Lessons

Dogs are a huge part of my life. I’ve grown up with them and, as strange as it might sound, whenever I’ve needed a friend, my dog has been there. (They don’t call them “man’s best friend” for nothing.) Every dog I’ve ever had has always been able to make a bad day good, make me laugh and make me smile, showed me an abundance of love and taught me about loss.

This past week, I was thinking about how we spend so much of time training our dogs and saying what a great life we’re giving them. But what if it’s the other way around? What if dogs are the ones teaching us life lessons and enriching our lives?

Think about it.

M13Dogs are the ultimate procrastinators (mostly because they have no schedule). The other day when I took my dog, Maggie, for a walk, I started thinking how she could probably wander forever. Or at least a very long time. She would be completely content to sniff under every rock and around every tree.

Humans always seem to be on a time schedule. We always have someplace to be. We’re clock watchers. We look forward to the future (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but miss out on the present. We rarely seem to enjoy current moments because we are too busy looking forward to the next big thing. But maybe if we just wondered around for awhile, sniffing under every rock and around every tree (not literally of course), who knows what new adventures we could find. When I go for walks by myself, I usually only have a general direction as to where I’m going. Other then that, I just wander.

Dogs are usually always ready to play. I’ve lost track of the number of times in a day my sweet baby girl (or fur-baby, as I’ve heard this reference from others) has brought me a toy – indoor or outdoor. She runs around like crazy. But she’s really just having fun and doesn’t care who’s watching.

We seem to care a little too much, sometimes, about what others think when, really, we just need to be ourselves. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this, but I’m better then I was in the past. Sometimes you just have to run free like dogs do and say who cares. And, at times, I do.

Dogs are always ready to love. Unconditionally.

I’m not really sure what more there is to say about this one. Dogs love you. No matter what. Maybe we should show each other more love and less hate. Maybe that would make the world a better place.

The love I’ve had for all my dogs makes it that much more difficult to let go. Everything has it’s time and where there is love, there is loss. Some may say they are just dogs, but any pet owner knows that they aren’t just dogs. They become family, best friends. And while I have my human family (who I love), my best friends (who I also love), I also have my four legged family/friends. My dogs. Every dog that’s ever entered my life. And that’s how I see it. I haven’t entered their life, they’ve entered mine.

When I lost my first dog, Misty, it was rough. It’s still hard to think about now, and writeMisty_B&W about, but she helped me through elementary, middle and high school. She was there through all four years of college and even helped me work my way through my first job. No matter how rotten of a day I had, she was always there to make it better.

Now I have Maggie. She was with me through my second job and still is, as I follow my passion for writing, photography and music. The whole time she has loved me and I’ve loved her too.

I’m well aware that dogs have a different mindset from humans, but I do believe that we can learn a thing or two from them. They can teach us about peace and tranquility, about enjoying life, exploring our surroundings, caring for one another as well as love and loss.

Maybe dogs are the greatest teachers of all.

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