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Letting Go: Lessons from Our Golden Retreiver

November 9, 2009

Cassie Swimming with Tennis Ball

Cassie Swimming with Tennis Ball

I’ve lately been teaching our new dog Cassie how to drop a tennis ball after I throw it in the garden or pool for her to retrieve. She understands but doesn’t want to let go of it. She brings the ball back quickly and then just looks at me as if to say: “Go ahead, let’s have some fun as you try to take it away from me.” I offer her cookies and she sometimes drops the ball and sometimes just wants to grab the cookie while she holds the ball.

I decided I would try to teach her the meaning of “drop it” with two balls. I throw her one, she brings it back and then I show her the other one hoping she will drop the one already in her mouth. Sometimes it works. But more often than not she wants me to throw the second ball so that she can carry both back in her mouth. Something very human about that tendency: why let go of one when I can have both? Hmmmm. Why indeed? For human beings, what is “letting go” really all about?

A big question that I explore in depth here.

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