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Things you Can Learn from Your Dog

Chances are your dog makes you smile. Let us hope this is the case, lest those hairs on the couch and the inevitable plastic bag you must carry with you on your morning walks not pencil-out on your canine cost-benefit analysis. Because, if you think about it, there's more behind those fleeting moments of delight when you are greeted at the door with a wagging tail and a flapping tongue that you're pretty sure represents the doggy-equivalent of an unrestrained smile. Those are the moments that make all those walks in the rain and the chewed furniture and the drool on the car window worth the effort. Our dogs are indeed noble creatures, and if we pay close attention we see that they have much to teach us about how to live.

First, always be happy to see the people that you love. Greet them at the door and shower them with affection. Licking is always optional, but hold nothing back; make each hello and every goodbye count. Your dog does, and look how it makes you feel.

Growl only when you have to, especially when someone you care about is threatened. Turn away from confrontation unless you are cornered, then show no fear. Know that biting always turns out bad for all involved, especially you.

Take naps when the urge hits. Like a favorite ball, whatever needs your attention will be there when you wake up. And when you do, be sure to stretch yourself leisurely before moving on to the next thing.

Stash away the things you want to preserve. Bury them in a place you can get to when you need them, yet not so far away that you forget. Collect the things you love, especially memories.

Run till your tongue hangs out. Wring all the experience and pleasure out of every moment, no matter who is throwing the ball. Chase it down with vigor, and pay no attention to how wet you get in the process. Then bring it back with pride, laying it at feet of those who challenged you. Make them give out before you do.

Stay close to your loved ones. Remain at their side no matter what, and when you look at them, allow no judgment in your expression, only the sheer pleasure of being close, as if there is no place you'd rather be.

Look for cues as to what is expected of you. Pay attention, and when you sense it's time to move, grab your leash and wait by the door as if the chance may not come again.

Take in the scenery as you go. Miss nothing along the way. Be curious, yet content to be within arm's reach. When you hear someone you love sharply order you to stop in your tracks, do just that.

And finally, dig for what you want. It's out there, waiting for you to unearth it and bring it home.

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