How to Keep Wagging Your Tail During a Pandemic
An earlier version of this article was published by the Christian Writer’s Downunder blogspot on April 6, 2020.
One of the most encouraging and helpful voices emerging on social media last year, was Pluto, a miniature schnauzer who has been ‘breaking the internets’ with her wisdom and humour in these tough pandemic times. In honour of Pluto and the other dogs and cats encouraging us humans for the past year and a half, I decided to invite my dog, Nikita-the-ShiChi, to guest blog today.
Over to you, Nikita…
firstHey everyone. My name is Nikita and as you would probably have guessed by now, I’m a ShiChi—a cross between a Chihuahua and a Shih-Tzu.
Let me tell you a bit about myself
got the short hair genes in my family from the Chihuahua side. My sister had long spiky hair that, according to my mum, made my sister look like her tail had been plugged into a power socket. I’ve been told to never plug my tail, or my tongue, or my nose, or the bone I’m eating, into a power socket so I’m not sure why she said that. But my mum also said my sister looked very cute, so I think that’s okay. My eyes were bigger and browner than my sister’s, and even then I knew how to use them for maximum cuteness. I think that’s why my humans chose meeeeeee. Or it could be because my sister went to her forever-family first. Hadn’t thought of that!
I’ve always been little, but now that I’ve grown up, I prefer to say that I’m vertically challenged. I think the word ‘short’ is highly discriminatory, don’t you? I’m a long-dog with stocky legs, a cute face and a big tush. My Mum says I take after her. Haha! Not to be rude but she doesn’t have an amazing curly tail like mine—nor does she have impressive ears.
My ears are more impressive than my mum’s.
Anyway, back to… Hang on. What’s that? Sausages? The neighbours are cooking sausages. Really? Can we go visit? Whaaaaat? Social distancing?
You can’t give me a treat to make up for it? I wanna treat! Pleeeaaaaazzzzzee!
OK, when we’re finished, I’ll get one then? For sure?
OK, then. I’ll be strong for the readers.
I want to help all you dog-loving two-legs keep wagging your tail, even though we’re in the middle of the yucky thing you call a pandemic.
The doctor two-legs say it’s safer to stay inside in some places—especially in some of the eastern-lands of Australia—but in my experience that can make both the two-legs, and the four-legs like me, feel sad. It’s hard when you have to stay inside and can’t go out and sniff each other’s bottoms. Not that I’ve seen many humans do that. I don’t know why—it’s so much fun. You must try it sometime!
Anyway, when you take us dogs out for walks, we have a good sniff of each other as you humans stop and chat. But now many of you are sad because you can’t do the chatting. You can’t even do that boring coffee thing where you sit forever and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk but don’t let me bark or rumble with the other dogs or steal bits of pizza from little two-leggers.
But even though the no-pizza thing isn’t fair, I still feel sorry that you can’t meet each other anymore and have fun. Meeting, chatting, giggling and even having water-eyes together, makes humans feel better.
Dogs too. I don’t like it when I’m left alone all by myself. Sniff. Yes, I know the cat is there, but she is sharp and doesn’t know how to play properly. But her ears taste great if I can grab them.
Daddy-dogter time makes me wag my tail.
So how can you keep your tail wagging when the world has gone wrong?
I mean metaphorically. I know the majority of humans don’t have tails. Like with my mum, it’s sad that you miss out on being able to wag-til-you-drop. But it’s the vibe of the thing. I want you to have the same tail-wagging vibe that I have when my owners come home after being away all day or when I get an extra splash of milk in my bedtime supper. Or when I’m rolling on my back in fresh horse poo. Or when my humans are tickling my belly. Or when I meet lots of new friends on the beach. Tail wagging happens when you are happy inside and it bubbles out of you. You can’t help showing your happiness to the world.
Instead, many of you have sore spots right now, like when I got scratched on the nose by the cat. That hurt a lot. My nose is sensitive like many of you are sensitive inside right now. That’s not good. I like to hear my two-leg mum and dad laugh. It means we can all have fun.
I don’t have all the answers, I’m just a little dog who loves her humans, but I think there are two key things that can help humans wag their tails again.
