When I look at my dog, I think "he's doing life right." My puppy is a spiritual master, an old soul, a natural yogi, all at just 9 months old. I wasn't always a dog person, but ever since we got our sweet pup Bowie, I've turned into a HUGE dog person, and for good reasons (and it's way more than the fact that dog = god spelled backwards). Although he drives us nuts sometimes, like any puppy, he reminds me what's really important in life. Here's a few reasons why my dog is my guru:
He's always present in the moment, and he is a GREAT listener. He's always right there with me, with his eyes and ears on my every move. He listens without the intent of answering, just with the intent of listening. He reminds me to make a conscious effort to put down my smart phone or laptop when I am with my husband, family or friends, and give them my undivided attention. He reminds me that I want to be a better listener, and that comes from being present.
He rests when he needs to rest and he eats when he needs to eat. He is intuitive to his own needs, something I can definitely work on. Sometimes when I'm really tired, and just need to rest or take some things off my schedule, I feel guilty. I doubt my puppy ever feels guilty about taking a nap after a busy day or a long walk. Why do we, as humans, sometimes feel guilty about resting? It's a very natural need! Also, food; he eats what is placed in front of him, he eats when he's hungry, and he stops when he's full. He loves treats and doesn't feel guilty about eating them (Imagine that?!). As someone who has struggled with eating and body image, it's helpful to take some cues from a simpler, more intuitive way of eating.
He is always down to play, hike, do whatever. Again, this goes back to being present. He is up for anything at any time. He is spontaneous, and his days have no plans. A lot of times my days are so scheduled and planned out, it doesn't leave room for spontaneity and fun, which is the spice of life! He reminds me to leave room in my day for play.
He loves unconditionally. A cuddle session with the puppy is so good for my soul, and a cure for any bad mood. Even when we get mad at him for doing some bad puppy behavior, he doesn't hold a grudge. He loves us the same, no matter what. He reminds me to love a little harder.
He adapts to his surroundings, quickly. As humans, I think sometimes we are too weary of change, and we forget that change is good! A friend of mine, who has two dogs of his own, shared a thought he often has when he's traveling with his pups. He wondered if when they get to a new place, they think to themselves, "well, I guess this is our home now!"
My puppy doesn't seem to mind any changes to his surroundings. He can make himself at home anywhere. I often wonder what his life was like before we adopted him, and since I'll never know, I try to make his current life as comfortable and happy as possible, which he makes very easy! He is very adaptable, andeven when we adopted a kitten into our home, he welcomed his new roommate with open arms.
He treats everyone the same. This goes along with the last idea of adaptability, and unconditional love. He is so gosh darn friendly and excited about everyone we pass on our walks. He reminds me that it's important to greet and smile at strangers, even though my introverted self wants to avoid eye contact. My favorite thing is when strangers smile at him on our walks, his eagerness to meet everyone brings joy to our neighborhood. Also, a knock at the door is the highlight of his day (which unfortunately makes him NOT a great guard dog). He is excited to meet everyone and anyone, and he has no judgement, and no preconceived notions. How amazing would it be to meet new people with the expectation that they are already amazing and someone that you really want to meet?
A dog is certainly man's best friend, but more than that, he's also our teacher! It's easy to get swept up in a slew of unimportant things, but whenever I feel I need to refocus on what's really important in life, I'll just look at my sweet puppy, Bowie, and I'll know the answer.