How Your Dog Can Teach You How to Behave

Happy-demonstrating the right to remain silent

I loved my dog, Happy, because he wasn’t an annoying barker like some dogs. He only barked when he really felt something. If something was truly important or if someone was truly in danger.

Why can’t we all be more like our canine friends? Only speak words of importance. You have the right to remain silent: use it! Don’t stand by and growl. Small dogs bark a lot because they don’t have another defense system. But after a while, nobody pays any attention to them.

Don’t bark and bark. Say something once. Twice, tops, and then let it go.

Don’t beg for treats at the table of life—go find your own indulgences. You deserve more than sitting around waiting for people to throw you a bone. You don’t have to be satisfied with leftovers.

Be loyal. Forgive people. Love them unconditionally, the way your dog loves you.

And finally, don’t wander in other people’s yards, digging in their dirt. Don’t gossip. Stay focused on yourself and what’s happening inside your own garden, the garden of your soul.

This is Happy modeling his former girlfriend, Coco’s, Luis Vuitton dog collar. My friend–I’ll call him Mr. Expendable Income, actually went out to buy Coco a collar at the nearest Luis Vuitton. Happy was modeling the collar. Hit Like if you like Happy modeling Luis Vuitton just as much as you like Keith Richards!

Be a hero in your own life. Don’t bark. Just get things done.


About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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2 Responses to How Your Dog Can Teach You How to Behave

  1. Happy makes me happy–what a wonderful dog–and our dog Maggie would love to have him as a running friend in the mountains! (But her collar is simple and plain, tinkling with multiple tags for both Colorado and Kansas because we always take her with us to Kansas.) One extra life suggestion for dogs (that also applies to humans): Don’t mark your territory in another’s space; it’s not worth the trouble it can cause.

    • dianabletter says:

      Hi Marilyn, That is a great suggestion and I’ll use it in a future blog. If we stick to our own yard, we don’t get into trouble!

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