Dogs are a great judge of character. You’ve probably heard the adage, “If dogs and babies like you, you’re a good person.” If you’re lucky enough to have a dog in your life, you will experience one of the purest forms of love. Whether you’ve got a smiling Pit Bull or an inquisitive German Shepherd, you will have found the love a lifetime. Not only that, dogs have so much to teach us about having a full life–you just have to pay attention.
Lessons dogs teach us
Taking care of a dog takes hard work, resilience, and a willingness to be vulnerable. Love means caring about
someone, including a dog, more than you care about yourself. Also, love means accepting the loved one as they are—not whom you want them to be—and understanding their needs. Love brings out the best in you, softens you, and changes you for the better. Best of all, true love lasts forever.
Dogs couldn’t care less about how much money you have, what you look like, or how smart you are. When dogs meet other dogs, they simply sniff around wondering if they would make a good playmate. And as you spend more time with your dog, you will get to know and love each other even more.
3. Love the Dog You’re With
No matter how amazing your life is, it’s better when you share experiences with someone you love. You can bring your dog with you on trips to the store (as long as the weather is cool enough when they have to stay in the car), to the beach, and even on vacation. Your dog simply wants to be with you. And you will enjoy having a best friend with whom you can share your trials and triumphs.
4. Free to Be You and Me
One of the best dog traits is simple acceptance. Unlike people, who often put on a brave face, your dog will simply be who he or she is. You never have to guess if your dog is being real. You can also be your own flawed self in front of your dog. There is no more authentic relationship.
5. The Art of Compromise
When you become a dog owner, you may find yourself bending (or breaking) rules you thought you never would. For instance, “no dogs on the bed” may become “all dogs on the bed.” When you compare how long you will live and how many years you get with your dog, a few stray hairs on the sheets mean little when you think of all the nights you have a warm soft dog to cuddle with—not to mention, the sweet paw on your arm that wakes you in the morning. Love takes a willingness to compromise.
Your dog wants nothing more than to please you. When he or she messes up (gets into the trash, has an accident on the floor, or destroys your favorite pair of shoes) your first reaction may be to swat them on the rear. However, when you mess up, your dog will probably walk over and lick your face. You can learn from that! A dog’s willingness to forgive and forget is a true lesson in unconditional love.
7. Love at First Sight Exists
If you’ve ever gone to the pound and seen an adorable puppy that just seems perfect for you, you know what I’m talking about. Chances are that puppy has fallen in love with you as well. And as time goes on, your love grows truer and richer. Being loved by a dog is one of life’s greatest rewards.
8. Cry, and You Cry Alone—Unless You Have a Dog
Whenever I have had a rough day, or heaven forbid, start to cry, my Black Lab and Cattle Dog both surround me. They sniff, they lick, and they won’t leave my side until I have cheered up. Dogs love us so completely and will keep on giving love until they know we are all right. How can you argue with that?
9. Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Dogs become very anxious when they hear or see their beloved owners fight. My Black Lab used to run over and start licking my boyfriend’s head when things got tense. (I had to dump the guy). Try and keep it light when your dog is around—they like when people get along, and some fights can seem very real to your dog, causing him to retract or attack.
10. Love Comes Walking In
Taking a puppy or dog into your home can cause anxiety. Will I be a good owner? Will they destroy my stuff? Can I afford a dog? The perfect cure to anxiety is some cuddle time with your dog. Humans and dogs release oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) when they touch—let that calm wash right over you. Feel the love.
11. Practice Buddhism
Dogs are very zen—they live in the present. Ever notice how dogs can fall asleep in a second, and we humans lie awake thinking about our day, wondering about the stupid things we did and said? We can take a few lessons from our fur babies to relax and live in the here and now.
About the Author:
Lindsey Harper has always been a pet lover since she got her first puppy as a kid. She is the co-founder of AvidPup.com, a pet blog where guides and tips are shared so dog lovers can raise their pups healthy and happy.
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