Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 10 Things I Have Learned From My Dog

As the seasons change from summer to fall, I always find myself engaging in introspection.  The daily commute is the perfect place for such an activity.  It has been several months now, and my golden girl and I are no longer strangers.  I thought I would take the next two days to share with you the lessons this bundle of fur has taught me in this short time.  Today I will talk about 10-6, and tomorrow I will finish up with 1-5.

10.  To enjoy exercise:  I’m not a fan of exercise.  I keep my girlish figure by eating a balanced, high quality diet.  So when I see my Maya’s overjoyed look at exercise, I think “I could use some of that.”  This is a dog that lives to go on long walks, regardless of the weather.  Knowledge of an upcoming long walk sets the girl up in a frenzy of excitement that parallels a five year old opening presents on Christmas morning.  So it is an understatement when I say I am inspired, no awed really, by Maya’s joy for exercise.  This exuberance applies to playing fetch, running, chasing, and all manner of strenuous activity.  As I watch myself age, and my metabolism slow, I look to Maya to give me both the motivation and inspiration to get up and move.  With so many of our fellow citizens struggling with their weight, a little enthusiasm for exercise would certainly go a long way towards a healthy, long, vital life.

9.  To relax and do nothing:  If there is one thing that Maya does a lot of, and does well, it is to lie around and do nothing.  Sometimes she pants because she is happy, sometimes she sleeps, and sometimes she just sits and gazes.  This sitting around, relaxed, seems to explain her general lack of stress about anything.  I have a dog that is not anxious and is never stressed.  I dream of having a quarter of this sense of peace.  We are an overworked society, always in a rush, without a moment to spare, especially for ourselves.  Once in awhile, to sit, do nothing, and introspect is what we need to help us solve life’s most troublesome challenges.  It is probably also better for our heart.

8.  To be curious: Maya is nosey.  Really, not nosey, but curious.  If something is brought to the house that is new, she wants to know what it is.  If she goes for a walk and something catches her eye, she goes to investigate.  If a new dog walks on her path, she tries to find out who he/she is.  Maya is curious, she wants to know, she is not content to let the world pass her by.  Curiosity is a trait that we should all try to foster.  It opens new worlds, expands the world we live in now, and sometimes it leads to a sense of wonder we all think we lose after the age of 5.  Where would we be without curiosity?  There would be no discovery, no inventions, no desire to learn.  What is life, after all, without these three ingredients?

7.  To seek out affection, without fear of rejection:  Ahhhh, the fear of rejection.  It stops so many of us from pursuing opportunities with great potential rewards, especially when it comes to love.  Here is an area where Maya excels.  She never misses an opportunity to seek affection from anyone who seems capable.  She is always rewarded with sweet words, rubs on the head and back, and big smiles.  No wonder I have such a happy dog!  This feedback loop only confirms for her that everyone loves her.  For all of us who are shy, awkward, and suspicious of other people's intentions, this lesson in seeking affection from those around us is an important one.  In a sea of isolation, affection from another person is often what makes the biggest difference.  So the next time you see someone who seems dejected, ask them how they are, and sit awhile and listen.

6.  To view everyone as an opportunity for friendship:  As a hermit, this is one characteristic I admire most about my dog.  She views everyone, whether it be a stranger or another mammal, as an opportunity for friendship.  While this also has potential pitfalls, the openness to such opportunities typically result in rewarding results.  No one humans are able to resist smiling at Maya’s persistence for friendship, and most mammals respond with in kind friendliness.  My dog, you see, is incapable of making enemies.  She would much prefer that everyone get along and play a healthy game of chase.  Imagine if all of us treated each other with less suspicion.  Imagine, how our relationships with each other, our neighbors, and other nations would look.  Think of the misunderstandings that would never occur, and the deadly conflicts that might have been avoided.  In a world that is more distressed, openness to friendship is more critical now then ever, if we want to live on a planet where we don’t end up finishing each other off over something that isn’t all that important.

Tomorrow I will share the top 5.  I hope everyone had a wonderful day.


  1. oh your dog is so adorable, I have a cat but I've always loved dogs even more. =)

  2. your dog is so cute, I have a cat, my son loves the cat, I love dogs but we have a cat, I like him, but I'd love to have a dog one of these days. =)