The lessons dogs teach us about life.

There is no joy in life much like telling a dog that they’re going on a walk. It’s Christmas Day, they won the lottery, they are going to be grandparents, and they found a front row parking spot. They aren’t afraid to hide their excitement either. Anyone within a 5 mile radius knows how excited this moment is – with the incessant barking and the jumping. Oh, the jumping. Now, we try to keep calm (and by we I mean, just me, because no one else is acting calm). Nice and calm. Okay, we’re taking it nice and easy. We’re making our way to the door. Meanwhile, my dogs are jumping all four feet off the ground and running circles around me.

 

When you jingle the leashes, there’s even more commotion. As if the four-letter word that rhymes with “smock” isn’t enough, the leash jingle sends them over the edge. What baffles me is they have a large fenced backyard to run around in and they would much rather be confined to 2.5 feet in front of me– but that’s beside the point really. I realize it’s all in the adventure of new smells, new sights, and the possibilities. Oh, the endless possibilities.

 

Yesterday, we got within 3 feet of a rabbit. It was trying to camouflage itself. It was doing it right. We didn’t see it. It darted off under a nearby bush. Though no one caught the rabbit, the possibility of catching the rabbit was enough for them. It’s all in the change of routine. In our house, they can expect the same things. The same toys. The same water and food dish. The same couch to jump on when we leave the them alone. But outside the walls of the house – out in the real world – there are opportunities for big, unexpected things. For chance encounters. For daring adventures. For tail wags and rabbit snacks.

 

But when the journey comes to an end, they’re the first ones to admit how glad they are to be home. You can see it in their slowed steps. You can hear it in their panting breath. As much as they like to get out of the house, they are happy to return to a big dish of water, blankets piled high, and adequate nap time before the next adventure. They sleep for 20 hours a day. Lounge with all four paws high in the air. Barely move all morning and afternoon. And they teach us so much about how we should be.

Here are just a few things I’ve learned from Archie and Hank and that we can all take from our companions:

  1. Get excited about what brings you joy.
  2. Show it unabashed. (Jump and run circles around people as you shout out about it.)
  3. Chase the rabbit (or whatever gets you jazzed).
  4. Get outside your comfort zone.
  5. And then get cozy with what you’ve got. Because it’s pretty great.

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