This book is a delightful series of mini-meditations on life. While most efforts focus on humans teaching dogs, this book focuses on what humans can learn from our dogs. The authors, Weinstein and Barber, combine careful observations of canine behavior with ancient wisdom. Plato is quoted as saying, “I do not live to play, but I play in order that I may live and return with greater zest to the labors of life.” Then, a chapter follows with examples of dogs who remind their owners to play. For example, the author tells us that he will be working at his desk for awhile when his dog, Blue, stretches, shakes and rubs her nose against his arm. He finally gets the idea and takes her out for a walk. When he returns, he feels refreshed, rejuvenated, and better equipped to work.
This is a short book with brief chapters. Each chapter is a lesson which I approach like a daily meditation. Because of the format, the book can be read in short intervals, between classes, at the bus stop, or in the morning before your day. Another favorite meditation is titled, “Dogs are Happy with a Simple Life,” and begins with a quote from Gilda Radner. She says, “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures. For me they are the role model for being alive.” Weinstein explains that santosa is an important spiritual principle meaning contentment regardless of outer circumstances. He says his dog only needs three things: companionship, a place to lie down, and food and water. Weinstein continues to say that we humans complicate our lives unnecessarily. We complicate our lives with technology and then we worry about the technology. It breaks, we are late, it is expensive to repair, etc. We are in a vicious cycle or acomputer loop. From our dogs, we learn simplicity.