I don't know a single dog owner who's never looked at their pet and thought, "Man. That guy's got the life." And there's a reason for that. Dogs know the secret to living well. And not just because they don't have to deal with the stresses humans have to deal with, it's just in their blood. And we could all afford to take a page from their book.
Here are 7 life lessons I've learned from my dog.
1. Few things can't be cured with a good old-fashioned run around the yard. Whenever I'm bored, tired, sad, stressed, angry, the feeling immediately is alleviated (sometimes more than others) by a trip outside. The fresh air, the sunshine, the lack of computers, TVs, and phones. It has a way of instantly putting things into perspective.
2. People love it when you're excited to see them. Even if you just saw them five minutes ago. Who doesn't love to see someone's face light up when you walk into a room? Dogs do that all the time! And it's awesome! Instead of continuing to make dinner/chase after my daughter/clean up when my husband gets home from work, I should stop what I'm doing and say, "Hi!!! I missed you!" And then pee on his leg.
3. Other people's trash can be your treasure. Every dog's favorite toy is an empty, crinkled up water bottle. Instead of throwing so much crap out, I should figure out ways to reuse them. And stop buying so much crap!
4. Know that sometimes, all people need is a hug. When I found out my mother was gravely ill, my dog was one of the most supportive "people" around. Normally preferring my husband's lap, he would cuddle up with me on the couch every night, and it was exactly what I needed. I didn't feel like talking. I didn't feel like explaining. I just wanted to know someone was there.
5. Relaaaax. I will never cease to be amazed with dogs' abilities to relax anywhere, any time. While it would be inappropriate for me to curl up in a ball at a colleague's foot during a meeting, I should learn to chill out.
6. Put yourself out there! Dogs have no idea what it means to be embarrassed or uncomfortable, and they want to be a part of everything. I had a rug delivered the other day and my dog attacked the men who brought it in (not in a scary way, in a cute way -- he's a shih tzu). I wish I could approach every situation in life with such gusto and quit being scared of rejection. So what if someone pulls their leg away from you?
7. Cheese is awesome. Plain and simple.
Have you learned anything from your pet?
Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber