Tag Archives: Dog

Chasing squirrels — or How I Learned Persistence from my Dog.

Every day my dog wakes up with a mission: to catch a squirrel.

Day after day, he sits at the back window watching them.  They dart around the yard, up the trunk of the big oak tree, into the treehouse.  They leap from rooftop to treetop to trampoline like little stunt men practicing parkour moves for an action film.  Their newest habit is to jump on – and swing from – the climbing rope in the oak tree.

And all this drives my dog crazy.

"I know you're up there, squirrel. Just wait til next time."

He scratches at the window pane, whimpers at the back door, and begs to be let out.  Because he wants to catch that squirrel.

This drill has gone on for years, ever since the oak tree matured enough to make acorns.  The squirrels, with their sharp senses, are alerted to his presence immediately.  They know just how high to ascend to be out of his reach, and from that height they usually sit and taunt him.

But he chases them anyway.  Every day.

I’ll never know if he doesn’t realize that he can’t outrun a squirrel, or if he’s forgotten that this effort has been a failure every other day he’s tried it.  Or if it matters.

What I do know is that every day he believes that today will be the day.  Every time I open that door he bolts into the yard with a conviction that can only come from knowing his mission will be successful.  Every day.

I want to face my days with conviction like that.  I want to wake up every day thinking – no, believing – that today is the day I’m going to get it all done.

  • Today is the day I’m going to wake up early enough have uniforms laid out and breakfast on the table when the boys come downstairs.
  • Today I’m going to fold all the baskets of laundry in my bedroom.
  • Today I’m going to give my work my undivided attention.
  • Today all the emails will get replies, the pile of papers on the kitchen counter will get sorted, and the bags of old clothes brought to Goodwill.
  • Today I’m going to have a snack and drink in the car when I pick the kids up, and I won’t get on Facebook until all the homework’s done.
  • Today I’ll cook a healthy dinner, and won’t start doing the dishes until everyone’s finished.
  • Today the evening will be pleasant, there will be no yelling about showers, and all school bags will be packed the night before and waiting at that back door.

Unphased after the chase.

And when it doesn’t turn out the way I expect, I want to keep my cool like Perro* does, and wait for the next day, when I get another chance to get it right.  I want to wake up eager to catch that squirrel.

Inspiration is everywhere.  You just have to be open to recognizing it when you see it.

*Yes, my dog’s name is Perro (Spanish for “dog.”  My kids thought that was clever.)