It’s no surprise I’m a dog person. Hell, if I’m writing a post dedicated to dogs then well, that should tell you enough as it is. To be honest, I’ll say it — I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like dogs err animals in general. I mean, who couldn’t?
Sometimes I notice I yell at my little dog Merlot and no matter what I do he always returns everything with love. It had me thinking — wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all took a lesson or two from our furry best friend? I think so. So here are a few things we could all learn from dogs:
1. Live in the moment.
Although dogs remember things like where the treats are kept, what street takes them home and who they’ve met before, they only access that information when they need it — in the moment. Whether they’re eating a bowl of kibble or chasing a ball, dogs live for the present moment. The past is gone; you can’t do anything about it. The future is unknown. The only thing you can really enjoy and affect is the present moment. If we all lived like that… well damn, life would be SO much easier.
2. Don’t hold grudges
Ahh probably my hardest one yet. I honestly admire dogs for having this crazy ability to NEVER hold a grudge. A grudge is a feeling of resentment toward someone. It originates in our mind. Humans are probably the only species that holds a grudge. A dog will never be angry with you because you didn’t give him a treat after dinner last night. Trust me, I do it to Merlot all the time. Holding a grudge weighs you down emotionally and keeps you from moving forward in life. Let grudges go and you will create your own personal freedom.
3. Play every day.
Dogs love to play, which usually involves lots of movement, whether it’s running, chasing or jumping. This is a good reminder for us to play and move our bodies every day as well. Playing opens up your mind and spirit to all kinds of new ideas and creativity. It’s a needed break from the constant work environment. And if you can exercise while you play, even better. Dogs actually give you a reason to get out and go walking, hiking, running, and/or biking.
4. Accept yourself.
I always wonder if Merlot would be happier as a big Golden Retriever when we cross one on our walks. Honestly though, can you imagine my little guy guy wishing he were anything other than a Yorkshire Terrier? We humans spend a lot of time trying to make ourselves look like someone else’s version of perfection instead of loving our unique features, our unique life, and yes, our unique problems. How boring it would be if all dogs (or all humans) looked and behaved alike! Love everything about yourself — the good, the bad and the ugly!
5. Appreciate the small things in life.
We’ve all bought our dogs toys from PetSmart for a price we wouldn’t dream of paying for ourselves, only for the dog to get more enjoyment out of chewing on your old shoes than he ever does out of the brand-new squeaky toy you just bought. Why? Because dogs don’t care about name-brand items. If it’s fun to play with, they’ll play with it. We could learn a lot from this – sure, it might be nice to splurge from time to time and pay for things that might be overpriced because they have the high-end labels on them, which is all fine and dandy, but let’s not forget to appreciate the smaller things in life that we can get just as much enjoyment out of as well.
6. Never underestimate the power of a good nap.
Napping is always a good way to get rid of stress, which might be why you rarely see a dog popping anxiety pills. If you have one of those days where it feels like the world is just a bit too much to handle, take a nap and wake up with a refreshed feeling and hey, guaranteed your dog will be right there next to you doing the same.
7. Love unconditionally.
There’s one thing I have to say I will never quite understand about dogs and it’s one of those things I completely admire. No matter what, dogs love you unconditionally. How is that possible, right?! They wag their tails when they see you, no matter what mood you’re in. Sometimes I literally go take the trash out and it takes me about 2.5 seconds and as soon as I walk back in the house my dog acts like he hasn’t seen me in 10 years. They still want to give you big wet kisses, even if you’ve just yelled at them. And they instantly forgive you no matter how you behave. Loving others unconditionally is a difficult task, but it’s the one that would surely make the world a better place if we all just tried.
Let’s face it, humans may be the most intelligent things on the planet, but we sure could learn a lot from our less advanced pals from time to time. Without a doubt, my dog has an amazing approach to the way life should be lived and well we should all try to do a bit of the same.