Over-dogged and the Wanting Mind

On various lists I’ve seen advertisements for adult dogs for sale with the reason for selling: “over-dogged.” I expect a lot of people are “over-dogged.” I know I was with three dogs. Two is a good number for me right now. I feel like I can give them the attention they deserve without feeling overwhelmed. I suppose if I were to keep my dogs in kennels instead of in the house with me, I could “stash” them away if I didn’t feel like dealing with them, but I simply cannot do that. They are intelligent, energetic and sensitive creatures. They want to be with me.

The “Wanting Mind” is a Buddhism term for the “painful aspects of desire: the desires of addiction, greed, blind ambition, or unending internal hunger” (Jack Kornfield). The wanting mind causes me a lot of suffering and also gets me in a lot of trouble. I’m sure it is same for lots of people. If I had this dog from those lines in my kennel I might win a lot in trials; or that dog is so much better than what I have, I must have it; or I like this cross so much I’m keeping two or three puppies from it. Before you know it, you end up with more dogs than you can manage and none of them are doing what you want because you are not putting the time into them. It is unfortunate that for some people animals become as disposable as a pair of jeans. Once it is not working out, either it sits in the kennel or gets passed on to someone else. When I find myself thinking about another dog, I try to clear my mind, in a meditative way, and focus on my breathing.

Two is good for me, two is good for me, two is good for me. It’s important to remember this little bit of advice when I find myself wanting something I don’t have: “Want what you have and don’t want what you don’t have.”