Dogs are wonderful. No matter what they do, they're totally confident and brimming with awesome. They're WAY cooler than me. Even after they've rolled in some dead thing, they look fantastic – they may not smell so great, but they totally own their stink.
Dogs also know how to find the joy in nearly every situation. They’re confident in their happiness and don’t waste time wondering what the other pooches in the yard might think about them.
With my 2013 personal motto of “easy breezy” for life, love and everything in between, taking in a dose or two of that poochy panache seems like it could be an awesomely uplifting experience!
Here are six lessons to learn from your dog:
1. Smile at strangers
The other day in the grocery store, I noticed most people I passed didn't even make eye contact, much less smile or look even moderately friendly. What's up with that? You know what else? I realized I don't regularly make an effort to connect with strangers -- even with a simple smile. And I consider myself a friendly person!
Dogs usually have no trouble in this area. They smile at most everyone, generally don't try to avoid contact, and don't pass judgement. What's the worst thing that could happen if I smile or even extend a greeting? They don't smile back? They don't return my cordial "hi"? Oh, well. We can all take a lesson from our canine friends and show a little friendliness to strangers. We probably want to avoid any crotch-sniffing, but a smile and greeting would be swell.
2. Eat everything with gusto
Saying a dog eats with gusto might be a bit of an understatement. They absolutely adore their food and embrace with zeal, times infinity. Sometimes I look at the way I eat. I stand in front of the refrigerator and stare at the contents. Then I walk to the pantry and gaze blankly at its non-perishable innards. Then back to the fridge. Then back to the pantry. This goes on until my hunger quickly morphs into crankiness and I just blindly grab something that looks easy to prepare. Usually it's a bowl of cereal. There is nothing about that whole process that screams "zeal."
You know how you go out to eat and order something that sounds completely heavenly? Like a golden aura surrounds the description in the menu and you hear angelic harps with each bite? That's how a dog feels every time he eats. I want to hear harps when I eat my oatmeal.
3. Stop and smell the flowers
Dogs are the most grateful beings on this planet. They appreciate every belly scratch, treat, sniff, squirrel sighting, and kind word. And each wag of the tail and doggy kiss is an emphatic "thank you!" Sometimes my "thank you" is an automatic reply, and I don't stop and allow the feeling of gratitude to really sink in. With dogs, every "thank you" not only sinks in, it oozes out! I want to ooze -- not in a creepy way. In a thankful way.
4. Always ask for what you want
Do I always ask for what I want? No. Why? Because as humans, we sometimes feel like we're being rude or greedy if we make a request. Sometimes you have to ask in order to get. I'm working on this one. Dogs have it down pat. Even if they don't open their cute little mouths, their eyes speak volumes. Have you ever eaten a piece of cheese in front of a dog? You know the look I'm talking about. And we usually give in, right? At least some of the time.
As humans, we need to do more than stare when we want something -- we need to ask. Although there's something to be said for the puppy dog eyes.
5. Use things 'til they're spent
Dogs love their toys and will play with a tennis ball until it's completely busted open and caked with layers of drool and mud. And they're no more excited about a new ball than they are the nasty old one. They love their stuff 'til there's no more lovin' to be had.
I think about that when I consider my patterns. I sometimes buy new when the old will do just as well. I've sort of become the consumer I've always complained about. Not that there's anything wrong with nice new things, but accumulating unnecessary stuff is not how I want to be. In fact, I try to shop at thrift shops and recycle my own things when I can. I could be much better about it, though. I need to apply the tennis-ball principle to my shoe-buying habit.
6. Get excited about everything
Who's more excited than a dog? Nobody. I love feeling excited and, truly, there are so many things in my life to feel excited about. You know that feeling when you receive a really cool gift or find that perfect pair of shoes? I'd like to feel that excited about other things, like spending an afternoon with a friend or hearing a song I really love on the radio. Not that I don't feel happy about those things, I just love that excited feeling so much and would like to experience it more often.
Dogs feel absolutely exuberant about most everything. Going to a walk? Yay!
Grandma's over? Yay!
Chipmunks on the front porch? Yay!
I would love to feel more excited about the small things. But I definitely don't want to pee on the floor.
Inspired and sourced by Angie Bailey
In many ways , looking to our dogs can teach us to be better humans – for them, the simple (yet complicated) act of living life is an adventure and exploration in joy, and let’s be honest – we could all use a little extra simplicity and joy in our lives
Keep you tails wagging