I've heard it been said that there are two types of people in this world, Dog People, and the rest of Humankind. I always count one of my greatest blessings the fact that I've always had a dog. The companionship of a good pet can be as valuable to our support system as family.
Today, while working with our Kodhi (a year and a half year old Mutt resembling Wylie Coyote), I realized that no matter how many tricks I teach him, the lessons dogs teach their owners are far more life altering than the "sit" or "speak"
that i try to pass on to him.
Things I've learned from my Dogs:
1. A dog couldn't care less what you do for a living, what brand your jeans are, or how new your vehicle is. They care about the things that matter. You don't even have to be that smart. Those things don't count to a fur baby. A dog judges someone based on whether or not they're kind, if they have a good heart.
My Mom has always said to never question a Dog's judgement of a person. Dogs function at an energetic level, they truly go based on the vibes they get. They gravitate towards certain people, and avoid others. Never second guess a good dog's judgement call.
2. It's ok to have a treat now and then. Even a little bit of chocolate!
3. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, we have off days. If even a dog can have a bad day, we shouldn't put any pressure on ourselves to always be 'up', to always feel great.
4. STRETCH. No one ever had to teach a dog the downward dog, and no one has to remind him to do it. Before you lay down, when you get up, and often in between, stretch.
5. Play. With others, when you're alone. Find the fun, find the funny. I am constantly amazed at the fact that a sense of humor is a trait not isolated to humans. Dogs have an amazing sense of fun, and humor and play. Life isnt permanent, so there's no point taking it too seriously anyway!
6. You don't need much to be entertained. Dogs don't have computers, cell phones, ipads, i phones, (ipaws?) and guaranteed, they don't want one. Sometimes, all you need is a stick with some good company to have the time of your life. Sometimes, they are their own good company. Learn to be your own good company, learn to be comfortable in your own presence, without distractions.
7. Get dirty. Play in the mud, play in the water, splash in the puddles, dance in the rain. Science has even shown that being connected with the earth through our bare feet is one of the best things for inflammation, depression, and sooo much more. (More on this in an upcoming post). The point is, it's good for you, mind - body - and soul to get dirty now and then.
8. It doesnt matter if you've walked that SAME road, creek bed, game trail every day for the last ten years. There is ALWAYS something new and interesting to see. You just have to look for it.
9. Listen. Go sit somewhere nice, and listen. Perk your ears up, see what you miss when you're busy listening to your inner chatter. Without even trying, this is one of the easiest ways to meditate.
10. Look. It doesn't matter for what. It doesn't matter if you even know what you're looking for. Just keep your eyes open for something extraordinary. You never know what you'll find.
11. Enjoy a toasty warm fire every chance you get.
12. Stay clean. Wash your hands, wash your face, brush your teeth.
13. Don't worry, about anything. At least not for too long. Once something is done, it's done. Don't get hung up on the past.
14. Take naps. Sleep in the grass, under a tree, by a fire. Don't feel guilty about.
15. Dogs LOVE to run. They don't log kilometers, or hours, or try to go faster - harder - stronger than the day before. They do it for the love of it. Try it out for yourself... your legs work, your heart works. It by no means needs to be a marathon, or a horrible suffer fest. Just try them legs of yours out once in a while. You might surprise yourself.
16. Eat when you're hungry, drink when you're thirsty. End of story.
17. Be loyal. Once you commit yourself to someone, stand by them, no matter what. Stand by their side, 'lick' their wounds when they need. Shower them with love and affection.
18. There is nothing better than how excited my dogs are to see me when I get home. They make me feel like a gazillion bucks, that unconditional love, that joy! I try to show the same excitement and love and enthusiasm for my husband when he comes home from work, for my friends, for my family when I am blessed enough to see them. Never take anything for granted, show the ones you love how much they mean to you. This is a perfect way - and you might make someone's day in the mean time.
19. Every time my Kodhi gets fed, he comes, tail wagging, and burps a foul little thank you at me when he's done. He is so thankful that I fed him, thankful to have a belly full. Express your gratitude, say "thank you", keep a journal where you keep track of things you're grateful for, or say a prayer. It's the law of attraction - that gratitude brings abundance. Even the Lord's prayer showed us to express Gratitude, especially for our 'daily bread'. To have decent food and clean water makes us more fortunate than half of the world's population. Be unendingly thankful for this, every day.
20. Don't be afraid to ask for something you want. The worst case scenario? You're told no. But you might get exactly what you want. Take the risk.
21. The right facial expression is worth more than a thousand words. You don't always have to TALK. Silence is golden.
22. Sometimes, all a person needs is a listening ear. Not everyone has a dog. Be their listening ear. Again, Silence is golden.
23. Dogs and people alike don't always come from loving homes. Sometimes, they're beaten, yelled at and left to go hungry. Trust issues, anger issues, anxiety and other behavioral problems don't make that person or animal a bad, it's just the product of abuse. Love, and care and attention and lots of work can 'fix' a dog, just like it can 'fix' a person. You never know a person's story, you never know what made them who they are, so its best to not judge.
24. Explore every now and then. Go somewhere you've never been, see something you've never seen. Learn something new about the world around you every chance you get. My dogs have a bad case of wanderlust, and as much as it irritates me, I can relate. You don't even have to be a world traveller, just pack your dogs, get in the car, and go.
25. Protect and Defend your loved ones. It's ok to stand up for yourself, it is honorable to have the backs of your loved ones when they need it.
How lucky are we to have them in our lives?