We teach them how to sit, stay and fetch. But did you ever once take a moment to think that our furry friends are in fact the ones who teach us?
Although dogs are unable to talk, they certainly can communicate some valuable life teachings about our human relationships, inspiring us to be better partners and better humans.
There is no other person that can truly show us and teach us what our beloved pets can and that is why the companionship of a dog is such a blessing. Learning from our four-legged buddies how to love deeper and live better, can really play a huge part in our personal development.
1. Always Acknowledge Your Loved Ones
In this time of day, we can come home from a long day at work and walk right by the people we love without a single word. We tend to not text or call our closest friends. We tend to lock ourselves in our room and never say hi to our parents when they’re home from work. But when you have a dog, you will realize that not a single day goes by where that dog won’t come to greet you as soon as your foot enters your home. Heck, that dog will be anxiously waiting for you to get home and will always greet you with pure happiness and joy. We should all learn from dogs to take some time out of our busy schedules and actually tell those who mean the most to us just how happy and grateful we are of them since unlike dogs, we actually have a voice.
2. Do Not Judge
We live in a world where we judge on the most materialistic of things- from the cars that people drive, to the shoes they wear, to the jobs they have. It’s a consumer culture, where everything and everyone has a price.
But dogs don’t see social status or your materialistic possessions. They don’t’ even see race, sexual orientation, or religion. All they see is a new friend in everyone. We should all learn from dogs that everyone deserves a chance, and should be accepted for who they are, not what they have.
3. Live In The Moment
We humans are so fixed on controlling everything, even what tomorrow brings, when in reality, no one knows. We tend to dwell on the past or worry about the future, where on the other hand, dogs live in the now. They only care if you’re going for that walk or giving them that treat now. Dogs live in the present tense and revel in what’s happening in the moment. We should realize from dogs that tomorrow is a mystery, and yesterday is only a memory. We only exist in the now and we should allow the moment at hand to be what guides our choices and happiness.
4. Always Forgive
As humans who can experience anger and sadness and hurt, we tend to hold grudges, resentment and thoughts of revenge most of the time. But what we can learn from our fellow pets is how to embrace forgiveness and move forward. As a previous pet owner, I know how easy it is to accidently hurt your dog during a grooming or nail clipping, or how heartbreaking it is when you leave your dog behind at home to go to work or school, but one thing is certain: a dog will always forgive you. The only things dogs ask of from their owners is for protection, food, and of course, lots of attention. Even when dogs are abandoned, neglected, and abused, they still give us humans second chances. Dogs are always open to love and love back unconditionally.
5. Be Grateful
In a world where it is so easy to immerse ourselves in our shallowness, it is also easy to forget to be grateful about the little things in our lives. Not only do we forget to acknowledge these things, but we don’t show our appreciation either. Where on the other hand, dogs sure do know how to show their gratitude. They can’t actually say “thank you”, but they can show it in tons of ways- wagging tails, barks of excitement, jumping, licking, and rubbing their body against ours; all signs of appreciation. The best part is that being grateful comes natural to these animals. They are genuinely grateful when their human companions get home, when they take them out on long walks, when they get fed, and when they simply throw a ball for them to chase and bring back. Dogs give us a reminder to show gratitude for even the smallest of actions because in the end it does make a difference.
6. Be Patient
We live in a fast-paced society where we barely have time to stop, breathe and just take in the beautiful world around us. Whereas for those who have had the experience of walking a dog, know that these four-legged furry creatures just love to stop and sniff everything around them for what seems to be hours. Having to stop every five seconds on a walk seems to be a bit annoying, but it teaches us to be tolerant and gives us a chance to disconnect from our phones, TV’s, computers, and indoor distractions. Dogs can teach us to be patient; to just stop and enjoy the trees and the sunshine and the fresh air; and most importantly to just have patience and time to recollect the thoughts in our head; to slow down from our fast-paced lives; and to just simply enjoy life.
7. Show Affection
Sometimes we forget that showing affection is a big part in any of our relationships. A simple “I love you”, cuddling, and hand holding goes a long way and shows that you care about someone. Dogs are demonstrative of their love 24/7 as they are constantly looking for a head pat, a belly rub, or a scratch, and never pass up the opportunity to lick or sit on your lap. Although they can’t verbally tell you that they love you, they show you and sometimes actions truly do speak louder than words.
8. Be Loyal
In a world where selfishness and personal gain in relationships always seems to persevere, it is extremely important to develop the ability to be loyal and faithful to one another. Dogs are known to be a man’s best friend, and that is simply because your dog will always stay true to you no matter what the situation. He will never turn his back on you; he will always be at your side. The ability to put others before yourself, to stick with your lover through thick and thin, and to look out for your friends and family are definitely some honorable character traits that we as humans should all acquire and learn from our furry friends.
As seen on Thought Catalog published on Apr. 7, 2015.