Is a dirt clod worth anything?
To my dog Wesson it is. He loves to find any small scrap of something in the yard and bring it into the sunroom to chew on at night. You can imagine how this wars with my husband leaving things out from his projects. It wasn’t ever neat and tidy, but it wasn’t chaotic and messy either.
Until Wesson decided to make playthings out of everything left out.
Gloves, old rubber parts of cars, solar panel pieces—I would clean it all up and then something else would magically appear. His favorite was cardboard. My husband had a habit of saving boxes car parts came in, just in case they didn’t work and he needed to return them. But the problem was, he would absentmindedly sit the box down on the grass or on top of something and walk away. Enter Wesson hours later, looking for mischief. And he knew he wasn’t supposed to go after those boxes because he knew we would take them, tell him no while sticking them somewhere else, and then he would try to still seek out the box. Sometimes he would get it too.
It wasn’t like he was deprived of dog toys. I bought the finest on sale off Amazon, including a ball that made whistling noises when it was thrown. He showed no interest in that. No, what he wanted, over the bacon-flavored and peanut butter chew toys was a muddy dirt clod. I don’t know where he found it, but he bounced around with it on the dog beds and got everything muddy, smearing it on the fabric like a kid with a crayon.
When it first appeared, I threw it outside. Wesson immediately went after it, bringing it back into the sunroom. I told him no and this time cracked the door open just enough to throw the dirt and keep the dog inside.
Then my husband went to give the dogs treats a few hours later. Guess who had the dirt clod back in their dog bed? My husband got mad and took away the clod, not giving him any treats. That finally sunk in the lesson that dirt is not supposed to be brought into the sunroom. At least for that night.
In the morning he fished it from wherever the clod lay and played on the porch. I ended up tossing it over the fence to keep the saga from continuing. I gave Wesson the bacon-flavored chew toy but of course he only carried it a few feet and then dropped it.
And then the story continued with Wesson deciding our watering lines for the trees needed chewing on, and be drug across the yard. My husband was not happy about that—now this was affecting his precious trees.
So we buried the lines deeper, cleaned up all the boxes, and our yard looks nicer. We even got a shed to store additional random things so there’s less of a chance of chewing action. But of course, Wesson had to cart off with some of my husband’s tools when he was making modifications to the shed. Fortunately we found them all.
Sometimes what we think what is good for us might not be the best. It’s easy to get fixated on the shiny and not see the downside. That item you last purchased on a whim? Was it really needed? Did you have to go out to eat, or could you have stayed home and eaten a healthier meal? Did I really have to buy my husband that 1 lb Reese’s chocolate bunny for Easter (that I’m regretting now, but it seemed like a cool gift at the time)?
The best thing to do is take a step back and consider where it will take you. Does what you’re doing lead you to your goals? Does it help make your life better? These are the kinds of questions that should permeate when making decisions. Find out what questions matter to you most, can help you out the most, and use them as a tool to guide your steps.