Our household isn’t as full now as it has been over the years. Although the kids and grandkids live pretty close by, most days it’s just the wife and me in the house. And the dogs. I’ve had more time to hang out with the dogs the last month or so, and they have taught me or reminded me of some very good lessons. Here are just a few.
- It’s okay to experience and express joy. My dogs get so excited when it’s time to eat or time to go for a walk. When they see me headed to get the dog treats or if I grab their leashes, they start prancing and dancing and wagging their tails. They get so excited about something which many of us would consider simple, everyday things. Maybe all of us should do a better job of appreciating and finding joy in “simple, every day things.” Experiencing and expressing joy is a good thing.
- Don’t worry all the time. As I just said, my dogs get excited every time they see me grab their leashes. They figure they are about to get out of the house and go on a walk. They look forward to tracking some squirrels, barking at cats and sniffing some trees. They expect the best of things. Now, it should be noted that sometimes when I grab their leashes, we do not go on a walk. Instead, we end up going to the veterinarian’s office. My dogs don’t care for that. But that only happens about 1 out of 100 times that I grab the leashes; maybe less. What I saying is that my dogs don’t let the 1 out of 100 chance that we might be going to the vet cause them to run every time I grab the leash. They don’t let some “worst case scenario” rule their decisions and ruin their day. If they did, they would miss out on a lot of good walks and good times of tracking squirrels, barking at cats and sniffing some trees. If you worry all the time, you will miss out on some good times. Don’t worry so much.
- Take care of your pack. Just because my dogs don’t worry all the time doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned about the well-being of everyone in their pack…which includes me and other family members. If they hear some unusual noise, they will check it out. If something doesn’t seem just right, they will alert the others. If they see something, they will say something. Both of the dogs we have right now, can be a little timid and scared of new or different or loud things. I have one dog that hides on the couch and one that hides behind the couch when the vacuum cleaner comes out! But as timid and as scared as they can be, they would take on lions and tigers and bears if another member of the pack was threatened. That’s a good quality. We should take care of our pack, even when it’s scary, even when it’s hard, even when it’s difficult and dangerous. Take care of your pack.
- Be a good listener. Part of taking care of your pack involves being a good listener. My dogs are excellent listeners. If I have a bad day, if I have a problem that I am trying to work through, if I’m feeling down or even if I am feeling great and just want to tell somebody how wonderful things are going, my dogs are excellent listeners. They will let me share, they will let me vent, they will let me complain, they will let me share whatever is on my mind. They are great listeners. They won’t try to fix my problems, they won’t make any judgments or suggestions, they won’t try to burst my bubble about some good news I am sharing, they will just listen. I like that. I think too many times most of us don’t spend enough time listening. We need to be more discerning about what other people need. Many times, in fact, most times people don’t want or need us to “fix” their problems. They simply want and need to be heard. Be a good listener.
- Listen to your body. Speaking of listening, listen to your body. Naps are good. My dogs love to nap. In fact, one of them was telling me the other day that if he doesn’t get 20 hours of sleep a day then he knows he is in for a ruff time. Okay, that was bad. But my dogs do love to nap. And they will nap when they are tired; it does not matter what else is going on, they will find a spot on the couch and go to sleep. And if we are on a walk and they are starting to get a little hot, they will take a break under the first shade tree we come to. It’s good to walk and exercise, but don’t overdo it. My dogs do a good job of listening to their bodies. They eat when they’re hungry, sleep when they’re tired and rest when they’re weary. That is a good lesson for all of us. Listen to your body.
There are more lessons, but five seems like a good stopping place for now. Besides, it’s time to take the dogs around the block. I can hear them prancing already! May you and your family, have a wonderful day.