My favourite lessons from my dog


If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life. Roger A Caras

First I would like to introduce you all to my beautiful dog, Diesel Bean (pictured with me). He is the biggest support in my life, he’s taught me more lessons than anyone I’ve known and his loyalty and commitment has seen me through some very dark days. This blog is dedicated to you, Diesel Bean (he’s actually that smart – he’ll probably be reading it right now!). And this week, Happiness Weekly is looking at all my favourite lessons that he’s taught me – he may be small, but he’s full of wisdom!

Be nice to everyone – you never know who will pat you
You know, my dog will approach absolutely anyone for a pat. He’s part Chihuahua, which for some reasons scares people, but he loves people. Anyone and everyone. Young and old. If you look in his direction, he will approach and say hello – no matter what you look like. I think we can all learn from this. One of the nicest ladies I know has a very hard exterior. When I first was liaising with her, I was very intimidated – but time and time again she’s just proven to be an absolutely beautiful lady. It just shows you can’t judge. Your gut isn’t always right.

Loyalty is the greatest reward
Having been deceived so many times in my loving relationships, I always return home and my dog is always there. I’m pretty sure he knows every time I’m sobbing over him that I have been let down again. And he’s always there for me. He never goes off overseas. He doesn’t change his mind. He doesn’t change his routine. He’s just always there. Always loving. Always loyal. And that reminds me every time that in any relationship you can have … with anything … that loyalty is actually the greatest reward. It’s the greatest thing anyone can give you.

Live each moment to the full
Don’t look at the past with regret, don’t look to the future with anticipation, just enjoy each moment as it comes to you and live it to the fullest. Embrace everything to be excited about and go forward with joy in your heart. He also taught me to be open about what I want and what I love so I can have them faster. Sometimes … if I ask for things directly, then I’m simply given them. Sometimes all we need to do is ask – and remember that the worst response we will get is “no” but then we’re no worse off than we were to start.

Appreciate the little things
I learnt very quickly (but too late) when Diesel Bean was a puppy that he loves playing with empty toilet rolls. So when I went out and brought him a thousand toys to keep him entertained, all he wanted was a simple, leftover product that wouldn’t have cost a thing. He has now even taught himself to notice when the toilet roll is empty or close to it, and how to take it off the holder so he can play with it. Talk about seize the moment! It taught me to appreciate the little things … sometimes it’s the little things that can become the big things.

Forgiveness is a lot easier than people make it out to be
As I said, my dog is quite small, so treading on him has happened from time to time, although he’s generally quite speedy in getting out of the way. How many times do you cross someone at work accidentally and then the relationship is just never quite the same? I can’t tell you how many people I have come across in my time who find it near impossible to forgive and forget … and so this is another quality I see in my dog that I really admire. It hasn’t mattered if I tread on his tiny toes every now and then … he always seems happy with me and always offers me this unconditional love that no other can. He never holds grudges towards anyone … I think that’s another reason I love him so much! Sometimes forgiveness just takes a little bit of listening, understanding and compassion.

People love it when you look forward to seeing them – and you let them know!
Whenever I return home from anywhere, and I don’t have to be gone long, my dog will always throw a hell of a party to welcome me – crying and barking. He just loses it! Well, I test-drove this in my most recent relationship. “What if I give someone that similar kind of attention, where it looks as though I’m always waiting for them and I’m always extremely happy to see them?” Well … it proved positive. People love it when you look forward to seeing them and you tell them! So now if I am catching up with any friend, doesn’t matter when the last time I saw them was, I will always say “I’m looking forward to it” or “I can’t wait to see you!”

A cuddle always feels good
My dog gets mesmerised by cuddles. I’m not really a touchy-feely person so this was something that I had to learn through him. And I learnt it well. I learnt the power of touch from my dog. Nothing will make a person feel more loved than when you always have a hand on them when they’re near. If you’re not a touchy-feely person, this is actually quite difficult because you kind of have to make a conscious effort to do it. But now I do it instinctively when I’m in love. When I’m in love, I love them like my dog loves me. When I’m in the room, my dog won’t let me have any space without him. He’s always right next to me or on me. And it feels good! If you cuddle your lover in good times and in bad, it will always feel good as well.

Happiness is a warm puppy. Charles M Schulz


You don’t need material things to make you happy
OK, seriously, it’s not like my dog takes me out to expensive dinners or buys me diamonds! You don’t need material things to be happy in your relationship. You might think you do but at the end of the day, all you should need is each other and in being with each other you are naturally happy.

Love and commitment is better demonstrated than said
My dog doesn’t write me love notes. He doesn’t put things on his Facebook wall. He doesn’t tell me he’s going to do something and then not do it. Every day, in everything he does, he demonstrates his love and commitment to me. Although we have two dogs, and the other dog came after him, he was never jealous or impatient. He doesn’t like the other dog getting more attention than he does, but instead of getting jealous he just continues loving me to the best of his ability. He doesn’t alter his love to try to compete with the other dog … he just is who he is. Demonstrating his love and commitment without any compromise to himself has been a great lesson to me in my loving relationships. I always demonstrate my love and commitment, but I find it a real challenge to do it without compromising something.

Get excited about food – even if you’re eating the same thing every day
This is a big one really. No matter what I’m eating, I should be grateful that I’m eating it. And that’s not just that there are poor children in third world countries, because as smart as my dog is – I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know about them … but it’s just appreciating the little things you have and seeing them as the amazing things they are, rather than taking things for granted. It’s when we start taking things for granted that things fall apart. We lose our happiness in the shadows.

Doing what you’re told can be satisfying
Nothing makes my dog smile at me more than when he’s doing exactly what he’s been asked to do. He sits up straight, wags his tail and I’m telling you – he’s smiling at me. Don’t we all get the same kind of feeling when we do a really good job or we do something someone has asked us to do, really well? Sometimes just doing what we’re told can feel really satisfying.

Daily exercise is essential to your wellbeing
I’ve often noticed if my dog can’t walk for whatever reason – it’s raining heavily or he’s hurt a paw or something – then his entire wellbeing is out. He’s still happy, but not as happy and dynamic as he is when he gets to go for his daily routine walk. This makes me realise just how strongly linked exercise is to wellbeing – not just for pets but for us. Try to get out for a walk a day!

Don’t give up on anything you truly love
This was made evident when my dog’s ball rolled under the couch. It didn’t matter how long her was there for, he would stare and whinge and whinge until I got up and rescued it for him. It’s the same with treats … if I have a treat in my pocket, he will jump and jump and jump until he has it. The lesson I learnt from his persistence is that no matter how useless the situation may feel, and how helpless you feel in it: if you truly love it, you won’t give up on it.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and man. Mark Twain.


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