Ralph was a stray, picked up on the street and taken to a shelter near Washington, DC. Pit bulls are banned in the area, so he was already on death row when I found his mug shot a few weeks later. Although, technically, mine was a no-dogs-allowed apartment and, realistically, my studio couldn't accommodate a lapdog let alone an energetic, fifty-pound, one-year-old -- part beagle, part pit bull, part wild thing -- I was powerless against his shelter photo: that goofy grin, those velvety ears, the yin and yang of markings on his face. I went to see him that day -- this happy-go-lucky, exceptionally strong, playful puppy -- and I felt the simultaneous joy and vulnerability that is love-at-first-sight. He came home with me later that week.
Although he's the one called "a rescue," Ralph saved me just as much as I saved him. Here are a few of the things he's taught me.
1. Make pleasure and peace a priority.
What can't be cured by fresh air and fetch will surely feel better after a nap.
2. Remember that every day is the best day ever.
Even if you wake up, and today smells just like yesterday, realize instead that it's time wholly new and demanding to be fiercely lived.
3. Be fearless but not foolish.
Have the courage to lead the pack at times and the sense, at others, to follow it.
4. Roll in the mess.
Whether it's duck poop or a broken heart, dive headfirst into the yuck of life.
5. Love ferociously.
Find your people. Adore them unconditionally. Be cherished in return, and happy.
Shelter: HALO Animal Rescue Uno por Uno
Wednesday, July 31
Wednesday, August 14
at 12:00 PM PDT
Tuesday, September 03
Tuesday, September 17
at 12:00 PM PDT
Tuesday, October 01