Don’t we all feel turmoil in the air? There’s too much happening, too fast. The planet seems scarier and more chaotic than ever. Yet, there’s one member of my family who always seems, well…calm. She’s my dog, Libby. And here are some coping skills she’s taught me…
Live in the Present – Yes, a dog’s life is less complicated, but boy, I envy their “joie de vivre.” Like any canine, Libby loves the small things in life — her morning bark-fest at any animal in the woods, treat-time at lunch (keeps her distracted from begging for my food) an afternoon nap, playtime, dinner, and snuggles with Mom at night.
Libby loves the rhythm of her life. She gets up everyday as if to ask: “You mean, we get to do this again?” Why is it dogs never seem plagued by that neurotic anxiety so many humans (including myself) have? More and more, I try and adopt her “live for the moment” attitude.
Be Brave – As small as Libby is, (about 10 lbs.), I’m convinced she’d run into the jaws of a Saber tooth tiger to save us. Where our cat Rocky hides under the bed at the faintest whiff of danger, Libby charges forward.
I marvel at the difference between cats and dogs. (I definitely identify with cats). Dogs don’t hesitate a second. I think its one reason the police and military use them. I wish I had Libby’s bravery, standing up to what frightens her, even if it’s a well-meaning visitor. In these turbulent times, I love her pint-sized pluck.
Love Unabashedly – When Libby isn’t guarding us from impending doom or barking at morning squirrels, she’s touching us… always. If I sit on any chair, she’s in my lap. When watching TV at night, she lies on me, looking up with those liquid, brown eyes.
As humans, it’s easy to hold back from showing affection. Ego and fear of rejection get in the way. But I see how dogs don’t care about that. They love anyway, even though sometimes (sadly) it’s one-way.
Do What Feels Right – Libby would make a yogi jealous when it comes to listening to her body. When tired, she’ll sleep, even in the middle of a crowded kitchen. When she feels like fetching, she grabs a toy and pushes it at us (even at 6:30 a.m.) When thirsty, she drinks. When hungry, she eats.
Sometimes I find myself pressured to get things done, even when I’m tired. Then I’ll see Libby lying in the sun. I’ll stop and sit beside her, feeling the warm rays on my face. Ahh… it always feels good.
Stay Focused – When Libby turns her attention to something, nothing else matters. Whether an errant chipmunk or a toy hovering in the air about to be tossed, Libby’s focus makes Yankee Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka look scatterbrained.
Where sometimes I drift through my day (with LOTS of Facebook and Twitter detours), Libby does one thing at a time and doesn’t look left or right. I admire how she channels her energy. It inspires me to harness my own attention better.
Have fun – Libby has playtime built into everyday. She has an arsenal of toys and every few hours, pulls one out, just for kicks. She loves fetching. Her eyes grow wide. She smiles. She’s excited.
I can’t help but look at her and think I should schedule more fun in my days. Many times, I’ll stop and throw Libby her toy. It helps pull me out of my own rut. Seeing her goofy glee, reminds me that life is supposed to be joyful.
I’ve seen the same thing every time with pets. You adopt them, thinking you’ll change their lives. But instead, they change yours.
I’ve learned something from all my animals, and Libby’s no exception.
Most of what she’s taught is simple, but important… be brave, stay focused, and everyday take a moment to sit in the sun.
Do your pets teach you? Comments are always welcome and if you’d like to share, feel free!
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