My wife Kathy and I just adopted a puppy, and named him Henry. We adopted his big sister, Leland, two years ago. They’re both Goldendoodles. Also called “designer dogs,” “Doodles” are a cross-breed dog, obtained by breeding a Golden Retriever with a Poodle.
Kathy and I often say that we are too selfish to have kids, so giving a loving home to dogs is our way of promoting responsible family values. And as most dog owners know, taking care of dogs is a lot of work. Despite it only being a couple years, I didn’t remember how exhausting a puppy can be. But the truth is, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
A few things about which dogs remind me…
Exercise patience and set boundaries – Whenever two dogs get together there is usually some form of rough housing. It’s ok to a point, until it’s not and then they will let each other know it. It’s a good reminder to us humans that sometimes we need to be direct and let others know when they’ve crossed the line.
Appreciate the importance of play – Puppies (actually all dogs) learn through play. Play exercises their physical and cognitive skills, their ability to control their emotions and how to interact in their environment. The same goes for children, however, I believe people would be a lot happier if we made play ok for adults as well.
Start each day enthusiastically – I cannot recall ever seeing any dog who wasn’t happy in the morning. Even our Leland, who often sleeps longer than Kathy or I, always has a smirk on her face and a wag on her tail as she rolls over for the first belly rub of the morning. There’s no “I’m dreading work,” or “I’m too tired” coming from our dogs. It’s pure joy at the opportunity to start another day. If we humans adopted that mindset I am certain we would be a lot happier…and so would the people we run into as the day begins.
When in doubt, lick – Regardless how I feel, I can always count on Henry and Leland to lick my face, or my feet, or the scab on my arm. It’s like their way of saying, “it will be ok,” or “I’m sorry I peed on the floor.” It reminds me that we humans can never show enough empathy.
I’m sure I could think of additional examples, but it’s potty time.