Being More Like Billie
She loves everyone. That’s a good place to start.
As the world seems to be getting angrier and crueler by the hour, our 10-month-old puppy, Billie Henrietta Konik, seems to be getting sweeter and kinder. Yes, of course: she’s the cutest, most adorable creature ever, as all dog owners understand about their pet. But what’s impressive about Billie — aside from her impossible shagginess — is how wise she is. If our messy mutt were a person, you might call her “an old soul,” or “moving toward enlightenment.” You might think she’s a yogi disguised as a mop on four legs.
Billie’s calm. She’s relaxed. Unworried. She’s chill, in the parlance of the time.
Her greatest quality, the one I’m trying to emulate, is a commitment to harmonious relations with everyone she encounters. Billie is utterly unattached to the concept of winning. She just wants to get along.
Whenever another dog displays unchecked aggression, Billie doesn’t snap back and declare, “this will not stand!” She submits, immediately. And the moment the belligerent dog relents, she pops right back up with an offer to play. If the other dog shows any sign of offense, Billie submits — and then pops back up to see if Mr. Grouchy is ready to play now. Toy dogs half her size, hounds twice her size, it doesn’t matter. She treats every encounter as a chance for friendship and frolicking, and she seems to assume all her fellow doggies do, too.
No matter how much of a jerk the other guy is being, Billie seems to understand that eventually he won’t be so jerkish; eventually, the best version of him will emerge; eventually, all doggies will embrace the better angels of their nature, put aside their fears and insecurities, and commence to spirited butt-sniffing and beard-biting.
Noted, Billie. Thank you.