Mindfulness & Dogs

Work was uneventful today. The day was cooler and overcast and a lot cooler than the days before, only about 10°C. It didn’t rain much (or at least I didn’t notice it at the office), but as soon as I got home the drops started falling. Checking the clouds, I decided that with any luck the rain wouldn’t get any stronger, so I put on my light rain jacket (not useful against hard rain), leashed up Curious Dog and took him for the evening walk.

Well, of course the rain did get a lot stronger and we got soaked. Half way on our usual route, I decided to turn back, but by that point I might as well have continued on, as we were already quite wet. I was starting to get quite annoyed about the wet clothes, cold wind, the anticipation of the mess in the hallway when we’d get home, toweling the dog off, hanging up my wet stuff — such a pain. But then I remembered to be mindful and I remembered that I like rain. I listened into my body and thought “It’s not that unpleasant.” I managed to turn my growing annoyance off and be in the moment. Being mindful in daily life doesn’t happen all the time for me (far from it), but it’s happening more often of late. I’ve been meditating regularly for more than a year and I’ve noticed that it’s really starting to have an impact on my life. An effective incentive to keep on doing it!

Curious Dog doesn’t mind rain. His fur is so thick that only the top layer gets wet and I think he quite likes being toweled dry. He also likes to dry himself on my jeans — weaving around my legs like a cat, except with a lot more heft. Bit naughty, that. But funny.

After dinner we watched the stop-motion animated movie Isle of Dogs, which is visually very striking. I really like the body-language of the dogs in the movie, it’s very evocative of real dogs. It’s set in a future dystopian Japan and is about dogs being banished to an island to quarantine and eventually euthanize them. A young boy, Atari, goes on a quest to save his dog. The dogs are all talking German, and the people are all talking Japanese (we watched the German version). Some of the Japanese bits are translated, but not all. The dogs also don’t understand the humans (at one point one of them says “It would be nice if someone could speak his [Atari’s] language.” That created a really interesting effect for me, reminding me how Curious Dog may hear my nattering at him as a lot of noise with just a few intelligible words and that a lot or our communication is via emotion and body language. This can, of course, also be true in the communication between humans if they don’t speak a common language. I wonder how this movie would work for viewers who speak Japanese, as they can understand both the humans and the dogs. There are also thought-provoking bits about ownership and loyalty. The fictional politics are evocative of real history, and, sadly, of current events. I found it a thought-provoking, enjoyable film! I’m sure we’ll watch it again.

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