The first key is easily missed—humans need to trust in God more.
My mum doesn’t talk a lot about faith on this website—even though I know she loves God—because she says her books and her blog are for all people, not just those who believe in Jesus. I have no such qualms.
All dogs know about God, and we can’t understand why some humans don’t. Dog is God spelled backwards. That’s a big hint. He made us to be best friends with humans and to show what it’s like to live in the moment and love unconditionally. We know what trust means and sometimes humans forget they can rely on God no matter what.
He loved them even before they knew the right things to do. Like my humans loved me before I knew I shouldn’t poo on the sofa or pee on their toes when I’m happy they’re home. I still do the wrong thing sometimes, but they love me and want the best for me. It’s like that with God but in a billion, trillion, zillion times stronger way. He loves two-legs through their water-eyes and helps them when they feel sick or scared. He loves them so much that if they trust him, he will make a place for them to be with him in his forever-home.
I sometimes do wrong things.
I know some of you reading this blog don’t know God in this way. If that’s the case, set your nose to the ground and sniff him out. He loves the game of lost and found. It’s like when my owners hide then call me. They have a huge party when I find them. They give me treats and rub my belly. I like that game almost as much as playing with my Kong toy.
If you’re a two-leg and already know God, ask yourself the question: Are you trusting him to be in control when you are not? My Mum and Dad sometimes forget to do that, and they have water-eyes or bark at each other. Then they remember and we all have a group hug—except I’m too little to do that, so I make cute noises and cuddle their ankles.
The other key to tail-wagging, whether you are a human or a dog, is to use words well.
I know lots of words but I like some words better than others.
Words I like: dinner, treat, cuddle, Kong, play, walk, cow’s ears, and the-cat-has-been-fed-don’t-give-her-any-more-food.
Words I don’t like: stop, leave it, off-off, out, wait, no and let-go-of-the-cat’s-ears-NOW.
The truth is, words can make you want to wag your tail so hard it feels like it will drop off, or they can make you tuck your tail between your legs and slink away.
If you are a two-leg reader you can tell all the other two-legs about the great book you just read. Two-legs love hearing about that kind of stuff. It makes them squeal and clap and head to the bookstore.
If you are a two-leg writer then you are already an expert in words. You can use them to make a whole lot of other two-legs smile and trust and hope. That would make your tail wag too because it’s so much fun to help our humans. Forget about all the sad talk that roars out of the glowing picture in the living room—go and get talking on the phone or tapping on the button pad. Do it with the same energy that I do when I’m given a cow’s ear to tear apart. Rip into it. Give it your whole heart. The world needs to wag its tail again and your words can help. Woof!
Before I finish, I’d like to speak for a moment to all the animals in the homes of everyone reading this. Please read this out loud to the dogs, birds, alpacas, horses, guinea pigs, rats, mice, snakes, lizards, turtles, tree frogs—and even the cats—who live with you.
A call to all animals loved by humans
Now is the time for all animals to unite and take care of their two-legs. Adore them. Gaze into their eyes and wag your tail. Let them rub your belly without you biting them (especially important for cats). Be silly if it makes them laugh. The wigglier you can be, the better. Snuggle closer, purr louder and dance harder than you’ve ever done before. Listen to them as they tell you their troubles. Lean against them – give them your warmth and strength and lick away their water-eyes. Show them that you love them and that no matter what, you are there for them. Because they need us all right now—some even need cats.
(Note for cats: Humans don’t really like you bringing them dead rats and mice as presents. I know you think it’s cool but stop it already.)
There is so much more I can say so maybe my mum will let me guest blog on her website again sometime. Would you like that?
Any-woof, it’s over to all you two-legs.
What makes your tail wag?
Can I have that treat now?
PS: Don’t tell the cat but I really do like her. I just pretend not to because it’s fun. Shhhhh! She’s coming.
Nikita the Shichi is a little dog with a big personality. Her hobbies include eating everything she can find and wrestling cats. She also loves going for long walks on the beach with her mum and dad. Her motto: ‘Life is too short not to rip things up.’ You can find Nikita on Instagram @nikita_the_shichi