As much time as I spent with Rowdy, and how intimately we understood each other, some of his characteristics were still a mystery.
He was always a happy boy around us but in public settings he had a different personality.
His usual bright-eyed and bushy-tailed personality switched to careful and observant.
He wouldn’t acknowledge strangers or play with other dogs.
However, there was an occasion.
We had family that lived only five minutes from our house, and Rowdy grew up around them and their dog.
Their dog, Kyra, was the only dog I’ve ever witnessed Rowdy play with.
Every time we visited we brought Rowdy along, and as we pulled up to Kyra’s house, Rowdy’s senses started tingling and he started shining as bright as when he’d greet us at the door.
I used to ponder how strange my dog is, but I think I now understand the significance of his weird social behavior.
Rowdy kept his circle narrow and deep.
He loved very few but he loved enormously.
I could actually see the light in his eyes the second Kyra entered his peripheral.
We’d come home after hours of playing and he’d make his way to my bed and fall into a deep sleep with a smile on his face.
Many may argue that dogs aren’t capable of love, affection empathy and compassion, but the way Rowdy acted around Kyra gives me no doubt in my mind that they are.
When it was dessert time, Rowdy would watch Kyra and wait for her to receive her treat before tentatively asking for his.
After they’d play aggressively, he’d lay with her for even longer to lick wounds and make sure she was okay.
He honestly put her happiness before his and he’s a dog.
He had a very small circle made of family and close friends, but I think it was a conscious effort that gave him more happiness than a wide social network that lacked intimacy.
Rowdy, the master teacher, left me with yet another lesson.
Growing up with the Internet and social media in my fingers, I was a part of the first wave and experienced the effects first hand.
It made it easy to connect with mass amounts of people, but there’s something lacking in the quality of the relationships.
I had less face-to-face communication than the generation before me, I stayed inside more leading to lack of interpersonal skills, and I thought I had to match the lifestyle of everything I witnessed through the different mediums.
Fear of mass information systems has been a problem since the printing press was unleashed. However, we soon learned to adjust, similar to how we need to adjust to our modern technology.
Our mini computers are simply tools, but we treat them as much more. The modern American spends close to the same amount of time sleeping as on our phones and other devices.
Rowdy lived with the lesson of ignoring the trends of social media, keeping relationships narrow and deep, and putting our phones down from time to time and spending quality time with those in our circle.
As we evolve, our backs will hunch, our attention span will decrease along with our team skills, and our muscles will atrophy if we become more and more dependent on technology and don’t learn to live in harmony with it as a tool.
The industrial revolution administered intense changes within society and culture, and perhaps our advancements in the web and coming AI will direct further changes.
Recognizing that life resides outside of our digital networks could be the answer to any negative externalities that may follow a potential technological revolution.
Live like Rowdy and keep your relationships deep, authentic and love as much as possible and you’ll sleep at night with a smile.
Until next time ;-)
- White Eyed Rowdy