5/17/14

Life Lessons At The Bus Stop

While waiting for a bus one time, I visited with a lady and her little CockAPoo.

I didn't know this at the time, but "CockAPoo" is an old Indian word for "happy little ball of fluff," which exactly summed up the entire being of this tiny dog.

Whenever someone would walk by, the little CockAPoo would get way more excited than should be legal, and would bounce up and down yelling, "Hey! Hey! Hey! Look at ME! Hey! Hey! Hey! Look at ME!"

The people would not only look, but they'd stop and pet and coo and tell the lady what a cute little dog she had, which she already knew, but she seemed to like hearing it again and again. Then the CockAPoo would lick their faces off.

This reminded me of a story, which I told the lady, and I'll tell you now.

Years ago I remember being in a similar situation, only it was a different town, and I wasn't waiting for a bus, I was waiting for my wife to be done with her shopping, and the dog wasn't a CockAPoo, it was a German Shepherd and the lady was a man. But other than those trivial details the situation was exactly the same.

The man's German Shepherd was young - not much more than a pup - and the man had it sit on the sidewalk as he walked away. It wasn't tied to a fence or anything - it wasn't wearing a leash at all - and it just sat there and eyed the man intently as he strolled off.

The man got about 30 feet away, then he stopped and just stood there. The dog didn't make a sound, but just kept its eyes on him the whole time. People walked by and they'd say something to it or snap their fingers at it, yet the dog didn't take its eyes off the man for a second. Suddenly, he made a gesture and said something, at which time the dog bounded happily to him and received a treat.

The man explained that this was a police dog in training, and what he was doing was working on the dog's ability to focus entirely on the handler when in a crowd and not be distracted. He said that this particular dog was one of his advanced students who'd be graduating soon and joining a police department shortly thereafter.

The lady thanked me for the story and said it was "interesting," just as a few more people walked by and the CockAPoo went nuts.

Then the bus came and I got on, so I didn't get to talk to her after that. But I did reflect on the CockAPoo versus the German Shepherd, and it occurred to me that were I to draw some kind of analogy from this, I guess I'd have to compare my attitude in life more to the CockAPoo than the German Shepherd, and to carry it a little further, I'd say that I probably have to admit that I've been trying to hang out with German Shepherds for a long time now, when I really belong with the CockAPoos.

The conclusion I'd have to come to, then, is that I don't focus very well - which is why I never wanted to be a cop or a banker or a real estate agent or an astronaut or anything like that.

Being more of a CockAPoo, I'm more interested in what's going on around me - all the time - and I want to greet it, yap at it, lick it, and maybe even pee on it if I can get it to hold still long enough.

I don't want to invest in it and wait for the long-term dividends, like the police-dog-in-training does while standing there waiting and focusing, with the hope of getting that treat when all's said and done.

I want to play with it. NOW.

I'm definitely a CockAPoo, because they seem so much happier and they live life to the fullest no matter who's walking by. They love everyone, and if the German Shepherds of the world have a hard time dealing with that, they can just go bury a bone and leave me be.

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