I love dogs. This is no big secret. I like living with them. I enjoy being around them. I have loved a few dogs during the span of my life so far. Each time I lose a beloved dog, I swear it will be the last time. Because losing hurts too much. And yet, once a little time passes, I sign up for it all over again: all the laughter, all the love, and all the tears, too. I am one of those people who needs at least one pooch in their life at all times.
I love watching my dogs live their lives. It’s fun to try and figure out what they’re thinking at any given moment. With my current pups, I often believe they aren’t thinking anything in particular. This is okay. I’ve known “thinking” dogs, and I’ve known goofy dogs, too. My fuzzballs fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. They think about how to get extra treats and how to wriggle into their favorite spots on the sofa. But, overall, they are goofballs. They are happy dogs. This is the main thing. I love seeing a happy dog with a silly grin on its face.
Both of my dogs love to bask. They have vastly different styles, but they both seem to get immeasurable joy out of sitting in the sun.
Fae has a favorite corner in our yard. Winter tends to be hard on our back yard. Between off and on freezing temperatures and the cycle of snow piling up and then melting, all of the grass in our tiny yard dies off every winter. It leaves behind a muddy, mucky mess. Once the weather turns nice and warms up a little bit, the grass starts to grow back in her “sun spot”. This is the moment Fae has been waiting for, all winter long.
She doesn’t camp out there right away. She spends some time scoping things out, first. After all, Fae is a cautious princess-dog. For a few days before true spring-like weather hits, she inspects her corner each time she heads outside for a potty break. She sniffs all around, as if checking to see how well her grass is growing and if all the muddy bits are covered up yet. Once the grass has come in nicely and we get our first string of balmy days, she is a maniac for her sunny corner. She whines every five minutes or so to go outside, and, when I check on her, she is always there: in her basking spot, stretched out with her eyes closed and her face turned toward the sun.
Shiner likes to bask, too. I’ve thought about this, and I’ve come to realize that basking is not a simple thing when you are a black and white dog. Being mostly black on top — where the sun normally hits — Shiner has to be a bit more pragmatic about things. He enjoys running around in the yard, acting like a goofball and dodging the sun’s rays for a bit. After about ten minutes, he’s had enough of outdoors, and he wants to come in. He is bossy and usually wants Fae to come inside with him, but she is good at ignoring his subtle (and not-so-subtle) cues. Eventually, he gives up on her and heads inside on his own. There will be no outdoor sun worship for this boy.
Shiner has a basking spot in our kitchen. There is one place, near the pantry and next to our sliding glass doors, where the sun hits for a good part of the day. The floor is white linoleum, and the sun heats it nicely through the glass door. It is toasty warm and comfortable. But, even better, this spot has a floor vent for our air conditioner. Shiner likes to spread out here, half in the sun and half over the vent. He looks at me every time and sighs with contentment. Truly, he has found the best of both worlds!
From watching my dogs, I’ve come to realize basking isn’t an active sort of thing. It’s more of a close-your-eyes-and-sit-back activity. There is something indulgent and hedonistic about it.
I love to watch both of my dogs worship the sun in their own, individual ways. They seem the very definition of “peace” and “contentment”. They are happy and comfortable and completely at ease with their place in the universe. They are living in and for that one moment in time. They are feeling every, single second of it in the best way possible. They aren’t worried about what might happen tomorrow — or even in the next ten minutes. They aren’t stressed about getting everything done, or about how they are going to keep from disappointing all the people in their lives who count on them. They aren’t wondering what’s for dinner or when dinner might be or, even, whether or not there will be dinner. It is enough, in that moment, just to sit in the sun.
I watch them … and smile … and think to myself, “I want to live like that.”