I thought I was smart enough to be able to teach my dogs, “Sit, paw, kiss mommy.” Unknowingly, they have been teaching me far more valuable lessons you wouldn’t expect to glean from someone who cannot utter a coherent syllable. Not unless of course it is a husky who is an expert in sassing. “Woo yoo woomoon!”
- Show gratitude. When given a treat, wag your tail. Lick your owner’s hand. Let them realize you appreciate the gesture and the thought. Return kindness in however way you can.
- Don’t live life at a breakneck speed. Stop and smell the leaves. Every damn leaf. Be in the moment. Take time to enjoy the simple pleasures.
- Be silly. Chase your own tail. Get scared by your own farts. Fight with a lemon. Not everything needs to make sense.
- Be compassionate. We might not understand the intricate workings of human behaviors but we sense these emotions and we react accordingly. We know that our warm, furry presence beside them draws out these happy hormones. Be kind, just because.
- Interact. Connect. Bark your hellos to those you meet along the way. Hold your hands up, or paws, for a high five. Even a shy smile can mean a rainbow to someone.
- It’s okay not to be okay. There are days when even an enticing game of tug is not enough to keep us bouncing off our feet. We have our moments too when we just want to be in our little, dark corner. Not every moment is unicorns and butterflies, and that’s perfectly alright.
- Some, if not most things, are worth the wait. We know our humans and we trust that they always come back. Waiting for them to open that door does not take away the enthusiasm we show whether the wait was for five minutes, five hours, or five years. It pays to be patient.
- Be lazy. Being idle is not a sin. Take a nap on the couch. Wake up then nap some more. That body needs and deserves a rest. Indulge whenever you can.
- Fear can be overcome with love. Even the most aggressive and frightful dogs can become tame and gentle. Letting go of insecurities and being open to receive love make this transformation possible.
- Forgive. Even those who love us hurt us sometimes. But that’s okay, we should not hold grudges. We still smother them with love like there’s no tomorrow.
And probably the most important lesson would be to PLAY. Life is too short to not live in the moment. We might live it driven by different aspirations and pressures but there should always be time to play. Because this means that we genuinely care for ourselves. That we are mindful of fulfilling our ongoing physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and moral developments. Play your way to happiness.
In loving memory of Cody, our fur baby with nine lives.