By Mike Aux-Tinee.
I have been very fortunate to be friends with some very cool dogs in my life. Each and every one of them had different personalities; each with their own likes and dislikes. In their own unique and special way, they all taught me something different about life. Dogs do not get enough credit for the job they do and the role they play in our lives. We know about the positive impact dogs have upon our health and welfare. What is often overlooked, is what dogs can teach us about life; basically the ropes to know and the ones to skip.
I love dogs and I consider them a member of the family. And just like any other member of the family, they have important life lessons to pass along that can improve our lives; reducing stress and make us happier. Here are a few things that I have learned up to this point from my dogs. This is by no means the only things they have or continue to teach me. Rather, just a few highlights to share with you.
When I would come home at any time of day or night, my dogs were always happy to see me. Without fail, they would sit quietly, their tails wagging just waiting for me to walk in the door so they could pounce! Even if sound asleep, they would bolt from where ever, come out and see me. It would always make me so happy to see them! The only time I was not so excited to see them was when they wanted to play very early in the morning after I got home really late the previous night. I think they were getting back at me for waking them up and decided to use me as a trampoline to send a message! Yea, not so happy to see them then. I would close the door and shut them out, trying to get some sleep. Yea.. that works until they start howling for you let them in… and the longer I took to let them in, the more they sounded like they were being tortured! I resigned myself to the idea it was better to just let them in and get it over with!
Life lesson number one: When loved ones come home, drop what you are doing and greet them.
Animals are very intelligent and can understand what we say. Now, they are not going to understand a complex conversation. But they do understand me when I use simple phrases to convey a thought or idea. And the one that drives them absolutely bonkers (among many) is bye-bye ride. Yea, just say those words together and they lose their minds like children in a toy store! I am not sure what it is about getting in the car and driving around that lights them up so much. They are ready to go at a moments notice and race to the door to be the first one in the car. Once inside the car they find their spot for the car ride. Of course, no car ride would be complete unless they were sticking their mugs out the window! It was always so much fun to take them along and watch them observe the world.
So, life lesson number two: Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride and enjoy the wind blowing in your face!
One of the many things that I love about dogs, is that they keep their lives as simple as possible. Which, I think is a result of their full-time job keeping tabs on us. There is simply not enough time in the day for other pursuits. I had a Pekingese who loved to sit out on the back porch on warm sunny days just watching the world go by. Then, every so often, he would get up from where he was sitting, come inside, walk around and look at everyone. Once he was done, then he would head back outside. I thought it was weird at first, but he would always wag his tail as if happy to see we were safe. He would repeat this all day. With so much effort, later in the afternoon, I would find him crashed out and snoring up a storm. I do not blame him for wanting to take a nap.
Life lesson number three: Take naps.
Going back to dogs understanding what I say, every dog would have their own code word for their special toy. And it would be one word cues, like ball or sockie. Once those words were uttered, it was as if a switch was hit and it’s now play time. They would search high and low for that toy, bring it to you and want to play. No matter what time of day or night. If I did not know better, I think they were knocking back Mountain Dews to keep their energy level up. But it was something that each one of them did their entire lives. And they would always be ready to play. So…
Life lesson number four: Never miss the opportunity to run, romp, and play.
I am amazed at how each dog would in their own special way surprise me with their understanding of my nonverbal signals. They would always seem to know when I was happy or said, feeling good or sick, when I needed to sit and be quiet or when I wanted to run around the yard. I never felt as if they judged me or held me in anything but the highest regard. I wondered if they could sense something about me and just knew how to act. And no matter what was going on in my life, good or bad, they were always there to help make my life better. Yea, those little dogs are cool!
Life lesson number five: When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
One of the games I would play with my dogs is hide and seek. Now, if your dogs are like mine, it would drive them crazy to not be able to find me. Especially if I was gone all day and they want some attention! I had hiding places in the house where I would stash myself and then call out to them. They would come in the room, give it a quick once over and off to the next room. After leaving, I would call out and they would come back trying to locate where I was hiding. I would hide behind a door, on the far side of the bed (bad place, they always seemed to find me there) or in the laundry room. This would go on for a couple of minutes before they would sit down in a central spot and wait; either for me to call out again or to come out. I split it 50-50 on what I would do. But once I would surface, it was pounce-ville!
Life lesson number six: Some times, what you are looking for will come along and find you.
These are just some of the lessons that my dogs have taught me about life. I know I am better off having them in my life and would never trade them for anything in the world. As I said earlier, I have always treated them like a member of the family and they treated me like a member of their pack. Which, if I was still including more lessons to this post, would be to include everyone, never leave anyone out.