Here are 11 things I've learnt about life and happiness through my dog:
1. Live in the moment.
Dogs live in the moment.
Dogs don't worry about what happened yesterday, or what's going to happen tomorrow. They're not thinking about what they'll do after they eat their kibble or chase down that ball. They just live for the present moment.
Dogs don't stress over the past or obsess over the future. They're just happy to be alive right now, and so should you!
2. Make time to have fun. Be playful!Life is too short to be serious all the time. Make time to have fun. You know what they say: "A tired dog is a happy dog." And who wouldn't want to be like a happy dog? The more we play, the more we can learn about ourselves and our environment. We are designed to be active beings, and if we don't get enough exercise (both mental and physical), we'll go insane.
So go ahead: get out there, have a walk in the sun and make some moves.
3. Love unconditionallyShe's taught me that everyone deserves to be loved, no matter what. She's taught me that it's okay to be scared and let your guard down with people sometimes, because we all have fears and insecurities—and most people are not going to use them against you.
I've been through some tough times recently and Venus has been there for me every step of the way. She's always ready to listen when I need someone who understands what I'm going through, and she never judges me for my mistakes or failures. She just loves me unconditionally in return for all of my love for her.
There are plenty of stories about frightful, aggressive dogs who transformed into kind, gentle dogs after they were placed in a loving environment—dogs can overcome their fear and insecurities through love, and so can humans! Love truly does conquer all, and the first step for us is to love ourselves.
My Venus taught me the most valuable lessons in life: forgiveness and never holding grudges. She never held a grudge against anyone—not even when she got hit and run by a bike along our running track near our home. She just let it go and enjoyed her life after a few days.
She taught me that it was okay to let things go, even if they hurt me or upset me. It also made me realize letting go allows me to live at peace with myself and others around me.
My dog is the most loyal creature I have ever met. She is my best friend, and she has been by my side through thick and thin.
When I was sad, she went out of her way to cheer me up. When I was happy, she made sure to celebrate with me. When I was lonely, she was there with a wagging tail and a wet nose. When I was scared or worried about something in my life, she would sit with me until I felt better. And when it came time to get out of bed in the morning, she always woke up before me so that she could make sure every part of me was covered in kisses before we left for work.
My dog has taught me what true loyalty means—and that's why I know that no matter what happens in life, as long as you have those you love by your side, nothing can stop you from getting through anything together!
6. Choose happiness every day
I learned from my dog that happiness is a choice and that I can choose it every day.
There are times when life isn't so easy—when things aren't going your way or if you're stressed out about something. And sometimes, even when everything is going well and life seems perfect, it still doesn't feel like enough. But my dog reminds me that no matter what happens or how bad things get, there's always something good right under our noses if we just stop long enough to notice it!
7. Slow down and sniff "the flavour of life"
Dogs are so much more than pets—they're family members. And they're teachers too…
Venus taught me to slow down and smell the roses (literally). She taught me how to sniff out the flavor of life in every moment, no matter how mundane or seemingly insignificant it might seem at first glance.
She taught me how to see the world with fresh eyes every day—and how to appreciate even the smallest things in this crazy world that we live in!
8. Enjoy the journey, not just destination.
When it comes to dogs, life is all about the journey.
Dogs don't care where they're going—they just know that they're having a blast as long as they have their head out the window and the wind in their fur. Goals are great to set, but when we become too attached to the outcome, it can cause frustration, depression or even anger if our exact expectations aren't met. Instead of attaching yourself so strongly to your goals, try being open to other possibilities and enjoying every moment of excitement, creativity, fun and lessons in the journey.
9. Drink lots of water
I love my dog. She's the best.
So I'm going to let you in on a little secret: she reminds me to drink water!
Dogs have this innate sense of when their body needs water, and they're always ready to drink up a storm. So when I see her drinking, it's a good reminder for me to stay hydrated as well. My problem is that sometimes I get glued in front of the computer and forget that I need to get hydrated—but then I see my dog drinking from her bowl and it reminds me that it's time for me to drink too.
Another good practice is to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Your body needs fluids first thing in order for all its systems to start working properly—so make sure you're getting enough!
10. Not giving a damn about what people think
When I was younger, I used to care about things like what other people thought about me or how my actions would affect them. But now that I'm older and wiser (and have a dog), I've learned that it's not worth worrying about other people's opinions.
11. Be yourself
I was always the odd one out in school. I never really felt like I belonged anywhere. But when I got a dog, everything changed.
My dog taught me that it's okay to be different, be weird, and that you can find your tribe among people who love you for exactly who you are. It might take some time, but it's worth it!
I think it's important to remember that we are not alone in this world. I believe that animals have the capability of bringing us great joy and strengthening our relationships with others.
For example, research has shown that simply petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol and the social interaction between people and their dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies).
I'm not sure why it works this way, but it does! And I think that makes all the difference when you're trying to find happiness in your life.
To me, happiness is…
Watching my dog run freely in a park with a big smile on her face and a tail constantly wagging.
What does your happiness look like?