My dog, Magnolia Louise, the Rottweiler-Labrador mix, has been my constant companion, and motivator, for exercising. The poor thing spends her days by AMís side, with very little to do. We both value the time we spend walking or hiking, and sheís usually nagging me to GO. RIGHT NOW!!!
Well, this morning, what a difference! I found a good marrow bone in the refrigerator, so I tossed it onto the floor for Maggie to find later. When she finally woke up, she went straight to the bone. No nagging me. No dancing around and whining to go out. She just lay down and started gnawing.
When I was ready to leave for our morning hike, I had to go find her. She didnít pick up her head or stop her chewing. I had to CALL HER. With one last look at her bone, she came with me and hopped in the car for the drive to the hiking trail.
The uphill was fine. She stayed with me, and ran around, just like usual. But once we headed downhill, she ran WAY ahead of me and waited for me to catch up [usually, she just keeps running]. When I was close enough to satisfy her, she ran ahead again.
Thereís usually a tussle to get her back in the car. That hang-dog Ďdo we HAVE to?í look almost breaks my heart. Not today! She stood by the car and waited for me to open the door.
When we got home, she didnít follow her usual routine of checking out the rest of the yard. Iím not dumb. By this time, I figured something was on her little mind, but I wasnít sure what. I walked down the driveway to carry in the paper. She stayed on the porch, waiting for me to open the door. Very unusual. Iím generally chasing her around the neighborhood by this point.
I opened the door, and she ran back to the bone. No sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to give her the usual treat. No running to greet AM. She didnít even come to say goodbye to me when I left for work, either. She was NOT going to be distracted from this.
This dog would rather have her bone than hike? It was so important to her that she didnít keep her usual routine, and wasnít interested in her usual treats. Maybe sheís bored with her routine? She doesnít get very many bones. For that matter, she doesnít have much stimulation in her life. Otherwise, why would she be so obsessed with that bone?
That makes sense to me. Boredom can work two ways: either we get so bored we canít move in a different direction, or we grab onto anything that holds a promise of breaking the boredom. Maybe to the point of obsession?
No matter what, itís convinced me more than ever that boredom is dangerous. Itís important to switch up not only the food and exercise routines, but also the intellectual routines. Do something different. A museum instead of a movie. A dance club instead of staying at home reading. We need the change.