Dropping my puppy off at doggie daycare and watching the dogs greet each other takes me back to my days as a kindergarten teacher. Each morning began with the same ritual. Students greeted each other on the playground, then, filed into the classroom to put away lunch boxes, hang up back packs, coats, hats, mittens or whatever the current weather situation deemed necessary. My rambunctious crew then made their way to the carpet where we circled up for our morning meeting. Here, everyone in the class was made to feel welcome and part of our little community. We began our meeting by singing a greeting that allowed the students to go around the circle with a hand shake while looking each other right in the eye. My students never tired of hearing their names sung by their classmates as part of this musical greeting. After the greeting, students had the opportunity to share. We heard about family events, both happy and sad, new computer games, and sometimes their hopes and dreams. We then moved on to checking in on the day of the week and then the weather reporter updated us on the current weather situation. Our morning meeting was a special time for us to bond, develop trust, and begin the day with positive energy and hope for a better world.
How does this relate to Jellybean going to doggie daycare? The similarity is uncanny. We pull into the parking lot and Jellybean immediately begins crying and jumping at the window. She knows that we have arrived and she will soon be playing with her fellow canine friends. As we exit the car, she catches the scent of the puppies that have arrived before her. I give her leash a tug, and she slowly begins to make her way inside, sniffing and snuffing the whole way. Once inside the door, she looks up at me and jumps for her little lunch box. Today it is the Snoopy one. If you have been reading my blog for a while you are most likely not surprised by that, as Jellybean is about as spoiled as can be and she loves to carry things. She takes the Snoopy lunch box, handle tightly between her teeth, tail high, chin up and into the lobby she goes. She never fails to bring a smile to the faces of clients and employees alike. She can hardly contain herself as she is led to the actual area where the dogs romp and play for the day.
I never get tired of standing in the lobby, eyes on the TV screen, watching Jellybean enter the play area. The first thing I see is the other dogs in her group stop what they are doing and turn their attention to the gate. One by one, tails begin wagging, and dogs make their way across the room to see which friend is about to join them. Jellybean enters and the fun begins. She stands in the center of the circle, her friends around her. They greet each other nose to nose; all the while every tail is wagging. An occasional bark can be heard from a particularly boisterous friend and that adds to the excitement. At some unknown signal, the morning meeting comes to a close and the dogs scatter about the expansive space, chasing each other, playing with balls, and yes, even sliding down the little sliding board. They too, in their special canine way, have bonded, learned to trust each other, and sent out some positive energy. Who know, maybe they too have shared their hopes and dreams.