Dogs are much more than a simple companion. They can teach you many things about life if you let them. Their spirit, temperament and personalities are rich bundles of joy that we are lucky to experience. The range of enlightenment they can provide is wide, but here are a few of our favorites:
- How to love life
Dogs are a constant source of joy to us because the world is a constant source of joy to dogs. They see life through fresh eyes from moment to moment. A butterfly sends them whirling, snowfall is just like magic and rolling in the dirt is the most fun they’ve ever had. Learn to appreciate the small things just as much as the big things. Our planet can be an enchanting place when you look at it the way your pup does. Dogs aren’t dreaming all day of new electronics or exotic vacations. They’re busy enjoying the warmth of the sun pouring through the blinds or running back-and-forth just to feel the wind in their fur. There is no harm in dreaming big, but don’t forget to enjoy what you already have.
- The potential behind curiosity
Have you ever watched your dog knock something over just to watch it fall? This kind of behavior seems completely asinine, but it’s not so different from how people behave. We travel hundreds of miles to gaze at oversized rocks. We throw paint on a white canvas just to see what we’ll end up with. We like to be amazed, and amazement stems from some degree of curiosity. Without the attempt you will never know for sure what might’ve happened. You can make assumptions or live with the rules others have explained to you, but life will grant you wonderful surprises if you just let it.
- The image of innocence
In my opinion, dogs are adorable because of their innocence (and their floofy ears). It is their inability to act out of judgement or hatred that makes them so endearing. People often get caught up in their flaws and allow feelings of resentment and insolence to convince them of evil in the world. Dogs remind us of the purity we were all born with. Children are taught many bad habits that dogs never pick up. Dogs are the perfect image of innocence and recognizing that is fascinating to me. Although it’s impossible to return to complete naivety, it is possible to remind yourself of what innocence means. How would a mental reset change the way you see the world? This is a great way to get some perspective when life is feeling particularly heavy.
- The meaning of trust
Is there anything better than the weight of a sleeping dog pinning you to the couch? Of course not! In fact, you’re not allowed to ever get up again. They lay with you like this because your presence means safety and comfort for them. You provide them food, let them out to the bathroom, get them medical care and take them on walks. They rely on you for absolutely everything. As a human adult, imagine how difficult that would be to do. Take time to acknowledge the beauty in the simple fact that your dog’s life is in your hands and they’re not worried about that! We all know how hard it can be just taking care of ourselves sometimes. Follow your dog’s lead and put your faith in something new, even if it is a little scary.
- How to follow your intuition
A storm is brewing 20 miles out and your dog is already in the basement. A family member turns down the street and your dogs are already at the door. You’re having a bad day and your dog trots over to nuzzle their head into yours. It’s possible to attribute these behaviors to a keen sense of smell and hearing, but at some level, dogs are in touch with the universe in a way that we aren’t. Animals can trust instinctual feelings while humans don’t even realize the most obvious signs. Learn to go with your gut. Go on that spontaneous road trip or do a little dance in the rain. Let go of the notions that tell you how to behave or what you want. Obviously, there are limits, but try following your pup around for a day. Watch how they live unafraid of judgement and just do whatever their little heart desires.
- How you should be loved
When you have a dog there is exuberant leaping every time you walk through the door. There’s gentle nudges and meaningful eye-contact when you’re not feeling your best. There is someone who loves to be around you even when you’re grumpy. And you deserve these acts of devotion! People are complicated and often can’t express their love as well as dogs, but the right people will put aside their hang ups to treat you right. Dogs show us that forgiveness and joy should be more plentiful in this life. Try comparing the people in your life to your dog. Humans can never match up to the perfection of a dog, but they should at least be trying.
At the end of the day, your pup just wants to make you smile. There’s something wonderful and pure about that. Pay them close attention and you will wind up with a brand-new outlook on life. Perspective is something we can always use more of.