10 Life Lessons My Dog Has Taught Me

10 Life lessons My Dog Has Taught Me

   A dog is the most pure, genuine soul I have ever come to know. They would give their life for you in a heartbeat and pour their love and loyalty out for you every single day and all they want in return is to be loved. The most precious life lessons I have learned, I’ve learned from my dog. 

   I will never forget the day I met Riley. One night I was sitting in my dorm room and I made the crazy, spontaneous decision to go on Craigslist and message a man in Kentucky that said his dog was having a litter. I was in Virginia mind you, that’s a SIX hour drive. A couple of months later I received a call from that same man saying that the puppies were ready to be taken to their new homes. My heart skipped a couple beats and I just remember thinking,  “Am I really going to do this?”

Almost four years later, and I can still tell you that Riley has been the best decision of my life. My dog taught me how to love. And for someone that doesn’t understand, I know that sounds insane. Of course I’ve known what love is. I love my family, I love my friends, I’ve been in love. But it’s different, somehow… It’s a type of love that’s just not quite put into words. She has taught me so many things in the little time that we’ve been together in what seems like a lifetime of memories.

Dog Love
Riley at 10 weeks old

Here are the top ten life lessons my dog has taught me:

1. Not everything is what it seems.

Looks can be deceiving. Most people are absolutely terrified of certain types of dog breeds just by the way they look (German Shepherds, Pitbulls, Rottweilers, etc). They look at me as if I’m walking a tiger by a thread, and I just ignore the stares because they have no idea how sweet and docile she is. They assume she’s aggressive and unpredictable, but I know her mannerisms and personality. I know how sweet she is and how much of a big baby she is. She has taught me to be more accepting, and to look past the false images of how something or someone simply appears to be because chances are there is more than meets the eye.

2. Enjoy the little things.

Have you ever noticed how content dogs get just by the simplest things in life? They stick their head out of a car window just enjoying the adventurous car ride with all the different smells, the wind against their furry face. Or when they’re in the park and the wind rustles against their fur as they gaze at the squirrels and birds. They are just completely at peace and happy in every way.  It’s the pure and wholesome type of happiness that I can only compare to babies laughing and children playing. And as we grow older we start to forget that type of happiness.

Sometimes we’re in a hurry and rush through everything we do, start forgetting things and being short with people instead of taking the time to talk to them. Suddenly we never have enough time in the day. Riley has shown me that there’s no good reason to rush through life. She stops and enjoys the small things. And in the end, those small things end up being the big things that you look back on and remember. There’s always enough time, and sometimes we just need to take a step back from the hectic world around us and focus on what matters.

3. Go down the unbeaten path.

Spontaneously deciding to drive 6 hours to pick up a puppy has taught me that life is full of surprises. My life didn’t turned out like I thought it would five years ago and almost nothing went as planned or as scheduled. As a perfectionist that was one of the hardest things to accept, but I learned that even though things don’t go as planned- sometimes they end up even better. Riley has taught me that some of the best adventures are the ones that aren’t planned. The best trails and hikes are the ones that you find by getting lost. So explore new places, try something new and learn to be spontaneous.

4. Learn to forgive and don’t hold grudges.

I’ll never truly be able to grasp how dogs can always forgive and forget. While humans always remember the worst in people and look for imperfections in others, dogs always see the best in people. If people could have the heart of a dog, the world would be a completely different place. Let go of anger instead of holding onto grudges and learn to forgive.

5. Trust Your Instinct.

It always amazed me when Riley would act differently around certain people or situations and shortly after I would find out why. They have a 6th sense for people with ill intentions, dangerous situations, or just knowing something is not right. Trust your intuition, go with your gut feeling.

6. Love Unconditionally.

Love worth holding onto and fighting for is rare. So when you are lucky enough to find your “pack,” don’t let anything get in the way of that. It absolutely warms my heart and makes me ugly cry whenever I hear stories about how a dog remembers their owner years later and is still just as happy as if no time had passed and nothing had happened. Learn to have the heart of a dog, and love as if your heart could never get broken.

7. Bark Less, Play More.

Life is too short to spend it by not doing what you really enjoy. Take the time to do what you love to do.

8. Protect Your Loved Ones.

A family is your “pack” and a pack always sticks together.

9. Every Day Is A New Day.

Start each day with a new attitude and outlook. It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or what you need to do tomorrow, live in the present. Learn how to be mindful and enjoy what each day has to offer.

10. Be excited to see the ones you love. Every single time.

There is no better way to come home than being greeted at the door with a happy dog. She gets excited to see me or my family members each and every single time we come back. Whether it has been 20 minutes or 2 weeks, she greets us with the same excitement on every occasion. She makes sure she lets us know she’s happy to see us and puts on a happy face regardless of whether she’s tired, in pain, just woke up, or is going to sleep.  Life is too short and unexpected, and you never know what’s going to happen. Don’t take your loved ones for granted and don’t let a day go by without them knowing how much you care.

Dog Love
The Adventures Of Riley

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