10 Important Lessons I Learned From My Dog
Dogs can be some of the greatest teachers in life, if we let them.
Posted Sep 03, 2019
A little over four years ago, when I walked into Real Good Dog Rescue, I had no idea what I was about to endure: the most excellent adventure of my life. I walked into the feed store with every intention of just buying a bag of food for my older dog and ended up walking out with a 4-month-old adorable terrier mix named Moo.
We journeyed through two cross-country moves, have traveled to over a dozen states together and have adventured over 1,000 of miles in the backcountry together. Whether we are road tripping, skiing, paddleboarding, hiking, or going on sunset walks; Moo always finds a way to live her best life. She is a force to be reckoned with, but over the past 4.5 years, she has taught me so many valuable life lessons.
Dogs give everyone a chance: Whether it is a stranger walking on the road, the mailman, a neighbor or a close friend; Moo always enthusiastically greets people with an open mind and open heart. With her tongue hanging out and her tail wagging, she is always so friendly to anyone and everyone she comes across. As humans, we tend to be a bit closed off and allow our moods to dictate how we interact with others. Imagine a world where everyone was happy to greet everyone they come into contact with, regardless of what they are struggling with in the current moment.
Dogs wake up every morning happy and excited to start the day: Every morning, Moo peeks out from under the covers, tail wagging, ears perked and runs right up to me wanting pets and cuddles. She is always so happy in the morning and ready to start a new day. I always look at mornings as a fresh start to begin a great day; however, I usually need a moment to wake up, and I need a cup of coffee. Many of us are not exactly morning people, and that is okay, but what if we looked at each day as a fresh start to happiness? What if we woke up every morning with our tails wagging and smiles on our faces?
Dogs are loyal: A dog will always be your best friend as they aim to please their human companions. Moo follows me everywhere, regardless if we are home or in the backcountry. She is extremely protective and can read my emotions. No matter if I am happy, sad, or angry, Moo is always there by my side. As humans, we often write other people off because “they did us wrong.” Instead of working through problems and working on forgiveness, we tend to turn our backs on others. Loyalty is an incredible trait and is the backbone of every relationship. A loyal friend is the best type of friend to have.
Dogs will try anything once: Whether it is swimming in an alpine lake, jumping off rocks or riding in a backpack; dogs will usually try anything once. They may not like it, but they will try it because they are loyal and aim to please. Trying things for the first time pushes us out of our comfort zones and allows us to discover new things that we make in fact love. If we stay in our comfort zones the entire time, then how we will we ever learn what we like? Life starts once you step out of your comfort zone. Try new things and push your limits.
Dogs forgive: Moo will sometimes act naughty by peeing on the floor or chewing an article of my clothing. I will give her a light discipline, and afterward, I can tell that she is sad, but it does not take long for her to forgive and forget. She does not hold grudges and is back to her happy, loving self after an hour or so. As humans, we can learn a lot from dogs about forgiveness. Holding grudges is unhealthy and only makes us turn into bitter, angry people. Forgiveness allows us to free ourselves and move on.
Dogs seek companionship: Companionship is incredibly important in life. As humans, we crave physical touch, emotional bonds, and mental stimulation from others. Even if we are introverts, we still thrive on human connections. Dogs are the same. They seek out humans to feel loved. Moo always wants belly rubs, will run up to me for a hug and thrives on playing fetch. Dogs and humans were not meant to spend their lives alone.
Dogs love to play: Whether Moo is chasing her tail, chasing squirrels, chasing bears up trees or playing fetch; she loves to play. Dogs love to let loose and have fun. Regardless of how old we are, we must find time to play. Whether it is chasing our kids around, adventuring in the outdoors, dancing or singing along to our favorite music; we must find time to “let our hair down” and play. We are never too old for playtime.
Dogs always find time to greet their loved ones: Whether we come home dirty and hungry, or we had a bad day at work; dogs are still at the door with their tails wagging and so excited to see their human companions. It is so essential that we pay our loved ones the same greeting when we come home. Even if we had a bad day, it is crucial to put our feelings aside for a minute and greet the ones who matter to us.
Dogs practice self-love: Have you ever seen a dog that is unhappy about his appearance? Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and many are downright funny-looking. Regardless of appearance, dogs happily live with who they are; it does not matter if they have a leg or tail missing; they make the best of what they have. As humans, we are so hard on ourselves. We are our own worst critic, but if we took time each day to compliment ourselves on who we are, we might find ourselves actually loving who we are. Once we love ourselves then we can begin to love others.
Dogs live in the moment: Dogs do not think about yesterday or tomorrow. They listen to their primary needs at the moment. Whether it is to play ball, sleep, or eat, they enjoy what’s happening at the moment and make it count. Moo plays hard, sleeps hard, and drinks water until she pukes. As humans, we often are so focused on our future dreams or are agonizing about the past mistakes that we often forget about the present. Living in the moment and enjoying what is in front of us can increase our happiness and gratitude.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”