Anyone who thinks my doggies are my substitute children is missing the point. Humans are great. Thank goodness, though, dogs are yet another species with whom we can exchange care, joy, love, and wisdom.
This charming photo was taken by a dear 16-year-old friend. It’s of her amazingly sweet-tempered rescue dog. The adoption facility said the dog had problems with other dogs. Several years later, the dog has yet to display an ounce of anti-social behavior.
How I wish I’d learned or at least had begun to learn from dogs when I was as young as my friend is now.
Why? What’s good for my dogs is equally good for me. We teach people how to treat us. The wisdom that comes from training a dog applies as directly to happiness as to any type of relationship.
Training my dogs showed me about boundaries:
- What they are.
- What I need for a happy home.
- What dogs are capable of. What’s reasonable to expect as far as trusting them to learn, remember, and honor my needs.
- That boundaries are best communicated clearly and nonjudgmentally. If my requests are misunderstood, I’m must find a better way to convey them.
- Patience and consistency are essential.
Keeping them physically and emotionally healthy is great for both of us:
- Walking them daily means I walk too.
- Together, we meet our neighbors.
- I used to think I was too busy to have a dog. Now I see that when I don’t have time for my pets, I’m overextending myself. When I wasn’t eager to come home, I wasn’t investing enough effort in ensuring that my home life, personal life, and social life were reliable havens.
- Angels exist, and they’re not just the dogs. Strangers, neighbors, and friends often help when my dogs and I most need them. For all of my striving for independence, I need to be reminded that everyone and everything in the world are interdependent.
- Compatibility: Cesar Milan, a.k.a., The Dog Whisperer, often talks about the importance of selecting pets that match our energy levels. Sometimes two good individuals are simply mismatched. Appreciating our differences shows us the need for bridges.
- Trust needed time to grow. Some types of trust are harder to rebuild once they’re broken.
Few things can match how, when I leave my home for only a short while, my dogs’ eyes shine with pure joy when I return. Everyone needs love.
Have your pets made you a better human?