Thursday, January 24, 2013

10 Life Lessons I Learned from my Dog(s)


Jordan Dane
@JordanDane


Dogs know stuff. Sometimes I believe they carry souls who are on a higher level of existence than we are because they have the secret to being happy. Here are 10 things I have learned from my dog(s).


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Sancho - walking trouble




1.) Wake up every morning as if each day is an adventure – I am reminded of this every morning times TWO. My dogs love their rituals and seeing me is top of their list, it would seem. At least they make me feel special. And isn’t that important for everyone?

2.) Carrying grudges is for cats – Dogs might get scolded for something, but two seconds later they are back with enthusiasm. A short term memory and a brain the size of a walnut helps, but I believe dogs know that carrying around negative thoughts weighs down your heart and life is too short for that.

3.) All you need is the fur on your back – Dogs can pick up and go without taking a toothbrush. Yeah, they may have their toys, but they are perfectly able to share them with others. They are self-sufficient and know what’s truly important. Material possessions take a backseat to the people they love.

4.) Be loyal and love unconditionally – If you ever have a bad day, go play with your dog. They always know when you need a little love, because they dispense it all the time and in every way. They never hold back their affection. Even if you feel you might not deserve it, they will always love you with sloppy wet kisses.

5.) Make friends – My dogs are ALWAYS ready to make new friends. They see a dog walking down the street and they are pulling at their leash to say HELLO. For this to apply to humans, I would dispense with the butt sniff, but that’s just me. Maybe your neighborhood is different.

6.) Having a little discipline gets you stuff – Dogs may not feel the need for discipline, but they know it gets them stuff. Think of your daily word count as something worthy of a treat. The sooner you get it done, the quicker you’ll get that sweet morsel of accomplishment and know that you’ve earned it.

7.) When loved ones come home, greet them with a grin and a butt wag – Dogs don’t take ANYONE for granted. Anyone walking through their door is someone to play with and love. There is nothing wrong with that.

8.) Let people touch you – Who doesn’t need a good head pat or butt scratch? Enough said.

9.) Run, romp, and play daily – My dogs NEVER have a bad day. Ever. When was the last time you truly had a BANG ON splendid day from start to finish? Well multiply that by 24/7/365 and you’ve really got something.

10.) If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it – Dogs have single-minded persistence when it comes to the things they truly want. They focus and they dig until they score. They trust their instincts to know it’s there and a little hard work is nothing when it comes to something that makes you happy.

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Taco - my sweet girl
 





There are many more things I could write. I have two rescue dogs and they both teach me different things, but I’d like to hear from you. What has your dog taught you?

38 comments:

  1. Throw your life into defending your loved ones and they will give you all the love you can imagine and then some.

    Years ago I had a rambunctious black lab called Happy, cuz that's what he was. When my middle son was a toddling toddler we had taken a walk through the woods on my grandparents Interior Alaskan Homestead. Just as we came down the hill within a hundred yards of our house I pushed baby Ben's sled down the hill the rest of the way like we often did and he laughed with glee as speed picked up. Our oldest son, then about 8, jogged after him laughing as he tried to catch up.

    All of a sudden a momma moose charged angrily out of a willow stand heading directly to trample the boys. Terror welled in my throat and I shouted, starting to run down to the boys. Before I could take a few steps Happy charged at full speed right at the moose. The 1000 lb beast was suddenly thrown from instigator/attacker to wide eyed terrified victim as the 40 lb lab charged teeth bared ready to kill or be killed before his family got hurt. The moose instantly turned and ran like death from Happy.

    Once she was gone into the woods, Happy heeled right beside my older son and made sure they got to the house okay before returning to check on me and my wife.

    Ben never even knew anything other than a fun 100 yard downhill sled ride to the house.

    Man, I miss that dog.

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    1. Wow. What a scary yet great dog story. They are amazing protectors. We had a mutt named Brutus who was like that. About the size of a beagle, but fierce in the attitude dept. He yook on five German Shepherds & still crawled home. 70 stitches. He'd escort us on Halloween like it was his job, even if we split into two groups, he'd find us wherever we were to make sure we all got home.

      In my idea of heaven, there are dogs too. Thanks, Basil. Great story.

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    2. Oh, that made me cry, and miss even more my black lab Cody, who died of cancer in 2007. He was my protector when I lived in a part of town that typically had police helicopters fly over every night. Oh how I miss that dog!

      BK Jackson

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  2. Patience. Bless my Maple, she understands when, though it's twenty minutes past her usual walk time, I must finish writing what's in my head before the idea dissipates. She may nudge a wet nose against my ankle every five minutes or so, just as a friendly reminder but when I finally say, "Let's go", her enthusiasm is contagious and it's obvious she doesn't hold the delay against me. There's not a part of her that doesn't wiggle. You have to smile.

