Grace, a chocolate Labrador, loved chasing a tennis ball into the waters off of Long Beach, Calif.

A dog named Grace

Grace, a chocolate Labrador, loved chasing a tennis ball into the waters off of Long Beach, Calif.
Grace, a chocolate Labrador, loved chasing a tennis ball into the waters off of Long Beach, Calif.

I am often amazed by how much dogs have to teach us about life.

Long Beach is one of the few places in Southern California that offers a leash-less dog beach. And the chocolate lab named Grace, who I met during a beach stroll, convinced me that us humans have been under-appreciating the bounties of the life to which we are so privileged.

I was walking along the water’s edge when Grace came bouncing past me, chasing her owner, other dogs, and rushing into the Pacific Ocean’s waves – leaping in, swimming out, swimming in, splashing the water at the shore and repeating the whole thing over and over again.

Grace wades in the Pacific Ocean's waters
Grace wades in the Pacific Ocean’s waters

I watched Grace chase a tennis ball into the water, swim out to retrieve it and bring it back, only to wait impatiently for another reason to rush back into the waves.

Her happiness was so powerful, so compelling, it bounded off of her and infected dogs and humans within her proximity.

In leading by example, Grace taught me that I was a fool to merely be wading in ankle-deep water along the shoreline. You’re missing out!, she seemed to exclaim without a word.

If Grace had the opportunity, I wonder how much more she would lead by example. If she could participate in the daily toils of human life, how much more joy would she find in it than we do?

We are fools in contrast to her wisdom. The chocolate lab I met in Long Beach was aptly named.

Thank you Grace.

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