Dogs Laugh, too

Every Sunday, I make the hour-long trek home to visit my family and enjoy my parents’ delicious home cooking.

One Sunday, as my parents rummaged around the kitchen preparing dinner, I kept hearing, “Bailey, no! . . . Off the counter! . . . Bailey! That’s not for you; don’t eat that! . . . Down, Bailey!” Our one-year-old red lab puppy, Bailey, loves helping out in the kitchen. Sensing my parents’ irritation, I got up from my lazy nap and took the crazy pup outside for some exercise.

Bailey quickly found her blue Frisbee, not to be confused with the orange one she refuses to chase. We began to play a nice game of fetch. With a perfect throw of her frisbee, Bailey took off after it. While I stood admiring the distance of my throw, Bailey fetched her toy and began running, full speed, back to me.

As she got closer, I wondered when she was going to put on the brakes. I was convinced she was going to run right past me, but boy, was I wrong. She ran full force right into me, taking me out at the knees, leaving me face down in the dirt. As she circled back, I looked up to her smiling face, still holding on to that blue Frisbee and wagging her tail in satisfaction. I swear she was laughing at me while I laid on my stomach, trying to catch the wind that had been knocked out of me.

You can only imagine my frustration at this point. Brushing the dirt off my knees, I wanted to attack. Revenge, I thought. However, Bailey is much quicker than I am – I call it the four-leg advantage. In the end, I knew she’d outrun me. Instead of attempting an attack, I laughed along with her, grabbing her Frisbee for another round of fetch.
The decision to pick up the Frisbee and leave my frustration behind taught me a lesson about my work and school life.

In a recent class, we were discussing how November tends to be a time of high stress for students, faculty and staff. With the excitement of the new academic year having faded and people settled into their routines, stress begins to rise. Spring semester is broken up with a weeklong break, but it seems as though we plow through the fall with few days off, allowing stress to build. These high levels of stress prove to have negative effects both mentally and physically.

To prevent sickness and mental breakdowns, it is important for us to recognize stressful situations, such as being leveled by one’s dog, and realize there are two ways to deal with it: we either can attack the dog in revenge or we can laugh it off, knowing everything will be okay.

This lesson is a time-old classic, but always a good reminder: grab that Frisbee and continue playing fetch.