The ever-so-wise Mark Twain once said, “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” But the beautiful thing about our time on this floating rock is how much closer our furry friends bring us to a proper heaven on earth, and the lessons they teach us in merit. These are the lessons that create healthier and happier relationships in our lives.
Patience is a virtue, but a difficult one to master at that. Anyone with a four-legged friend can tell you exactly how much patience you learn, especially at the beginning. If you can be patient with a pet, you can be patient with a loved one.
How to Listen
Obviously our puppers aren’t going to speak our native language, but that doesn’t mean they can’t train us to be obedient and attentive listeners. Whether they’re seeking our attention or needing to take care of their business, we can learn to pick up cues from patterns, body language and those unspoken subtleties. Use that same attentiveness in other aspects of your relationships and see how many things you’ve missed out on before.
Trust and Respect
Now, this is one that takes the most time with ANY relationship we’re building. But it’s the most crucial to success. Just as is the case with patience, showing your pet that it can trust you, that you’ll take care of it, and keep it out of harm’s way, are things that are essential for any healthy partnership in your life.
How to Play
Growing up, we’re conditioned to think that we need to be on serious mode 24/7. And that line of thought bleeds into our relationships with other humans. Lucky for us, seeing the sweet face of a dog with a toy can break down years of calloused adulthood and be a good reminder of just letting everything go and finding time for yourself to play, whether it’s with friends, family or by yourself.
Forgiving and Letting Go
Whether it’s tearing apart the trash, eating your shoes and underwear, or leaving a mess on the new flooring, it good to realize that some things are just better left and swept under the rug (metaphorically speaking, that is). Our relationships with our dogs can train us to see how much of an anger trigger we have, and how we can deal with it. Most of the time, it boils down to forgiving, letting go, and learning how to talk about it.
Finding Joy in the Little Things
It’s easy to forget the beauty and simplicity that life can bring. Dogs can certainly remind you how peaceful and joyous the little things are. Just watch their faces in a breeze. Now look into your human relationships to find the little joys you may have missed before.
How to be Yourself
Our pets know us the best. They’re always there when no one else is, and we will never put on airs around them. This sort of thing is the type of lesson that we can all carry every day. Learn to love yourself, the way your pet loves you, and that love will start to overflow into the world around you.
At the end of the day, it’s all about communication and respect. Those are two way roads to having successful relationships with the ones we love and our bestest of friends, fluffy or not.
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