The Things Dogs Teach Us

Dogs really are “man’s best friend.” I’ve grown up with them and I’m confident in saying that dogs teach us some of the greatest life lessons.

PUPPIES ARE LIKE BABIES
Babies wet their dippers. Puppies wet the carpet.

Babies spit up food. Puppies spit up whatever it was they weren’t suppose to eat that day.

Babies put things in their mouths. Puppies put things in their mouths.

Babies cry in the middle of the night. Puppies cry in the middle of the night.

Babies are adorable. Puppies are adorable.

Although I don’t currently have children, I have spend a majority of my life around kids. I babysat my way through middle school, high school and college and if there’s two things children have taught me it’s; 1.) they need a lot of care and 2.) they have a sense of complete innocence.

It’s kind of the same with dogs.

Puppies are a lot of work. They need constant care; food, water, brushing, bathing, house training, play time. Even with your best efforts you may find them still wanting to play after dinner or at bedtime, but you still love them.

It’s like having a child.

Both are completely dependent on you.

Babies teach us patients, among other things. Puppies teach us patients, among other things.

Babies work their way into your heart. Puppies work their way into your heart.

LOOK INTO MY EYES, I’M LISTENING
Have you ever looked a dog in the eyes?

They appear almost human, as if there’s a person inside. Their face seems animated as their little eyebrows wiggle up and down while their eyes are deep and soulful.

I often look into my dog’s eyes when I’m talking to her. (I assure you I’m not crazy. Lots of people talk to their dogs.). She stares back, sometimes shifting her eyes or wiggling her eyebrows. As strange as it may sound, she gives me facial expressions. It makes me feel as though she’s actually listening. I know she is, although she might not understand what I’m saying, I know she hears me.

Dogs are excellent listeners.

BE HAPPY

Everyday when I come home from work, I’m greeted by an excited face and a wagging tail. It’s as if she hears me coming before I even put the key into the lock. She jumps up and down and wants to lick my face as I try to get in the door. Even if it was a tough day at work, I seem to forget all about it once I make it home. All the stress melts away as my dog tries to jump up and nibble my ears (yes, for some reason she nibbles…and it’s cute). So whether the day brought stress, frustration, or I’m just happy to be home (because we all have those bad work days), it’s hard to feel anything but happy around my dog.

Have you ever noticed how dogs are (usually) always happy? They seem to have a carefree attitude, which us humans should think about adopting. I understand we can’t be carefree all the time, but isn’t it true that we stress and worry a little too much? Yes, I know there’s work and/or school, kids, bills, the car, the house and many other big or little things that may come up during the day, but stressing about these things aren’t going to make them better. Maybe adopting a somewhat carefree spirit would help us out. On the other hand, if a carefree spirit isn’t the way to go, then, maybe we should all just try to be happier. At the end of the day the things that make us happy are more abundant then the things that stress us out.

THE JOY OF LITTLE THINGS
The dog found a stick.

The dog found a leaf to chaise across the yard.

The dog is fed and then goes on a walk.

The dog chased a chipmunk up the drain pipe and is now playing with it.

Have you noticed how dogs can find joy in the the little things?

It still amazes me how dogs can be happy doing just about anything. Sometimes the smallest things gives them pleasure. Now, I know some may say that they’re “just dogs,” but that’s not true. They become our friends and teachers. There is something oddly human about them, especially in their eyes. I think we should all listen to this lesson and enjoy the little things life has to offer.

DON’T EAT IT IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS
Every dog I’ve had, or ever known, has always enjoyed a nice helping of yard salad. For some reason they eat grass, even when they don’t feel sick. I wish it was just the grass they had a fancy for, but it’s just about everything they find in the yard, even if they don’t know what it is.

My dogs have eaten tissues (and other items found in the trash), dirt, worms, caterpillars, little beetles in the summer, dandelions, twigs and tree bark, just to name a few. There have been attempts to eat rocks or pebble, bottle caps, erasers, shoes, stuffed animals and leaves, again, just to name a few.

Sometimes, the dog I have now, will put things in her mouth and chew on it for a bit before spitting it out. I guess she thinks it tastes bad or she just doesn’t want it. Every now and again she’ll start gagging because something she wasn’t suppose to eat is slowly working it’s way down her throat. Other times, and not very often, she’ll throw up something she ate and leave a nice pile of undigested something to be cleaned up.

The thing here is, it’s alright to try new things, but really, don’t eat it if you don’t know what it is.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
This one is pretty simple. Dogs will always show affection and love you. Maybe we should think about loving others in the same way.

BE WILD AND FREE
My dog’s crazy (not in a mental way). Fun crazy. She tears around the yard after tennis balls and other toys. At times she doesn’t even bring them back, just runs around with them in her mouth with the intention that I’ll chase her. I usually do, and then end up looking as crazy as her. It’s ok though, because it feels really good to run around for no reason.

That’s the thing about us humans. We rarely take time for ourselves. We rarely throw caution to the wind and do what our hearts desire. Many of us know what we want out of life, but few of us have the courage to chase those dreams. The truth is, or at least I believe the truth is, there are no boundaries in life except the ones we make for ourselves. Still, few of us are willing to be wild and free like a dog tearing after its tennis ball.

LOVE LIFE
I think this might be the most important lesson a dog can teach us; love life.

DOG SPELLED BACKWARDS IS…
No disrespect is intended on this point, but it’s something I’ve thought about off and on for the last several years. Maybe this is why dogs are such good companions. Maybe this is why they are always there for us, always love us, always helping us to find joy and be happy. Maybe this is why they are trying to teach us to love life. After all, every day we’re alive is a miracle, another chance to do good, to live our dreams and to simply live.

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