Well, of course I miss my dog! She was sweet and funny and beautiful and loving. It is not exactly a hot news flash that I would miss her now that she is gone at the ripe old age of 15. But you know, it’s more than missing the greeting when I come through the door. It’s more than the laugh when you need a laugh. It’s more than having someone to pat on a bad day. And it’s even more than having someone to talk to who seems interested in what you have to say when no one else is.
The thing I realized as I went out to garden today is that I looked around for the dog so I could let her out with me. It was so disappointing that she wasn’t there to let out, not just because it’s companionable, but because it made her so happy to do things like that. And that’s what I am really missing about my dog–you could do pathetically little things for her and it would make her so, so happy. I could make a list of the things that made Gracie happy and I’d still be typing hours from now, because she, like most dogs, had the gift of finding joy in the small moments of life.
It also made me realize that it’s one of the central reasons I became a librarian, and particularly a children’s librarian–you have many chances to make people happy. They aren’t always as open-hearted as a dog, of course, but still, you can make them happy by just finding the book that they wanted or the information that they needed. You can make them happy by signing them up for a program or showing them how to do something on the computer. Really, you can make them happy just by smiling at them and making them feel welcome.
It is a problem with my new job in administration that it’s become a lot harder to make people happy. For some of them, it’s just impossible–people who were once very friendly now treat me a little like the enemy just because I am now One of Them. And in all honesty, the higher up you move in an organization, the less your job becomes about making people happy. You can make them feel that you value their work, and that the work they do is important. You can go to bat for them to make their lives better. You can try very hard to notice what they need and to get it for them. But you just don’t have the same day-to-day opportunity to make people happy as you do when you are a librarian working with patrons.
So I treasure my times on the patron floor these days. I appreciate my little moments of joy like when my rose bushes suddenly explode like today. And I’m thinking there’s probably a dog waiting out there for the right moment to come into my life, the same way Miss Gracie did. I sure hope so!