To Live Like Neon
Neon colours are my favourite, because they are bright and make me feel happy to be alive. They are fun during the day when it's bright, but you don't fully appreciate them until you see them glow in the dark; neon colours keep the world bright when everything else is pitch-black. Damn, that's a lot of pressure!
They also remind me of the 80's (the good parts), and go oh-so-well with electronic music, synth, and bass. As far as I'm concerned, there are no downsides to neon colours. But this post isn't at all related to neon colours, despite my contrived introduction. It's about dogs. The connection is so obvious, isn't it? This is Neon:
Last weekend, I went on a dog sledding trip with a group of women I used to work with at Coast Mountain Sports. That's right, dog sledding. I was a total pack leader.
I'm sure they are bred for this, but it's still unsettling for me to see. I'm a softy I guess.
Neon and I hit it off instantly. I was walking up to our expedition leader to get started harnessing the dogs that were chosen for our run, but as soon as I saw this particular dog, he went from standing like a force to be reckoned with, to down on his back, belly up, inviting me to say hello. I obviously complied (because I'm a softy), bent down to pat his belly, and was greeted with a hug and a kiss!
I was shocked at how affectionate he was, and how well we immediately got along! He was so happy, despite being bred to run all the time - the skin under his arms noticeably fatigued and reddened by repetitive forward motions. It didn't seem to matter to him though. I spent 5 minutes hugging him and letting him lick my entire face before the group practically had to tear me away from him so that we could get started on harnessing the dogs to the sleds. I reluctantly stood up, and looked at the name written on his kennel: NEON. No wonder. We were meant to be best friends. Don't believe me? Here's what happened next.
There are over 400 dogs in the entire kennel. Our expedition had 8 sleds in all, with 5 dogs per sled (2 Wheels, 1 Point, & 2 Leads). So, for 5 out 400 - I'm not sure if I'm doing the math right (I am an English major, after all) - there's about a 1.25% chance that the dog that I made friends with would end up on my sled. Coincidence, or fate? I'm saying it's fate. The universe wanted me to tell me that there was something significant about Neon; it wanted me to blog about him, and I.
Tony (Left) & Neon (Right)
Neon is a wheel dog - that means he steers, and carries most of the weight of the sled. They are strong. But Neon wasn't like other wheel dogs. He was calm, never made a fuss, did his job, but liked to have fun as well. When we were on the go, he'd stick his face in fresh snow near-by, and bite it, as if it were a game that he was playing by himself. When we stopped for lunch, he played, and buried himself in snow - by himself. I think Neon is the "me" of dogs.
These dogs all have something in common: they work hard and have a purpose. They are restricted to the whims of their owners and drivers. But Neon makes the best of his situation; even though it is hard work, he is happy doing what he does, and it's because he enjoys himself while doing it. I think that's how everyone should live their life; accepting that some things are out of our control - we work for other people, harnessed into certain jobs, and roles in society - and just choosing to be awesome... to be exactly ourselves.
That's how you overcome adversity, and turn negatives into the most powerful positives. That's a good dog. Cesar Milano would be proud.