Huw Le Lytle answers all your questions in his column of wit and wisdom, For the Asking!
Huw’s for the asking!
BY Huw Le Lytle
In today’s questions …
The Secret to Happiness, Sleeping Through Skyrockets, Warming in Onesies
Q: Dear Huw, you are always so smiley! What is the secret to happiness? How does one deal with insomnia caused by loud fireworks? What’s the secret to staying warm this winter? – Mimi, Warwickshire, UK
A: Dear Mimi, thank you for your questions. I think the secret to happiness might be my biggest question yet! I will try and do it some justice. And you know that dogs do have a sense of justice.
And it’s interesting that I say, “do it some justice,” because lots of people think that this is part of the secret to happiness. Plato himself said so in The Republic, which is all about justice. Plato, of course, said that the dog is the true philosopher. And in Plato’s ideal society, all the philosophers (like me) are in charge. I think that sounds like a very good idea.
But back to the very big question of the secret to happiness. Some people say that happiness depends on whether what you are doing can make others happy. Do your actions bring joy? Like if I give a little child a chance to pat a dog for the first time. And when we make others happy, we must be doing something right. So there is something good about my helping that little child meet their first dog. I can tell that the little child is happy, and this usually makes me happy. And did you know that clever people have shown this to be true? Dogs are so special and so sensitive to human behaviour that we actually synchronise our behaviour with yours, especially if we share a strong bond – yet another good reason to be kind to dogs. So our relationships and sensitivity to others are important. In fact, if bringing happiness to others is the way to a happy life, maybe it’s this special sensitivity of dogs that is the secret of our happiness.
And I think using your mind is an important part of happiness. And sensitivity to others is also an important part of learning. I always say, humility is the secret to wisdom. It almost goes without saying that you cannot learn anything if you think you know it all.
We all really enjoy learning new things. And it also helps in other situations (like at the vet, or meeting new people, or facing new situations). So, you can see that learning is then part of our path to happiness. And when we learn to do a trick, even something as simple as a sit (not so simple for me, though, I prefer to do things when I feel like it …) it is stimulating, it can be challenging, and it is a fun part of interacting with Human. And we get praise and treats and … happiness!
I think humans are a bit like this too. When they are encouraged to learn and use their imagination, and when they are acknowledged and valued for their achievements and contributions (no matter how big or small), then that brings happiness. You see, it’s not just about instant pleasures, like a yummy ribbie. It’s about potential. And it’s about a happy and exercised mind. It’s all these things together that make for a happy life.
So I guess that means that the secret to happiness isn’t just one thing, it is a whole recipe. It will be all the ingredients that go into it. So use only fresh and good and healthy ingredients. And in my humble opinion the key ingredients are love and learning. There’s always more to learn.
As for fireworks, well, they are usually the dread of most dogs. We have very sensitive hearing and fireworks can cause huge anxiety. And not just for dogs. Cats, birds, squirrels, hedgehogs … all sorts of animals get worried at the noise. I don’t usually get too bothered by fireworks, but this is my first fireworks season without Leo, and I got a little worried the other night. I didn’t bark. I didn’t run around. But Human noticed that I shivered just a little. So Human suggested we go up to bed early and watch movies snuggled in the blankies, armed with some cheese for some movie snacks (of course!). And so we did. And I slept well, because everyone was around me for cuddles (and it doesn’t seem as loud up there either). So, for me, I like to go up to bed a bit earlier than usual and have cuddles and cheese. And then I sleep like a Bedlington.
And for keeping warm? Why, my onesies, of course!
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Categories: For the Asking