How to multiply joy

He and Kanti burst through the back door having navigated the annual vet visit.  Kanti was excited to get home because it was suppertime.  She watched Greg remove his shoes and headed expectantly to the kitchen leaving a cloud of German Shepherd hairs in her wake.  Greg hung back and announced, "I have bad news."

My heart slipped off kilter while my brain tried to compute what bad news might sound like.  Had there been an accident?  Was someone laid off? Had his brother taken a turn for the worse?  Those moments when you are wondering what the words you have heard really meant get suspended in time.  The words hang in the air while you struggle to find meaning.  Fear strangles your ability to process or question.

Fear creates a push, pull situation.  We want to push the conversation forward to find out what the bad news is.  Yet we also pull back, afraid to hear the bad news. The push, pull was battling inside my head.  There was no avoiding it.  He wasn't volunteering, so I had to ask, "What do you mean, bad news?"
Singing to the coyotes

I am still surprised by his ability to set me up.  For a man who isn't a fan of drama, he has the capacity to pull off the dramatic.  Kanti was getting impatient with us.  She returned from the kitchen to look for the humans, on a mission to remind us that it was suppertime.  She pushed her big hairy self against our legs, trying to herd us to the kitchen, willing us to walk through the doorway.

The more insistent she became, the more reluctant Greg seemed.  Then he finally confessed to the bad news.  Kanti was overweight; she had to go on a diet.  They managed to get her to sit nicely on the scale at the vet clinic.  She weighed 110 pounds.  Dr. Amy said Kanti needed to lose ten pounds. Yes she was a big girl.  But she had gotten a little too big.  Kanti, not Dr. Amy.

We reduced her meal portions immediately, and her treats were cut in half.  She wasn't a fan of the deprivation. The first week, she took the half a treat and then headed back to the laundry room to whine because she wanted the other half. Greg felt bad for her and the conversations between man and dog were very entertaining.  I overheard apologies accompanied by explanations of how Dr. Amy said being a little lighter would extend Kanti's life.

Whether Kanti understands the rationale behind her new diet is questionable.  What she does understand, without doubt, is that she is loved.  Maybe not loved like humans understand love, but she knows and trusts she will be treated kindly by her humans.  She is confident we will be as glad to greet her, as she is to greet us. She has a capacity for gratefulness that we can learn from and her ability to enjoy life is contagious.  When we are joyful even in the tiniest of things, we spread joy to others.  It is extremely simple yet extraordinarily powerful.  Try it.  Be joyful about something, anything, and tell someone else about it.  You will multiply your joy and encourage theirs.

That's all folks!  Go forth, be grateful, and enjoy your day.
If that is too big a challenge, commit to hunting down one micro-moment of joy today.