Abbi and Meg are animals, but they are family members. We welcome them into all aspects of our lives, and in turn, they enrich many moments in every day. We lavish them with love as part of our family, and I believe they receive it, and return it to us tenfold. My dogs have taught me some secrets about living well, lessons I’ve been eager to learn and pass on.
Love with abandon. Give of yourself freely to those whom you treasure, without worry about what’s in it for you. You’ll find that the act of loving is reward in itself.
Live in the moment. I often rehash the past and worry about the future, and I rob myself of present joy. My dogs, by their nature lack the capacity to dwell on yesterday or fuss over tomorrow, and as such, their every moment is fully present and fully lived. I cannot and would not forsake my higher thinking ability, but can learn to be more simply in the present, and mindful of the moment.
Forgive and seek forgiveness. Dogs hold no grudges. They are eager to reconcile, and quick to show remorse for their wrong. It’s simple but not easy to quickly repent for wrongdoing or to dismiss the wrongdoing of others. But if we learn from our four-legged friends we can see the benefits of seeking harmony at our first opportunity, and learn how to do it ourselves.
Joy should be expressed openly. I’m inclined to suppress joy for fear of the other shoe dropping, so to speak. So often in life we hesitate to savor joy because we know that heartache can strike at any moment. And really, isn’t wriggling with excitement a bit silly anyway? But why shouldn’t we? How blessed would we be to allow ourselves to immerse ourselves in delight when it strikes? I’m quite convinced that this would be entirely contagious if we just let down our guard and did it.
Life is short. We know that we outlive our pets by many years. We watch them graduate from infancy to adulthood in just a couple of years. This abbreviated lifespan forces us to recognize the brevity of our existence, and the importance of the time we are given.
Family is our top priority. As humans our work, aspirations, and success can easily become our primary focus. Attaining status is prioritized over loved ones far too often. Our canine friends show us a better way. Their pack is everything. At the end of our lives our legacy is in how well we have loved, and our dogs are the perfect example of leaving a stellar legacy of loving well.
Sleep is important. Dogs work hard, play hard, and sleep hard. They never fudge on their sleep. I think it’s why they are so highly effective.
Treats rock. This one needs no explanation.
There is so much more. Every day my sweet girls show me how to live with simplicity and abandon, and I live in awe and gratitude for their simple, sweet, sincere example of living well.
See more at Ben’s Writing, Running Mom.