When I was little I begged my mom and dad for a dog. They finally gave in and got me one in exchange for
bribing encouraging me to learn how to water ski when I was twelve years old. Ever since then, I have always had a dog.
Right now we have two, actually – a sheltie and a shih tzu.
They both have their very distinctive personalities. The shih Tzu is mine. She and I have been together (13.5 years) longer than my husband and I (9 years). She will be 14 years old in September. She plays the part of the stubborn, grouchy old lady. She loves to sleep, snuggle and eat…and not much else! She whines at me (in more of a cooing a pigeon-like fashion) when she wants something, and I am usually able to figure out what she wants. I am her favorite person in the whole world.
Our sheltie plays the part of the antagonistic little brother. He loves to aggravate his furry sister. He is playful, smart and he has a sense of humor. He thinks he is in charge, and he is perpetually trying to keep us all in line. He is very charming when he wants to be. My husband is his favorite person in the whole world.
But beyond their funny quirks, having dogs has actually taught me a few life lessons. So I thought I would share!
1. Be present and in the moment.
I tend to be a futurist, meaning that I focus on dreams and the things I want to accomplish. It is easy to get lost in my own thoughts and miss what’s right in front of me! But dogs don’t worry about tomorrow, and they are never mentally someplace else. All they know if the here and now.
2. Show affection to those you love
Always greet loved ones when they walk in the door. Don’t just tell them, but show your loved ones that you love them. Never take for granted how much joy you can bring your loved ones just by showing you love them.
3. Don’t forget to play!
It is easy to get very tasked focused, especially when there is so much to do! And so little time to do it in. But we are robbing ourselves of the joys of life if we forget to stop and enjoy ourselves. And to find joy in even the simplest things like a walk outside or the wind in our face.
4. Trust your instincts
So many times when I was younger I would have a gut feeling, only to talk or reason myself out of it. But as I get older, I am realizing that my instincts are pretty darn good most of the time. My dogs amaze me at what good judges of character they are.
5. Be humble. Because it’s not all about you.
Is there anything more humbling than cleaning up dog poop? Or dog puke? Seriously though, a dog does not care if you are a Big Deal. A dog doesn’t care if you have millions of dollars. A dog does not care if you are overweight. All they care about is that they love you, and you love them back.
Do you have pets? What life lessons have you learned from them?