Penny was resting at home while I was waiting... waiting... waiting... for my appointment at the optician. I quite like waiting rooms - how aptly named - because you never know what you'll find in the old magazines lying around.
On this occasion I came across an article in Reader's Digest that looked at the power of gratitude. It started with a look at the health benefits of thinking about the good things in life and then the author, Deborah Norville, suggested that we take time just before bedtime to jot down three things from the day for which we are grateful.
Immediately I thought of the hour I'd spent walking with Penny to the shops in the next suburb. It was her first major outing since she had surgery two weeks ago, so we took it easy and actually didn't reach our goal. However, she got to romp with an energy-machine that was a nine-month-old chihuaha X Jack Russell and I had time to enjoy the first cool day in ages.
The little dog's 'mum' told me that he is a handful - she's finding him more work than her eighteen-month old toddler. He certainly raced around at top speed the whole time we were there, occasionally stopping to drink from Penny's portable drink bag, which was nearly as big as he was. (He looks bigger than he actually is, in the photo with Penny, because he was closer to the camera.)
Deborah Norville says that after we write down three good things from the day, we should ask ourselves why they were good for us and who, if anyone, played a role in the the event. Over time, she says, we should look for a pattern that will underscore the importance of people in our lives. I'll include animals in that one, because I'm sure if I follow this technique, Penny will feature prominently.
She uses the term 'eudemonia' and defines it as the happiness or fulfilment that comes from the action itself, not the result. That makes me feel better about lugging a pile of shopping bags with me on our abortive trip to the shops - it was annoying not to reach our destination, but I knew I was getting tired and I thought Penny might be also, seeing she hasn't been out much for two weeks.
I could write something about Penny in my 'thank-you' list every night, I'm sure. Thanks for a lick on the wrist when I was feeling tired. Thanks for being at the front door when I arrive home. Thanks for rolling on your tummy so I can rub it. Thanks for glancing meaningfully at your leash and reminding me there's a world outside the house. Thanks for covering the kitchen floor in dried grass and giving me the chance to have fun sweeping it up...
Oh, the list could go on forever. I'll have to limit myself each night to only one thank-you for Penny in my life, otherwise I'll forget to be grateful for all the other good things.