I Shadowed My Dog For A Day And Here Are The Lessons I Learned
I’m on a path towards self-discovery. What is happiness? How can I live my best life? Should I have a mantra?
To find these answers — and so much more — I decided to shadow someone I admire. Someone who demands both love and respect. Someone my parents are proud to call their own. I’m of course talking about their adorable Labradoodle, Fozzy. “Hey Fozzy, can I shadow you tomorrow?” I asked as he snoozed peacefully on the couch. I took his silence as a yes. But what did the silence really mean? I would soon find out.
Below are the seven vital life lessons I learned from a day of shadowing a dog.
7. You Must Bark At People Until They Respond
There wasn’t room for me at the end of my parents’ bed where Fozzy sleeps at night, so I waited underneath it to begin my one-day apprenticeship with him. When Fozzy awoke, he took command of the situation. “I need to go out NOW,” Fozzy barked loudly, and my parents immediately came to his beck and call. Wow, I thought. I wish people listened to me like that. Like Fozzy, I need to be louder and relentless to get what I want. Next time my parents refuse to lend me their car just because I ACCIDENTALLY put it in reverse instead of drive and ACCIDENTALLY killed their first dog, Poncho, that ONE time, I’ll just bark. And bark. And bark until they hand over the keys.
6. When You Have To Go Just Go
I followed Fozzy on his morning walk and found it truly admirable that he didn’t give a shit, well, where he took a shit. Our neighbors, the Feinsteins, have the most beautiful flower garden. Guess where Fozzy did his deed? Yup, right there in their hydrangea bush. And Mrs. Feinstein was looking out her window the whole time! He’s so bold. I have IBS and sometimes it’s unbearable holding it in. And you know what? I’m not gonna anymore! I don’t care how many people stare. If I need to dump out in the seasonal candy aisle at Target, so be it. Thanks, Fozzy!
5. Be Helpless And People Will Do Stuff For You
My mom served Fozzy his breakfast when we got back home. I’m slightly bitter since she hasn’t made me breakfast since I was in high school, and hey, I live here too. But Fozzy has never made a meal himself. Not once. I must become as helpless as Fozzy. If I just stop pouring my morning cereal, my mom will have to start doing it for me, right? I’m pretty sure when she said, “I wish you’d just leave,” she didn’t mean this earth via death by starvation.
4. It’s Okay To Wander Around Aimlessly
I’ve heard the quote “not all who wander are lost,” and after spending the day with Fozzy, I truly understand its meaning. Wandering back and forth is a huge part of Fozzy’s day. And no one ever says to him, “Ma’am, if you aren’t going to buy any pizza, you have to leave this Sbarro!” Much like Fozzy, my days are filled with endless hours of nothing. And I’m going to embrace it.
3. Stop Paying For Bottled Water
In my quest to do as Fozzy does, when Fozzy drank water from the toilet bowl, I followed suit. Same great taste from a never-ending supply. This one’s a no-brainer.
2. Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your “Weird” Proclivities
On one of Fozzy’s walkabouts (not like an Australian one, he just literally walks about the house) he came into my bedroom and picked up my thong from the pile of dirty laundry on the floor. Normally, I’d yell at him, but on that day, it was “do as Fozzy does.” So I, too, grabbed a pair in my mouth. When Fozzy took a big gulp, so did I. He got it down, whereas I began violently choking until I spat the panties out across the room. Honestly, this fetish wasn’t really for me, but I was impressed with Fozzy’s utter lack of shame in eating my nine-day-old underwear. You do you, Fozz!
1. Live By The Motto “What’s In It For Me?”
Throughout my day, I tried to engage Fozzy in conversation. I’d hold his face to mine, make eye contact, and ask questions, but no dice. He just totally ignored me! When people talk to me, I listen and respond, which means I have to think of stuff to say to questions that I don’t usually care to answer, like, “When are you going to find a job?” or, “When are you going to move out, you’re thirty-eight for Christ’s sake?” It was only when I offered Fozzy a biscuit that he was willing to even acknowledge me. “Aha!” I thought. “Only expend energy on what brings you happiness.” Later, when I blew air directly into Fozzy’s nostrils (because, I find that hilarious), he straight up bit me. Bonus lesson: Don’t tolerate bullshit.
That night, when Fozzy curled up on my parents’ bed, I tried implementing the lessons I learned. I laid behind him; I was the big spoon. When my dad told me to “get the fuck up,” I ignored him. He tried again. And when he shoved me, I bit his cheek! That should teach my parents to give me the same respect they give their dog. I’ll lick dad’s face in the morning, and if my new way of life is working, all will be forgiven.
I wish I had a tail to wag to show the world my newfound happiness over all the things I learned from Fozzy. But I guess some things are just for dogs.