Love at first site, while I am not a romantic person I do believe in love at first sight. I loved my dog Pepper from the moment I saw her as a small stinky dirty fluff ball! Along the way there has been a few times when I lost one too many flip-flops as chew toys and became stressed out after eating my lunch in the car while siting in traffic so I could come home and leave her out (pre-doggie door) but all of those small annoyances dissipate and pure love comes pouring out every time I see that sweet face of hers. Beyond having the most reliable running buddy in the world Pepper has enriched my life by making me a better person. Here are the top 5 life lessons I have learned from my dog.
1. Exercise is not optional it is essential to life or destructive behavior develops.
Everyone always says a tired dog is a good dog. How about a tired person being a good person? If you wake up in the morning exercise then go about your ‘normal day’ I bet when you come home you will want to go to bed not watch that crappy reality TV show that is poisoning your brain by people treating each other poorly. Don’t get me wrong I love to watch TV too, I love Friends, Seinfeld, and the Walking Dead but none of those shows that have people being crazy rude to each other and pretending that is life. Also I was temped to have a root beer float the other night but passed because I knew if I had that delightful treat I would be a mucus factory the next morning during my run, just another destructive behavior saved by running. Oh and don’t even get me started about making sure you don't have a hangover for you long run on Saturday…
2. You should never hide your excitement level. Think back on your life. I bet you can remember a time when you hid your excitement level because it wasn’t ‘cool’ or other people would think it is stupid. Why does that matter? Have we all become so judgment and critical of each other so much that we can’t enjoy life and embrace the excitement we feel every day over the smallest things. I say f-that I will get excited about the smallest things and not hide it. I will get excited about the best vegan ice cream from Sweet Melissa’s, making it to my 8:30 yoga class on Sunday, getting to the top of a hill without having to walk, any amazing French press coffee, and whatever else I am excited about today! These small things will compile into a day, a week, a year, a lifetime. I want to look back and say I enjoyed every moment!
3. Life is more about who you spend your time with rather than where you are at. I see my dog at home she is happy to be with me, I see my dog at work she is happy to be with me, I take my dog hiking she is happy to be with me, we go for a car ride she is happy to come along. When spending time with good friends it doesn’t matter if you are in a 5-bedroom house, a 2-bedroom house, a shack in the woods, a tent, or a lean-to in the Adirondacks. You can have fun everywhere!
4. Give affection freely. Ever notice how quick dogs are to make friends? Why can people not make friends that easily? I for one am insanely easy to befriend. Do you run? Do you drink beer? Do you like being outside? If answered yes to any of these questions we could be great friend! I also have a few questions that will get you on my non-friend list. Do you steal? Do you do illegal drugs? You have to draw the line somewhere.
5. Everyday should have at least one downward dog in it. Having a few moments in the morning for some meditation and stretching thru movement has a drastic impact on the remaining of you day. If I lie in bed and peruse Facebook until the very last minute I have to get out of bed then rush thru my day it always sucks. If I wake up work out, do some sun salutations, oil pulling, make a good cup of coffee then start my day; I always have a rockin’ day!
I am now one of those people who doesn’t like to go anywhere with out her dog. I find bars that allow dogs, I eat outside at picnic tables beside restaurants, I drive instead of fly; anything to make sure Pepper can I can explore together! I know I have missed a few other ways dogs improve our lives but if you have any you would like to share please comment below.