The Hidden Wisdom of Dogs

Memory  /  Postcards
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I was really excited when I got my first dog — a German Shepherd named Dakota — about five years ago. I knew I had a lot of things to teach him, and a lot to learn about owning a dog, but I never expected him to teach me so much.

One of the first things I noticed was how happy he was whenever I walked through the door. It didn’t matter how long I’d been gone; he was always happy to see me. Then pretty soon, I noticed I was talking to  him — about life, about work, about the weather, or whatever else was on my mind. He was becoming my best friend and shrink too! On Dakota’s first birthday my girlfriend made him a hat, then we baked him peanut butter cookies shaped like moose. This shot of him at that moment, expressing all the joy a dog can muster, is one of my absolute favorites:

Matt Bonhage's dog, Dakota's, first birthday

Dakota’s also been a great inspiration to go outside and explore instead of staying home and clicking away at the glow of a computer screen. Over the years we’ve camped and road-tripped all over the country; when we hike, my ‘Action Buddy’ carries enough water for both of us.

He’s taught me other things too. If there’s any disappointment in Dakota’s life, it’s when he’s left at home, but when he does get to come for a ride, he doesn’t care where we’re going. It could be a trip to Starbucks (where they give him a doggy cups of whipped cream), or a trip to the vet; it’s the journey that matters to him, not the destination. This is an important lesson for me, and I try to incorporate living in the moment like Dakota does into my own life.

But as grateful as I am to him for giving me this perspective, what I find most astonishing about Dakota is his ability to forgive. Dogs don’t hold grudges. I thought I understood what this meant, but it took on a new meaning when I yelled at him for chewing the coffee table, and in minutes he was back by my side and ready to play.

And you know what? He’s right. If you can forgive, especially when in retrospect the issue wasn’t that important, you become so much happier in life.

Matthew Bonhage,  Jack of Many Trades (incl. Customer Support, IT and Network Management) 


Who knew?

  1. I collect (and cook exclusively with) cast iron pans
  2. I don’t own a television
  3. The top thing on my Bucket List is to through-hike the Appalachian Trail

I like to shoot: Usually, I take landscape panoramas and action shots of my dog with my iPhone. I have a Sony camera that’s great, but I don’t always have it with me.

My Mylio setup: Four computers (three Mac, one Windows), three Phones (two iPhones, one Android),  three tablets  (two iPads, one one Kindle), and three external hard drives managing 12,000 images (and climbing).