Every year at this time most of America is gearing up for the Superbowl. Not me. I’m gearing up for the Puppy Bowl. As you all know, while I enjoy football, baseball is my sports love. But even that is dwarfed by my love of dogs. And puppies are so cute, so innocent, so loving, and so funny that how can I resist watching them compete for the win?
Personally, I find myself rooting for the troublemakers. And why not? I was a troublemaker when I was a kid, so why wouldn’t I be drawn to a gutsy little pup who’s all boundless energy and determined to get his (or her) way? He or she is the one who steals the toys, manipulates competitors away from the finish line, and zips by them when the opening presents itself. He or she is also the one with the most penalties, and who couldn’t care less because he/she can’t wait to get back out there and do something naughty again. I can totally relate, because I was that troublemaker as a little kid. And, like toddlers, all those puppies’ antics are done without malice or secret agendas, but openly, with total innocence and the sheer joy of experiencing life. Ok, yeah, they drive their parents crazy in the process. But that’s just an unintentional byproduct of the personality type.
The concept of personality type brings me to the other reason why I gravitate to the Puppy Bowl. As a writer who focuses on character development and the workings of the mind, and a writer who adores dogs and writes them into all my books, I love studying human AND canine personalities. (Warning: anyone who tells me that dogs don’t have specific personalities and character traits is going to get a diatribe from me on why they’re wrong.)
Let’s focus on the troublemaker personality I described above. What is a dog like that thinking and how does he demonstrate it? Just look at his expression. His eyes are usually bright, his gaze darting everywhere at once, and his ears are standing up tall. He can’t sit still, and, if confined, he’ll probably try to tackle the barrier that’s keeping him from his goal: playtime. Big or small, this pup is an Energizer Bunny. His “tells” also suggest that he’s intelligent, impatient, single-minded, and oblivious to how others judge him. He’s just drinking in life, and yearning for more. I, for one, wish I could be more like him even now that I’m an adult!
That’s just one small capsulized description of one type of pup. I could go on and on. There’s the shy pup, the “affection sponge” pup, the athletic pup, the leader-of-the-pack pup, the I’ll-do-my-own-thing pup, the aggressive pup, the easygoing pup, etc. And each and every one of them has his/her own specific “tells” that clue us into who he/she is.
So, don’t give up the Superbowl. Just tune into the Puppy Bowl earlier that day. Watch those little guys/girls carefully, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. I bet you’ll connect with at least one of them. And, when that happens, pay close attention to your choice—because it probably says a lot about you!