We have a new neighbor on our hill. I met him the other day when I was taking my beloved old puppy--whose arthritis prevents him from getting a walk--out for his drive. My neighbor was walking his three pups down the hill, so of course as mutual dog lovers, we had to stop and have a conversation. One of my neighbor’s dogs only sported two legs; he had a wheeled contraption that took the place of his back legs. Another of his dogs rolled around gleefully in a doggy-perfected “wheelchair” with his three legs, and the last of his cuties had the more common four legs. Despite their differences, all three dogs were obviously happy, healthy, enthusiastic critters.

And my sweet 14 year old Ringo, despite his creaky hindquarters and sagging back, enjoys his car rides enormously, muzzle straight into the wind like any self-respecting dog.

What a wonder our animal friends are! They don’t complain about much of anything. Certainly, if an animal is mistreated or abused, they suffer, but under normal conditions, our furry-friends accept their condition and enjoy life as it is. Right then, right there. Even the small lizard that I’ve come to recognize because he has half his tail missing, plunks himself on my deck to enjoy the sun, tail or no tail.

What is it with us humans that we complain about the least little ache and pain? It doesn’t make the pain go away, actually, dwelling on pain usually makes it worse. Yet here we are, moaning and groaning while three legged dogs hop around happy.

I am reminded of six dogs that were rescued recently in North Carolina. Trapped in their cage, about to drown in the still-rising flood-waters, the dogs were set free by rescuers. The pups ran out of their cage through the water to dry land, wolfed down the food given them by their good Samaritans, and wagged their tails: “Now what?”

Unlike us, the dogs did not revisit their recent trauma, complain about their days without food, no doubt scared and cold, they simply--once rescued--resumed their doggy lives. Now granted, sometimes revisiting the past is helpful, even necessary, for us. Process the experience, sure. Look for a solution or resolution, absolutely. But what we don’t need to do is complain about it.

So I’ve decided to give myself a most unusual present this Holiday Season. I’m going to quit complaining. At least as often as I can catch myself doing it (there’s a challenge for you!). And I invite you to join me, if you like, in ditching the complaining.

After all, who seems to be having more fun, us or the dogs?

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right” (MindLab Publishing). You Matter. You Count. You Are Important. Visit www.noellenelson.com, https://www.facebook.com/MeetTheAmazings, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson