We Can Learn A Lot From My Dogs.
I have two adorable dogs. They’re fuzzy and like to play and cuddle.
Though they are the same breed (Golden Doodle) they’re very different animals.
Maggie is large – 70 pounds, and lives to be scratched – especially on her chest and belly.
Rosemary is small – 12 pounds, and lives to dismember toys and destroy toilet paper rolls.
For my family, having dogs isn’t an optional part of life; they’re part of the family. They go with us when we travel and are part of our daily life and consideration for just about everything we do.
Though sometimes they make a mess and can be underfoot when it’s least convenient, our two fuzzy girls bring much more joy into our lives than difficulty.
Here are a few lessons they teach us on a regular basis:
Be content with downtime.
These two do not need to be constantly entertained because they are content. They’re content together, and they’re content on their own.
They like to play games, go out, be petted, and get attention, but they also appreciate rest.
Dogs sleep a lot, but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m referring to when they just sit, awake, and are still.
How often do you do that? How often are you just content in your moment & aren’t looking toward, thinking of, or trying to create the “to-do” that’s next?
Position yourself for what you want.
That’s a picture of my husband in the chair he sits in each evening to enjoy a little downtime.
Rosemary & Maggie know that when Bob heads to that spot, they have an opportunity to get some of what makes them happiest: attention, rubbing, scratching, and words of adoration.
Each time anyone sits in that chair, the dogs know they have an opportunity to position themselves to receive what they like the most.
Are you positioning yourself to receive what you want? …what you love? …what you need?
So many times the reason we don’t have or can’t figure out how to get what we want is that we’re standing in our own way.
Get out of your own way and position yourself to receive what you want to receive.
Travel, and though it may scare you, do things.
That’s Maggie at Walt Disney World.
She’s a registered service dog, so she really does go just about everywhere with the rest of the family.
Her day at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando was maybe not her favorite (lots of fireworks – she was not amused), but she did get to see things she wouldn’t have otherwise seen, and she met lots of new friends, including a few you may recognize.
Traveling helps to create pattern interrupts in your subconscious mind.
Those pattern interrupts help you to break out of mundane thinking processes.
That’s why you usually feel so great around the middle of your vacation… you’ve literally given your brain a break.
Travel – get out of your usual bubble.
See new things.
Enjoy this awesome world in which we live.
Be willing to try new things.
It can be scary to try new things, but that’s the only way you’ll find something new that you love.
This picture is of Rosemary (she looks so happy!) after a bike ride.
I have a great bike with a doggie-basket on the front. The basket is specifically made to allow dogs to sit (fastened securely) and enjoy bike rides.
The first time I tried to put Rosemary in the basket, she was a bit afraid… but after a while, she loosened up, stopped exhibiting fear, and now she truly enjoys our bike rides.
Be open to trying new things. You don’t have to keep doing the same thing you’ve tried if you don’t like it… but how will you know until you do?
Appreciate those who are different than you.
Some of the best friends I have in life come from backgrounds that are so incredibly different from mine.
Knowing them makes my life a richer, more interesting place to live.
This is a lesson Maggie and Squirt (our 20-lb Maine Coon cat) show us every day.
When Maggie joined our family, our dog trainer said she would likely ignore the cat.
He is not often wrong, but he was about this.
Maggie and Squirt are buddies. Maggie gives Squirt slobbery massages, and sometimes Squirt gives Maggie massages when they cuddle.
They come to each other’s aid when the other seems to be out of sorts.
They play and enjoy each other.
Two unlikely friends are the best of friends.
Make room in your life for someone who, on the surface, wouldn’t necessarily seem like a natural match. Beautiful things can happen.
Be kind to the little guy.
Maggie holds the tug-rope for Rosemary.
Rosemary pulls and growls and tries with all of her might to get it away.
This doesn’t seem to do much for Maggie, but every few days we see them do this.
Maggie is humoring her “little sister” even though with one slight tug, she could own that rope.
Be kind to the little guy in your life. You don’t know the struggles he has from his vantage point.
Have you ever slowed down to simply observe dogs when they’re playing?
…or even better than that – the moments between their actions of play?
If you do take a moment to enjoy observing their personalities, you’ll see that they smile – A LOT.
Smiling makes you feel better.
In meditation, it’s taught that through having slightly up-turned ends of your mouth helps relax your entire body.
No matter how stressful your moment is, if you take a break from obsessing over whatever is wrong, breath, and smile – it gets better. Your body releases tension and you give your brain a little space to stretch and consider an upside.
There are so many incredible lessons this world can teach you if you slow down and allow it.
Pets teach us all of this and so much more – but honestly, you have learning and growth opportunities at every moment and every juncture of your day.
When you become an observer of life and participant in the day – instead of whirling through your to-do list without regard for the world around you – life gets much richer. Life gets much more worth living. You grow – and you can accomplish incredible things.
If you’ve enjoyed this look at lessons from our pets, here’s another blog I’ve written about the health benefits of having pets. They really do make life a more incredible experience.