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What Our Dog Teaches Us

by Bethany

While HisFI and I are not parents to homosapiens, we are parents to our animals. Animals offer unconditional love. We were both raised with animals. I on a small rural farm and HisFI on a ranch that trained and bred horses. In fact we met at a veterinary clinic where we both worked for several years.

The love for animals was so strong we even broke a lease for it. One of the worst financial decisions we have made, but still one of the best lifestyle choices. We rented our first apartment together and it was amazing. We even had a great view of a greenspace. Only catch? No animals allowed.

This literally killed us. I was ready to rescue every kitten I could find and stash them away in our closet….haha! Don’t worry I never followed through. Finally, the no animals and insanely loud neighbors above us set us looking to rent a home. We found a home in an ideal location that allowed up to three pets and had a great yard. Thus, breaking our lease and paying out the nose so we could grow our fur baby family.

I do not regret this choice in any way because our animals have taught us so much. When I look at Twila our dog, she has some of life’s lessons down. The way animals approach the world can teach us all something about values and awareness.

Routine

Twila has set meal times. Set meals and gets the same walk every day at 3:45 when I come home. She knows this and is ready to quickly comply. She loves the long hikes on the weekend and small treats that break her routine, but remains content with the daily flow.

We use these walks for our own exercise as well. Our new Borzoi Henry helps even more now as we have to get up and out to wear down his puppy energy.

HisFI and I both wrote down an ideal morning routine for ourselves. This has changed the quality of life for us. We also set boundaries for TV watching and date night. The routines have allowed for time spent together and staying productive. The routines line up with our goals and give us structure.

Humans and your pups crave some structure. While a routine is essential, we also have days where routine must be broken. Travel, hiking every weekend,  happy hours,  finding adventure and taking classes at the gym give us variety to keep us from becoming robots.

Positivity

Twila gets the same walk everyday like I said. Occasionally we take a different block to the trail by our house, but we end in the same field. Everyday she runs gleefully through the field racing and sniffing and generally enjoying herself.  She finds the joy in the simple things and does not stop to think about what is missing or what else she needs.

She simply is.

Honestly she has living in the present down pat and I am a bit jealous. This has led to a kind of positivity I am striving for. To find the joy in the simple things. To see the mundane as magical.

Awareness

She is always watching. She watches our movements and body language. She looks in the trees and observes the seasons. She smells the air and searches for a squirrel. Yet she does not hold expectations for the squirrel, only that she be aware of its presence.

Being aware allows her to navigate the world in an informed fashion. Her reactions seem appropriate to the situation because of this (most of the time). She is occasionally a total scardy cat, but after being reassured she resumes her normal state not long after.

Isn’t the same true for us?

Rest

A favorite pose of her’s is to stretch out on the entire couch and take a nice long nap. Meanwhile, we aren’t really sure where to sit. Napping daily is a part of animals lives. Resting, sunbathing, stretching every single time they get up an taking those ridiculous long sighs.

If only I could remember to do that and practice a little more self care. (Working on it!) It is ok to rest. Do not be too much of a work horse.

Kindness

Not only is Twila kind to herself she is constantly kind to us. Reminds us gently. Waits patiently and always makes sure to reward us for any kindness we show her. In the evening when she cuddles up by my side and lays her head in my lap, I can’t help but be so filled with love.

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While it may seem that this post was only a ploy to post a zillion photos of our super cute dog, it kind of was. It is also a post to remind myself (and you) of the attributes I often leave by the wayside when in the hustle and grind of it all.

If you all have fur babies I want to here about them! I want to hear all about the lessons they have taught you. 

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13 comments

freddy smidlap May 9, 2018 - 5:38 am

about 10 years ago we rescued a big 4 year old brindle boxer. he was a real knucklehead and high strung like the breed tends to be, but jolly, happy, and friendly every day of his life. he came with a lot of bad ideas like pushing past humans at the front door and running out into city traffic and not coming back when you tried to wrangle him. he also had terrible separation anxiety and had to be crated for awhle as he overcame scratching up the antique front door or pulling all the coats down from the rack or eating the bread off the counter. after about 6 months of this we stopped getting mad about it and learned tremendous patience as he hadn’t been given the tools to cope. he eventually became a great off leash dog and didn’t need the crate when we left and it was a real joy to see his progress. we could have kept training him to be even better behaved but didn’t want to train the personality out of him and left him challenging in a few ways. this is how we like our friends, too, even with quirky challenges. anyhow, so much less bothers us and a lot of it is due to that darned dog.

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Bethany May 9, 2018 - 4:14 pm

This is a beautiful story. I am so glad you were able to train him and integrate his goofy personality into your family. Plus he made your life that much better. Love this!

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Yellow Brick Freedom May 9, 2018 - 7:12 am

Love this article so much! I think humans have a lot to learn from our furry creatures.

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Bethany May 9, 2018 - 4:15 pm

Thank you! I agree- I am always in awe of some of their traits.

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steveark May 9, 2018 - 9:12 am

We have a couple of outside dogs that serve as watchdogs, albeit they aren’t always very watchful! But they have taught me that dogs are not like people. Nature has zero compassion when it comes to the food chain as they kill everything they find in the 800 wooded wetland acres behind my house and drag it back home with them. Deer, beavers, rabbits, skunks and armadillos. And my dogs unconditionally love anyone who will feed them. The outdoor cat that serves as a mouser to protect the wiring in our vehicles and equipment has taught me that her biggest frustration in life, shared by all cats I think, is that she is not big enough to kill and eat me. Other than that I don’t think they are very deep thinkers. On the other hand my three grown millennial kids all think their indoor dogs are just a different kind of human. And they are generally pretty rational adults, so who knows?

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Bethany May 9, 2018 - 4:17 pm

First: They bring home deer!? Those are some serious dogs.
Second: I will side with your kids in that our animals are our family- still animals- but family and we tend to think of ourselves as pretty rational adults here too. 🙂

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Half Life Theory May 9, 2018 - 10:49 am

Mans best friend… That’s awesome, dogs are probably a lot more disciplined than us humans though. As soon as we buy our home, we are getting a dog! We only had dogs as kids, i definitely miss the companionship.

Thanks for the reminder.

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Bethany May 9, 2018 - 4:18 pm

Hooray! What kind of dog? Or will you rescue? I must know! 🙂

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Half Life Theory May 9, 2018 - 5:10 pm

Lol, im thinking Lab or Australian Shepard! What do you think? We will probably adopt one from our local shelter

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Bethany May 10, 2018 - 6:27 am

Yay! Both are very high energy dogs- so as long as that is compatible for you- I would say go for it. They can be fun to train. (I used to do that and show dogs many years ago).

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Half Life Theory May 10, 2018 - 8:13 am

Yeah, I’m definitely a noob LOL. I’ll let you know what we end up doing. Thanks!

Ms Zi You May 10, 2018 - 1:20 am

Such a cute dog, I so want a dog one day, when I actually spend a lot of time at home.

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Bethany May 10, 2018 - 6:28 am

Thank you! She steals our heart every day. They do require that attention and a home base. Although you could find a tiny dog to put in your pocket or bag…Hehehe!

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