I think we’ve all heard the saying, “Everything I need to know in life, I learned in Kindergarten.” Well, I really don’t agree with that, because I have learned quite a few things since Kindergarten that have been invaluable. Granted, most of us learn the “basics” at a very early age, mostly thanks to our parents, but there are just some things that need reiterating, time and time again. And this is not to say that I never actually learned these important lessons, but maybe I just need a gentle reminder from time to time. Oddly enough, a lot of these lessons have been brought to light with our two rescue dogs. No, I am not “one of those people” who thinks that my dogs are human, but I do think they are pretty amazing. Here are a few things I have learned by watching them:
1. Forgive and forget: Both of our dogs have been through A LOT in their lives, yet they start each day anew. Though they both had been mistreated by people previous to being rescued, they have managed to get past that in order to trust us. Seeing them at home, you would have no idea that they had ever had anything but a great life. They don’t hold grudges, and they greet each new day with joy and a wagging tail.
2. Be brave: Regardless of their prior experiences, both of “my girls” show how brave they are (or are learning to be) each day. Whether that means something as simple as going on a walk on an unfamiliar place, or leaving them with “strangers” (my parents), they continue to trust us and just “go with the flow.” There really is nothing like the heart of a rescue dog, because they press on and continue to try new (and possibly scary) things, as long as they know that they have love (and someone they trust) behind them.
3. Greet each day with a smile: Every morning, I wake up at 5am. I am usually a little bit slow-moving, and oftentimes, less than chipper. On the contrary, as soon as my dogs hear my feet hit the ground, they jump up from their beds and rush to greet me, with wagging tails and wet kisses. Gracie, our 2nd dog, usually has a few “words” to say as well! Though it’s very early, and they could probably stay in their beds for another hour or so, they always get up with me and are ready to start a new and wonderful day. They begin each day the same way: with a happy, open heart and a big, warm “smile.”
4. Be thankful: Anyone who has had a loyal pet knows how grateful they are to be with you, regardless of what you are doing. As soon as you walk in the door, they are always so happy to see you, no matter if it had been 5 minutes or 5 hours. They show their gratitude in many ways, with kisses, wags, barks and jumps, but one fact remains the same: they are happiest when they are with the people they love.
Though it may seem funny that I think that I have learned something from my dogs, I don’t really find it so. Sometimes we end up learning the most from the people (or things) we least expect to.