Always Optimistic

She’s not a behemoth like her brothers. Instead, Maggie, the runt of her litter, is a relatively slender Great Dane  who likes to lean on you and give hugs by tucking her giant head in the crook of your neck. It’s disconcerting—albeit sweet. Her companion, Lucy, a teapot Yorkie, makes up the duo of doggies I am in charge of when my children travel. I just finished a 10-day stint as their caretaker.

As dog owners might recognize, animals on a scheduled feeding know exactly when 5:00 p.m. rolls around—dinner time. However, they also seem to be endlessly optimistic that food will be waiting every time they come in from a potty break in the back yard. I suspect a Pavlovian syndrome at play here: go outside, come in, and eat rather than follow some internal clock that announces breakfast or dinner. The cat, Murphy, seems to possess an inner food clock, as she has no comparable routine.

Never mind the science or psychology behind their behavior. I thoroughly enjoy their faces and sounds as they look up to me, full of expectation and optimism that I will provide an additional snack. In a lot of ways, they remind me of our own species. We keep making planet- killing decisions, devastating countries and people, fighting pandemics (or not), and still we remain optimistic that life will continue and that we will be untouched by the damage we have wrought.

Published by Carole J. Garrison

I’m a conversationalist, an observer, a passionate participant in life. And now, in my later years, I’m a recorder of the lessons of my life through essays, stories, and novels. I live in the fourth moment of life, just outside the normal distribution of most people and it is from this place that I write.

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