Lessons I Have Learnt From My Dog

01 Jul

As anyone close to us would know – we finally have a dog. Not just a dog but a puppy – a bundle of hard work, tied up with joy! And this morning when I rugged up (despite the flu) and braved the backyard, I started to think about the lessons this little guy has taught me over the last week and a half. And to think, I didn’t want a dog!

No 1: Wake Up Happy (and Early)

How often do we drag ourselves out of bed, jump into the shower and start our day with hardly a kind word or a smile? Well not our little Mac.When you open the laundry door in the morning, he barks and jumps and makes noises which I interpret to mean, “I adore you, despite your unpolished appearance and your morning breath” and then he starts licking my feet – all over. (Men everywhere could learn from this!) He can hardly eat his breakfast because the day just looks too damn exciting. And then he is off outdoors. I mean, why wait? The air is crisp, flocks of birds fly overhead and a couple of magpies sing to us from a nearby gum tree. I don’t usually stand in my backyard at this hour. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. And it’s very very cold!!! Oh and three pelicans flying in perfect formation, passed directly over us this morning on their way to the bay. Their wings flapped in unison, like a heart beating above us and because it was so still, I could actually hear this.Paradise in my own backyard. Who knew?

No 2: Stop Eating When You Have Had Enough!

No explanation required but this is a skill I have never quite mastered. Sometimes there is just a small bit of food left in his doggie bowl but he smells it, thinks about it, then calmly walks away. Just like that! Even if it is cooked chicken and rice!

No 3: Surround Yourself With Things And Routines You Love

Mac already has his favourite things and before he settles down for a nap, he brings them all close to him- his rope, his squeaky toy, Neve’s stripy sock. If he leaves the room, he might take one of these things with him for good measure. These things make up his world. He is also a stickler for routine. Every morning, before his nap, he takes his beef jerky out to chew next to the chicken run. The hens don’t give him the time of day. This new kid on the block is way too optimistic for them but he does it anyway, out of respect or something. Winning friends and influencing chickens. Watching him go about his day has certainly got me thinking about the things that make me feel centred and the routines that give my life its natural rhythm.

No 4: Greet People Warmly

Visit our house these days and Mac will greet you warmly. He’ll wag his tail and do what he can to welcome you in and make you feel special.He’s not wondering about what’s in it for him or whether you are wasting his precious time or even that the house is a mess. He doesn’t even care that you have woken him from a deep sleep. He is genuinely happy to see you. If he could, he would make you a coffee and ask you all about your family. He would want to know every crazy detail. And he would smell each and every limb while you were spilling your guts. Probably even lick your feet if you let him.I was polite to a telemarketing person on the phone today. I mean we all need a little tender loving care and attention, don’t we? Even strangers.

No 5: Protect Those You Love

Mac is a ten week old Spoodle. Let’s face it- he couldn’t hurt a fly! I think our four hens would make minced meat of him.We had not even heard him bark until this week. Pat hung a black suit jacket at the front door in readiness for the morning. Mac went crazy. He barked furiously (well as furiously as a ten week old Spoodle can bark). He got between us and the suit jacket and growled. He was courageous in the face of danger. We stood there in the hallway, totally amazed. And very proud. Protect those you love. Make a bit of noise if you have to. Go out on a limb. Let them know that whatever happens, you will be watching out for menacing shadows at their door.

So all you dog lovers out there. You were right. And I was wrong. I admit it.I don’t know why it took me so long. And finally to steal the words of my teenage daughter,(who I might add, is not easily impressed) “I just can’t believe how much I love this dog!”

What life lessons has your dog taught you? Leave a comment

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  1. Therapy Helps commented 11 years ago

    Oh Beth, you have such a special way with words. I read every bit with “my life” perspective, especially the protect those you love …extremely poignant.
    Sometimes we forget to be simple.

  2. Noah commented 11 years ago

    Unconditional love, enthusiasm and foot baths… what wonderful gifts Mac has bestowed on your family. Enjoy xo

  3. 700 Homely Versus commented 11 years ago

    Not content with bringing him round and starting an unending conversation about when we’re going to get a dog, you’re now doing outright propaganda for him! Great Beth

  4. Dave commented 11 years ago

    Well, we don’t have a pet – but the lessons you have had ‘refreshed’ by your dog are something that we can all take on board – dog or no dog.
    Great blog, I love it – more than dogs! :)

  5. Beth Cregan commented 11 years ago

    As I am sitting at my desk reading your blog with a smile on my face and a lump in my throat, I feel my labrador Darcy at my feet. That’s where he spends most of his time, at my feet.
    Is it because he loves me unconditionally or maybe if there is food around, he might get lucky!

  6. Moisey commented 11 years ago

    We have 2 beautiful dogs (Charlie 7 years & Sophie 7 months) Maltese Shih Tzu. Charlie our older dog is very loyal and you just melt when he stares at you with those big brown eyes while little Sophie is a jack in the box, still being a puppy but hopefully she will learn from Charlie in time.

    They are such a big part of our family and share our holidays with us. We feel very blessed to have them in our life!

  7. BIL1 commented 11 years ago

    Really beautiful thoughts Beth. Reflective and inspiring!

  8. Von commented 11 years ago

    Love the new look of your blog! Very fresh and welcoming. One of the things I appreciate most about dogs is the exuberant tail wag. No playing it cool, waiting to mirror a response, just open and friendly and in your face! We could all learn from that.

  9. Macdibble commented 11 years ago

    Our dog has taken to being deeply disappointed in us whenever we leave the house without him, or don’t provide him with scraps of our meal. As if we hadn’t realised we were a pack, and all in this together, and shouldn’t go out “hunting” in the world alone or not share our food. I feel like we’re letting him down by not being good dogs.
    Love your blog.

  10. Beth Cregan commented 11 years ago

    oooh just loved it beth! Very creative and so true, I love my dog and I think he just brings a burst of happiness in my life.

  11. Vicki commented 10 years ago

    Looking forward to meeting Mac what a cutie. What can I say but dog equals love

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