Relaxation Lessons from a Jack Russell Terrier


Young Smudge
Young Smudge

Relaxing never came easily to Smudge. Indeed, for most of her life, she has struggled mightily with it. Terriers (especially Jack Russells) are just like that; if you’ve ever had one, you understand. Now in her twilight years (she’s 17+), she has become something of an authority on this topic (among others) and I’ve picked up some useful tips from her.

Whether you’re going on vacation, planning a stay-cation, or just enjoying a day off, here are 10 things Smudge has taught me that will help you relax and replenish:


  1. Destinations are not that important. The joy is in the meandering. There may be something especially pungent under that OTHER shrub. The freedom to explore the possibilities is pure gold.
  2. Don’t be in a hurry. The next fire hydrant could be even better than the last one. Each one needs to be thoroughly examined.
  3. Dawdling is allowed. Every scent is like an email sent by another dog. Sniffing and replying appropriately is just common courtesy. It’s the doggie equivalent of social media.
  4. Be open to new encounters. The big dogs aren’t always arrogant and scary and the little guys often have something worthwhile to say, too.
  5. Wag your tail a lot. It’s good exercise and it makes the people around you smile and talk kindly to you.
  6. Be patient with humans. They are easily distracted by others of their own kind and may want to stop and chat. Just let them; it’s a good opportunity to chill.
  7. Let it roll. When your people get impatient or upset with you, remember: it’s probably not about you, it’s about them. They lead very complicated lives.
  8. Senior Smudge
    Senior Smudge

    Physical limitations can be a blessing. Loud noises no longer startle when your hearing starts to go. And with failing vision, the squirrels aren’t nearly so distracting. (They were always over-rated anyway.)

  9. There’s no shame in slowing down. As you grow old, you have less to prove. You get kudos just for waking up in the morning.
  10. Hurry home. There always a treat – and a nap – waiting for you there.



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About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

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