When I wrote the book Tricks My Dog Taught Me, I surveyed 300 dog lovers, asking them among other things, “Does your dog make you laugh?” Ninety-six percent said, “Yes!” Only twelve checked the “No” box; none explained why. How does Mojo make me laugh?
She once spent an hour howling at a ceramic rabbit lawn ornament.
One day for no reason at all, she dragged a tree branch up the front step. It was ten times her size.
After a bath, she propels herself from carpet to carpet, snorting, plunging her nose into couches and shoes and blankets—anything to remove the horrible smell of Vanilla Baby Shampoo.
Dogs bring out the goofy in us. Here are actual classified ads:
½ Cocker Spaniel, ½ sneaky neighbour’s dog.
FOUND: DIRTY WHITE DOG
Looks like a rat…been out a while. Better be a reward.
The power of laughter to bring joy to life is indisputable. Just ask 288 dog owners:
“He picks up the dog dish and brings it to me if it’s empty.”
“If he’s in trouble he hides his head and won’t look at you.”
“Thinks the fireplace is an exit door.”
“When I sing, he sings with me.”
“She plays fetch…by herself.”
“Violently shakes and ‘kills’ his stuffed toys.”
“She’s 50 pounds and thinks she’s a lap dog.”
A dog can remind us to lighten up. No one will die because we spilled eggs on the supermarket floor. Unless they slip on them. So laugh. And find a mop.
When I had the joy of experiencing a colonoscopy, I was delighted that this humbling procedure would be performed an hour from home. But the first nurse who met me said, “Are you, Phil?” She said she had heard me speak somewhere. Then she offered me explicit instructions on disrobing and handed me a gown the size of a French bathing suit. Another nurse arrived to lead me down the hall to the guillotine. She was very kind. She smiled and said, “I love your books.” I was looking around for my dignity.
“Knock me out!” I begged.
An hour later, I awoke to discover that she had graciously obliged.
I have yet to meet a couple whose marriage is in trouble, a boss whose staff is out of joint, or the pastor of a church-going through a nasty split, who tells me, “You know our problem? We just laughed too much together.”
Laughter is the smile of God in a troubled world. “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,” writes King David in Psalm 32. So whenever you get the chance today, go ahead and howl.
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