Life Lessons I Learned from my Dog

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By Stacey Rose, PhD, LCSW

When I think about where I have learned all I have throughout the years, several people come to mind. Teachers, parents, mentors, friends and others family members are just a few. But some of my most profound learning has come from my ten pound shih-tzu (okay, he’s actually about 13 pounds, but who’s counting??)

So, what has this little love of mine taught me? I thought I would share his wisdom with you…

  1. Sleep often. (The better rested we are in life, the easier life flows. Many studies show how unproductive and even dangerous people can be when sleep deprived.)
  2. Be good to your master, follow her (or him) around as often as possible. (Translation here is to spend as much time with your partner/family/friends as possible.)
  3. Shake it off. Whenever he has an itch, or just simply feels like it, he shakes his whole body-usually 3 times. So, if ever you are bothered by something, shake it off, at least 3 times. 
  4. Love unconditionally. (This is self explanatory but if I have to spell it out, love your family regardless of their imperfections!! We all have them!!)
  5. Beg when necessary. In other words, fight for what you believe in.
  6. Bark louder and longer when you need attention. (Otherwise known as speaking up for yourself until you are heard-this doesn’t mean until you get what you want but as long as you re heard and respected.) 
  7. Lay in the sun. Take in the warmth. Savor it. (A little sun block is a good idea too!)
  8. Protect the house; no matter how small you are. Be aware of your surroundings and make it known when a foreign sound is heard and/or a stranger walks by. Always think safety. 
  9. Go for long walks. Meet the neighbors. Be friendly to all other dogs.
  10. Play. Play tug-of-war or your favorite game as often as possible. Life can’t be all work and no play.

Dogs can give us so much love. Who knew they could also teach us so much about how to live life?? Take a look, tell me that isn’t a face you can trust…

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