Let’s face it: human lives are stressful, unpredictable, and filled with a constant need to do more, to have more, to be the best. But, when I look at my dogs, I see lives that are carefree, content, and filled with enough–that is, as long as I’m close by.
What could our dogs teach us about life?
1. Live for the now.
So, my dog chewed up my favorite book last year and heard the dreaded “Bad dog!” You know what? She’s over it–long over it. And maybe she will have to go to the vet next Tuesday for shots. So what? All she cares about is the here and now. Let’s go outside! Let’s play fetch! Let’s take a nap! Whatever is happening, she is present in the moment. And the moment is AWESOME.
2. Be quick to forgive.
We all have someone who has done us wrong. And most of us hold grudges. Do you know who never holds grudges? Your dog. No matter what awful thing you may have said to him this morning, he will greet you at the door tonight like nothing happened. And both of you are happier for it. We could all be happier if we showed a little more forgiveness to each other (and to ourselves).
3. Stay loyal to those who matter.
Loyalty can be hard to come by these days. People trade up into new spouses, abandon coworkers as soon as a better-paying job comes along, and ditch their pets when they become too annoying or too expensive. Newsflash: Your dog will never abandon you for anything or anybody. We should all treat the people who matter most with a bit more loyalty.
4. Love fiercely.
My family is wonderful, but not a single one of them has ever looked at me with the naked adoration I see in my dogs’ eyes every day. My dogs love me with every ounce of their being, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve showered, no matter what my hair looks like, no matter what ratty t-shirt from high school I’m still wearing in my (early) 40s. Dogs love unconditionally, and the world could use more of that.
5. Take time to play.
All work and no play makes for a whole world of dull boys and girls. Many of us think that play time is just for kids, but we all need to carve out some time to play. Just look at your dog–whether he’s a puppy or a senior, he’ll keep playing as long as he’s able. And that’s just one of the many things that keep him happy and healthy.
What can your dog teach you?
Spend a little time with your dog today–or, if you don’t have a dog, spend some time playing with a friend or family member’s dog (or go walk a shelter dog–they need love, too!). Let me know what other important lessons come to mind as you contemplate life with your furry companion.