Real LIFE Lessons We Can Learn from Our Dogs

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I’m a dog mom. For about 13 years now. I love my chihuahua. He’s my baby. I almost lost him 4 or 5 years ago when he got into a fight with his son (yes, his son) which is a Maltipooh and Chichuahua mix and is much bigger and heavier than him.

But I don’t really want to start this post with a sad story because all is well now. He survived the attack after a very expensive surgery. Dog moms, you know you’d do anything for your fur baby. Hercules (yep, that’s his name!) is 13 years old now and is much more chill than he was when he was younger. He’s aged a lot. I could see it in his face and his paws. He used to be all golden brown.

See, even though Hercules is MY baby, I don’t get to be with him everyday now since I got married. Chihuahuas are very needy and clingy. They like to burrow in blankets and sleep in your curves or between your legs. That’s how Hercules was to me. But since getting married, I had to make some adjustments. He can’t sleep with me anymore, he has to have his own bed. But I’m afraid that if I do make this change, it will shorten his life. So I decided to temporarily leave him with my mom with all our other dogs, so he can sleep on her bed with her and still feel the warmth of a human body. I know some people may not agree to this but Hercules and I formed a bond that nobody would probably understand, except maybe other dog moms. So I had to do what I had to do. For now. I still visit him, hug him, walk him, and spend time with him.

And even though the situation between us might have changed a bit, some things haven’t changed though…the lessons he taught me over the years.

See, our dogs teach us REAL life lessons that we may or may not be aware of. But if we just open our hearts and minds, we will realize that these are valuable life lessons that if we apply in our daily lives, will cause some significant shift in the way we live.

    1. Unconditional Love

      If you’re a dog mom, you know that dogs can do pretty funny, crazy, and annoying stuff sometimes. Like chew your favorite shoes, eat toilet paper, tear up weewee pads, tumble the trash can, eat your snacks, and so on and so forth. I’m sure you’ve seen some of those YouTube or Facebook videos. Those are real. They do happen.

      Sometimes you can just laugh it off and everything is well, but sometimes, especially when you’re having a bad day, you can get really mad at them. You can yell at them, say the craziest things, put them in kennel for days (okay not really but you get the point). But at the end of the day, they still love you. They’re not mad you. They don’t harbor any kind of unforgiveness or bitterness. No matter how you tell them off, no matter how much you get mad at them, once you call their name, they’re there…all happy, like nothing happened.

      As humans, this is hard for us, right? Because God wired us differently. We think. A LOT. We just don’t go by instincts like animals do. When we get mad at someone or someone did something wrong to us, we think about it for daysssssssssssssss. Some people think about it for months, years, or their lifetime.

      But we also have our free will. We can choose to forgive or harbor bitterness. We can choose to love or hate. We can choose to let go and forget or we can choose to keep thinking about what someone did to us. It all boils down to choice. And don’t get me wrong, I struggle in some areas too. Some people (and they are the ones you would expect not to hurt you) have wronged me but just like my dog Hercules, I choose to forgive. I choose to love. Sometimes, it may be from a distant, but I still choose love. From the words of Martin Luther King, “Hate is too heavy of a burden to bear.” Dogs probably know that by instinct.

    2. Gratitude

      See when Hercules was very young, I would always take him with me, wherever I go. He’s a chihuahua so I can fit him in any tote bag. He’s used to car rides and tote bags. But as he grew older and I got busier, I don’t get to take him on car rides as much as I used to.

      I picked up Hercules one day, just recently, and decided I’d take him to our new subdivision to walk around the park. This is the first time I’ve taken him to our community since we’ve moved. It’s about 10 minutes from where my mom lives but I normally just walk him around my mom’s subdivision.

      Sitting on my lap while I was driving, he looked at me with his normal teary eyes and just leaned his head over my chest as if it was to say, “Thank You.”  Just that appreciative emotion is very strong, I could feel it. It’s weird I know but when you form that kind of bond with your dog, you just know.

      Do you know that gratitude is a powerful positive emotion that can do good to your overall wellness and life in general? When you’re grateful about little things, bigger things can come to you. When you find beauty in everything, even when bad things are happening, good things will eventually come. When you’re grateful and you express your gratefulness, people would want to do more good for you.

      Personally, when I give someone something and the person is grateful, it encourages me to do more/give more to that person. It’s the same thing with God. God appreciates gratitude and is delighted when you keep a grateful attitude.

    3. Simple Joy

      I don’t get to see Hercules everyday but when I do, even if it’s just a day or two apart, he acts like I haven’t seen him in years. He runs arounds, jumps around, and wants to get on my lap.

      He taught me how to find joy in simple things. It can be in simple moments such as sitting right next to my husband watching a movie, at my desk working and being able to do what I love to do, or walking around the park here in our community.

      Joy doesn’t have to be complicated. Again, it’s a matter of choice. Dogs can find joy in food, toys, blankets…they can find joy in just being with you! It touches my heart whenever I see a homeless person with a dog. The dog doesn’t care about a home. He’s just happy to be with his owner.

      Joy is a choice. We can look REAL deep inside of us and find that true joy doesn’t always come from material things. Yes, to a certain point, it can provide us joy…but it may not last if we don’t know where real simple joy lies.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
– Dalai Lama

Imagine if we as humans know how to give unconditional love, are always grateful, and knows how to find simple joys…the world will be a better place.

I know, it may sound like wishful thinking. But I sincerely hope that this post will inspire you. You may not change the whole world but you can be one of the good changes this world can experience.

I would like to end this post with these words from Dalai Lama…

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

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