10 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dog

If you know me, you know that I am a PROUD puppy mommy to a 7.5 pound white maltese/poodle named Sadie. She’s seriously the best in the whole world. Yes, I am aware that every pet owner says that their pet is the best, but can you just trust me for a second and know that my dog is the freaking best? She has a huge personality, loves ripping the stuffing out of toys, and will lay on your phone if you’re looking at it instead of paying attention to her. In the 7 and a half years that we’ve been best friends, she’s probably taught me more than I’ve taught her.

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I’ve compiled 10 valuable life lessons Sadie has taught me over the years, and hopefully she can teach you too. I’ll let her know that she’s making a difference in someone’s life, she’ll really dig that. However, she’s taking a nap right now, so let’s move on with the list.

1. Forgive and move on
Dogs are so forgiving, because they have such pure hearts and they look to humans to (hopefully) lead them in the right direction in life. However, if you disappoint a dog, chances are they’ll forgive you pretty quickly. I can recall so many times that I’ve accidentally stepped on Sadie’s tail while cleaning or running around the house doing something and, while scooping her up in my arms and apologizing profusely, she almost immediately has forgiven me and wants to move on to playtime.

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2. Accept compliments
I would like to receive a compliment with as much excitement as Sadie does when I tell her she’s a good girl. There’s absolutely no reason we should be telling people not to compliment us or arguing with their compliments, but society seems to have told us that we cannot accept praise from other people, for fear of it being perceived as “cocky” or “self absorbed.” In reality, we should love ourselves and receive compliments like Sadie does- with excitement on her face and a wag of the tail.

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3. Adapt to change
Sadie is never consulted when we move to another house, unfortunately. However, we pick up and move, and all of her surrounding smells change, and she’s in a strange new place that her parents seem to be just fine with, so it’s pretty understandable that she would be wary of the new home. After a month or so of getting used to the new smells and finding a new potty spot, she’s good to go, because Greg and I have shown her that this new place is a-okay.

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4. Enjoy the little things
Sometimes I’ll let Sadie into the backyard to go potty and I’ll look out after a few minutes and she’ll just be laying in the middle of the backyard, sunbathing. Its such a small thing in life to enjoy, but it would be the equivalent of enjoying a cup of coffee on a patio for me. And yet, I never enjoy my coffee on a patio. After looking at Sadie sunbathing on a beautiful afternoon, I ask myself, why don’t we stop and enjoy little pleasures in life? Why do we let adulthood, work and TV rule our lives? Make sure and take some time each day to enjoy something you enjoy doing, it will greatly improve the rest of the day.

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5. Follow your instincts
I usually notice that the majority of dogs will take whatever is in your hand without hesitation because your hand usually produces food or treats, and cats are usually more skeptical and sniff the present first. In this scenario, Sadie is more cat-like. No matter what, she’ll always pause and smell whatever it is that I’m giving her, to make sure that what she’s taking is really something she wants. So in my life, I find myself “smelling” out a situation before I continue on with what I’m doing. I try not to dwell too long on decisions though, because usually my first thought is the one that I should go with. And that, my friends, is Following Your Instincts 101.

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6. Take time to nap
When we were kids, none of us valued nap time, and we all wish we would have. Adulthood doesn’t provide as much nap time as it should. That doesn’t mean you can’t make time for a nap with your furry bff. There’s nothing like a weekend afternoon power nap with your favorite snuggle buddy, and you shouldn’t rob yourself of that luxury.

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7. Sometimes it’s okay to be alone
Most nights, Sadie crawls under the covers with us in bed and snuggles up to one of us at bedtime. Some nights are different, though. We’ll look over and find her in her dog bed in the corner of the room, getting comfortable for a good night’s sleep. Sometimes you just want your space, and that’s okay. Embrace the time that you have to be alone, and make the most of it. Watch a show only you like, read an awesome book, or do some yoga. You don’t have to have plans every day of the week to feel whole.

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8. It’s okay to ask for help
I can always tell when Sadie needs something from me. She gives me that look; the look that says “Mom, there’s something off about my living situation, and you need to figure it out so you can make me more comfortable.” Usually I need to refill her water bowl or she needs to go potty. But she has no problem telling me or Greg when she needs something from us, and that’s something that I’ve been trying to adapt into my own life lately. It’s hard to ask for hep, for so many reasons. Sometimes I’m too proud, or I don’t know how to explain what I need, or I’m just scared of putting myself out there. But, with Sadie’s help, I’m learning.

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9. You’re never too old to play
When it’s playtime in the house, everyone better drop what they’re doing and play with Sadie. It’s an unspoken rule. Mostly because playing with a small white fluffy dog is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face, but also because she’s just so darn cute when she plays. There’s always a certain time in the day where she’ll get that look in her eye, start wagging her tail, and sprint around the house like a madwoman. These play times teach me that there’s more to life than working and grocery shopping. I know I already said something like this previously, but if you’re still reading, you probably need to hear it twice (like me).

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10. Snuggles fix almost anything
There’s nothing that I want to do more after a hard day than snuggle with Sadie. I’m convinced that she has healing powers. She knows my emotions and knows exactly when to come in for some snuggles so she can save the day. So if you’re having a bad day, snuggle with the closest dog to you. If you’re reading this in public and the closest dog to you is not yours, maybe ask their owner first. Even snuggling with your favorite person will make things better. I’m pretty sure there’s scientific fact to prove this, but there’s got to be a correlation between snuggling and happiness.

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Now get off the computer and go hang out with your dog!

-BKC

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