Live Well, Live Like a Dog

Splash and I, Skiddaw Summit, Peak District, England

Splash and Me – Skiddaw Summit – Peak District, Cumbria, England

Life lessons from a dog, you wonder??  Yes, absolutely.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Take satisfaction in a job well done, and make work fun.

  • Our dog, Splash didn’t just get the morning paper; she reveled in the task.  She would wait patiently at the door with great excitement, and then run, not walk to the corner of the sidewalk.  She would look back at us as if to say, “I’ve nabbed it!” — like it was trying to escape.  Then she would grab the paper by the end and drag it up the steps. (The Sunday paper was always a great challenge, requiring a one-step-at-a-time hoist.)  Finally, she would toss it with great exuberance at our feet, tail wagging, as if to say “Thank you sooo much for letting me do this job for you!”.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all approached our jobs that way??
Lake Michigan

Fetching Aquatic Style – Lake Michigan

When you finish your work, play hard.

  • Splash, like most dogs and young children, did not know the limits of play.  “Puleeze, throw that ball one more time, would you??”  Or, “Why in the world are you stopping, when we can keep running??” Play was pure happiness and meant to be continued until you dropped from exhaustion.
Splash - Lake Michigan

Having Fun – Lake Michigan

Learn all you can, and take pride in your education.

  • Splash was smarter than any dog I ever had.  She loved learning and, unlike me, usually picked things up on the first take.  So, we challeged her limits.  When she was a pup, I ran out of commands to teach her, so I taught her everything over again – in sign language.  This, of course, came in quite handy when a flight back from the UK severed her connection to the hearing world (no wonder she hated that flight!).  But Splash’s favorite trick was knowing left from right. Our friends lost many a bet by insisting she could not possibly know her right paw from her left  🙂
A Romp in a Rare Snowfall - Inkberrow, England

A Romp in a Rare Snowfall – Inkberrow, England

Love unconditionally, and demonstrate your love often.

  • Don’t most dogs teach us this?  Out we go to work or to a day of golf.  Is Splash sulking when we return, left alone for hours?? Nope. You guessed it, there she would be – tail wagging furiously and a wiggle that should, by rights, shake her tail right off.  We could do no wrong.
On a Walk In the Barley Fields

Trekking Barley Fields – Worcestershire, England

Live in the moment, but approach the future with enthusiasm.

  • Watching Splash on a walk was truly a lesson in life.  She walked hundreds of miles with our Worcester Ramblers (UK). Unlike most of us humans, who tended to march along at a steady pace, walking was an adventure for Splash.   She would run  ahead to see what’s next, run back to the last person in line to make sure they “stayed with the pack”, and then run back up front.  She seemed to say:  “There might be something exciting ahead – don’t want to miss it!”.

Savor every meal and treat.

  • Splash knew that food was one of the great pleasures in life and never met a meal she didn’t like. But, like most gourmands, she knew that some meals were better than others, and she had a great appreciation for a few special things – peanut butter treats, pizza and fish (yes, fish – probably related to her Portie heritage).  Life was really good when these were on her plate.

Unfortunately, Peanut Butter Treats won’t be on the menu at our house for a while.  But perhaps you are lucky enough to have someone who would enjoy them?  I know that Splash would be happy to share her recipe….

Splash's Peanut Butter Treats

Splash’s Peanut Butter Treats

Splash’s Peanut Butter Treats


2 1/2 cups flour, all purpose
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil, canola
2 egg
flour, all purpose, for rolling dough


1. Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.

Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

Drop garlic into food processor with processor running.  Chop garlic.

Add peanut butter, milk, oil and egg.   Blend to a smooth paste.

Add dry ingredients.  Blend until the dough forms a ball. 

2. Flour pastry board or counter.  Roll dough out until about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick, dusting with extra flour as needed.  Cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes. (Splash liked everything but cat shapes.)

Place cookies on baking sheet or on a  Silpat placed on a baking sheet (my preferred method).  

3. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool and store in air-tight container.  Freeze if not using with 2 weeks.

On Her Farm, Inkberrow, England

On Our Farm –  Inkberrow, England

In loving memory of Splash, who gave us so very much.

We miss you ….


25 thoughts on “Live Well, Live Like a Dog

  1. So well put and such a beautiful tribute to Splash, Jeanne. Thank you for sharing Splash’s joyful wisdom.


  2. What a fantastic post! I’ve often thought that we could learn SO MUCH from dogs… particularly the points about unconditional love and appreciation of the small things. Beautiful photos. Splash was a gorgeous dog… am so sorry that she’s no longer with you. Hugs xx

  3. Oh.. Jeanne… I didn’t know.. Although I only knew Splash briefly, I loved her.. I swear it hurts deep inside to lose a companion that has that unconditional love for all. Thank you for sharing Splash with us the way you did. What a wonderful tribute. My heart goes out to your, and Dan’s, great loss.

  4. How beautifully put Jeannee. Having owned 5 dogs since being married, I can agree with all the life’s lessons you mentioned, and then some. Our dogs are always waiting at the door when we come home, tails wagging just wanting a hug or pat on the head. Unconditional for sure and always a comfort when needed!!! I think I will always be a “doggie mom”–we are looking for #6 already!!! And I appreciate the dog treat recipe as I do a LOT of baking of unusual treats to give away to all the doggie “cousins” and “friends” at the holidays.

  5. Hahaha, I’ll learn, from your doog and my dog! 🙂 But the dog cooking, Splash should have a three course for dinner once in a while! 😉 By the way I have heard in recent years that garlig (and onions too) are very bad for dog, but I know an american dog trainer and she uses it too, not to much probably.

    • As a toxicologist, I can assure you that dogs can eat just about any food IN MODERATION. There are a lot of “old wives tales” about what will harm them.

      I knew a dog who ate 2 pounds of dark chocolate (not that I’m recommending this!), and he was absolutely fine….

  6. J – I know just how much joy Splash must have given you. Clearly, a very special pup. Lots of licks from Bella (the poodle) and hugs from me down here. Fab’ post and wonderful tribute.

    • Thanks TSL. That Bella is a cutie. I think Porties and Poodles share lots of great attributes (and some dog historians say heritage as well). I can tell from your lovely photos that she is one delightful pup!

  7. I was away when this was posted and just now found it. I am so sorry that Splash is no longer at your side. It’s obvious in every word and photo within this tribute just how much you cared for her. Because of it, I’m sure her life was charmed.

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