a beast, while I corner more like a falling tree or a meteorite or something that flat-out doesn’t corner. You know how hard it is to change direction mid-run? Granted, I’m not usually wearing cleats when I chase Pancake around the house, but I’m not willing to lie to myself and pretend that doing so would make a huge difference. Well done, running backs! My dog would enjoy playing with you.
Practical Applications for Newton’s Laws of Force and Momentum
Pancake is still young enough that he thinks he can catch birds. I am still dumb enough that I walk him on an extendable leash. When he takes off and I catch him before the leash starts to pay out, I can control him pretty well. But if he gets a chance to accelerate to full bird-catching speed, he almost takes me with him. This would be a great experiment to do with your children to help them understand their science homework, and it would also be hilarious for me to watch. Please invite me.
The Advantages of Ambidexterity
See above. If I didn’t switch hands during our bird- and squirrel-chasing adventures, I’d only have one arm. Either that or I’d overdevelop the muscles in my right arm and shoulder until I eventually looked like my own before/after weight training ad. “Want to add 20 pounds of pure muscle mass fast? Then get PANCAKED!!!!”
The Power of Silence
Pancake knows several words – sit, stay, down, release, and baklava (I made that last one up). But you know what he does when you say things like, “Go find something to play with by yourself, I have work I need to do?” He stares at me like an idiot for a few seconds, and then he continues doing whatever he was doing. It reminds me very much of my brother, who eventually decided there was no point in attempting to rationalize with his 3-month old daughter about why she should seriously consider the benefits of a full night’s sleep. If you need to hear yourself talk, then knock yourself out – so long as you remember that sometimes you’re the only one who’s listening.
The Joy of Simple Pursuits
Pancake loves digging holes in the backyard, which currently resembles a grenade launching training ground. It drives my wife crazy, because this is the first yard she’s ever had and she wants it to look nice. Alas, Pancake is not to be stopped. And since he seems so happy doing it, it’s made me realize how important it is to find a few simple things to enjoy each and every day. Unfortunately for me, ‘hole digging’ is not going to be one of mine. You should have seen how mad my wife was when she caught me doing it.
So there you go. There’s a lot of weird things to learn from the world, as long as you’re willing to stare at them for long enough to let the revelations come. Seriously, type in ‘lessons my dog taught me about Newtonian physics’ and see how many options come up. I’ll bet this one ends up first!oHow Ho
Get rid of the retractable leash before you end up with a torn rotator cuff. I speak from experience, having had an unfortunate Golden Retriever / squirrel experience. He can get up too much speed by the time he gets to the end of the leash.
You’ll be happier and it will work out better in the long run. Shoulder surgery is no fun.
And get to work teaching him proper leash etiquette before he figures out that he has you trained. Goldens are really smart that way.
Let go of the leash!
Pancake is adorable and certainly the King!! I enjoyed the Life Lessons.
I had a chocolate lab once. After a party one night, I saw he wasn’t feeling so well. I learned that it’s never a good idea to go around asking people for a beer (that’s what he did).