Our puppy, Rico, hasn’t been content lately when we’ve left him home alone. Like many children these days, he’s bored. To overcome his boredom, he has turned to vandalism. Some items he shreds and leaves for us to clean up. Others he actually eats.
So far he has consumed or ripped up newspapers, magazines, books, a pair of prescription reading glasses, a plastic toy fan, the television remote, the handle of a hairbrush, two plants, and most recently a game of wooden blocks. He ignores the ten or more chew bones and doggie toys on the floor. They obviously aren’t as enticing as anything he can reach on the tables and countertops.
When we arrived home from church Sunday, the wooden blocks were splintered across the living room carpet. Rico managed to pop the top of the tin container and proceeded to gnash a few of the game pieces into oblivion. Mark declared that as the last straw.
Off to Walmart we went to purchase another crate. Yes, we had a crate when Rico first became a part of the family, but he quickly outgrew it. By that time he was a well-behaved pup, so we didn’t replace it with a larger abode. All was well until Christmas vacation.
For two weeks, Rico enjoyed our presence almost every day. If we left the house, it was rarely for the whole day, only for a short time. We played, petted, scratched, walked, jumped, retrieved, and cuddled. Spoiled puppy, you ask? Definitely, but we all love him so much, and he is constantly bringing us a toy, leaning against one of us, or crawling in our laps.
Unfortunately, those two weeks taught Rico what it’s like to be smothered with love; therefore, when we returned to school, it also taught him what it’s like to be lonely and bored. I have spent the last few weeks trying to make him feel as loved while I am home in the mornings and evenings as when we were home all day. I even frequently leave the bathroom during blow drying to throw his ball down the hallway. He retrieves it while I blow dry for another minute, he returns, and I flip the switch off so I can do it all over again. Dry, toss, repeat. So far, it hasn’t helped. He’s still demolishing new things every time he’s left alone. It’s so frustrating, especially because he was so well-behaved before the holidays.
I can’t help thinking he’s acting a little unreasonably. Isn’t he grateful for all the attention he gets while we’re home? We all try to overwhelm him with love, but he just expects more.
I suppose I can’t get too high on my horse about this because I rarely give enough thanks for all I have. My blessings are so far beyond what I deserve. And I think that’s true for most people I’ve encountered. Very few I’ve met are genuinely grateful for everything in their lives. And just like Rico, the more we get, the more we think we need. We get bored and discontent with our present surroundings and expect others to fulfill our wants.
But it’s an amazing life. Sometimes it might take misfortune to make the good seem sweet, but life always seems willing to offer that as a reminder. And once you inhale life’s sweetness, there are so many ways to express gratitude – by what you do, say, create, feel. The list is endless. So don’t ignore all the toys scattered around you on the carpet. Don’t be bored when forced to create your own joy. Embrace all the blessings in life and be thankful!