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    1. The wiggling is the best. Dog-aerobics.

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  3. Great list. The only one that differs is that instead of always being ready to make friends, my Aztec is always ready to challenge and start a fight. LOL! She needs Cesar.

    But you're right. If we can dial back, simplify and live the life of dogs, we'd have it made.

    BK Jackson

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    1. I think Cesar would give up on Sancho, the top pic. He wants what he wants...PERIOD.

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  4. this put a smile on my face. Thank you!

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    1. If you were HERE, you'd have licks on your face. (None of them from me.) My short Walmart greeters know how to say hello. Thanks, Sechin. Have a great week. Happy writing, bud.

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  5. My dog is getting old and I worry about her every day. But she doesn't, just does the best she can, some days are good, others not so much. I'm trying to live the same way.

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    1. A lifetime of love. How beautiful, Brian. Before we got these two butt waggers, we had our Feliz for 15 years. We'll never forget her. It took years for us to want another dog. We wee afraid that we'd unfairly measure any dog after her to a higher mark, but utlimately it was our love of her that reminded us that she was a rescue too. For her, we opened out doors again...eventually.

      Dogs are amazing. They don't complain. They simply deal with whatever comes. Human beings could learn alot from dogs.

      Thanks, Brian. Hug your four-legged girl today.

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  6. Our late dog Sadie was a short little pooch made up of an eclectic blend of indeterminate breeds. She was a rescued dog, so we don’t know exactly how old she was. But with her years came total blindness.

    At first we were concerned about the quality of life a blind dog could have. But she managed quite well, thank you. Blessed with the most loving and loyal personality I’ve ever seen in a dog, she fooled nearly everyone about her handicap. My neighbor still doesn’t believe she was blind.

    Somewhere deep in Sadie’s genes lurked a hunter. Before she lost her sight she guarded the back yard against squirrels and rabbits. Indoors, her idea of exercise was waking from a nap, relocating to another sunny spot on the carpet and lying back down. But the second she set foot outdoors, she morphed into "Sadie of the Serengeti". Squirrels for blocks around hid in fear and whispered, “It’s baaack!”

    Nothing changed with her blindness. She still saw her mission in life as a mighty hunter, defender against the unclean hordes of squirrels. “Can’t see? What’s your point? Get out of my way!” So what if she ran into the occasional tree. The yard was still free of squirrels.

    From this little dog I learned that despite whatever disability or tribulation befalls us, we are still who we are. We still have our squirrels to chase. So chase ‘em!

    Just beware of those trees.

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    1. HA! Great story. Thanks for sharing Sadie with us. We had a 3-legged dog in our neighborhood in OK. Didn't slow her down.

      My mom & dad had a blind poodle when we were growing up. We'd tell him to "go find mommy" and he'd sniff and walk the perimeter of every room until he found her.

      Chasing squirrels? WOW!

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  7. Love my collie Hamish and love today's post. He has taught me the value of unconditional love and loyalty and that no matter what the day brings a snuggle, snooze and a tummy rub will make it all better.

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    1. There are days I wonder who should be at the top of our food chain. (sigh)

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  8. What can I say? I'm a cat person.

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    1. I have two rescue cats too. Pinot Grigio and Foochie Focker. Cats always come in pairs for us. We love them too, but as you know and appreciate--cats allow us to live with them.

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  9. I was a cat person my whole life but 10 years ago we got our first dog. Still love my cat (who's 21 years old) but my two rescue doggies changed my life because as you say, they have major lessons to teach us. Great post!

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    1. Wow. 21 years. You'll have to share your secret for the longevity. I would've loved to keep our cats with us for more years. The best we could do is 16. I heard of one cat living 36+ years. It visited the vet every day and was hairless, but still going strong. I might have to research to see if it's still around. Amazing.

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  10. Fun post, Jordon.
    We have 4 cats and one little Shih Tzu whose breed I frequently mispronounce on purpose because he can really be a little brat. But he's taught me that even when you're outnumbered and others are hissing and swiping at you with their claws, you can still rule if you know how to play the game. :)

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    1. I bet there is nothing like Shih Tzu 'tude. The little dog sydrome...or advantage, depending on your point of view. Love it. Thanks for sharing, Jillian. Gave me the chuckles.

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  11. I love this, Jordan. I'm a dog and cat guy. We don't have a dog at the moment and I miss the absence. I carry dog treats in my trunk in case I encounter one.

    What I've learned from dogs (in addition to your rules): If it itches, drag it across the carpet.

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    1. OMG, Joe. Yeah, we'll have to add THAT one to this list. (sigh)

      I watched a funny ep of Family Guy where Brian the dog and the baby had an "eating poo" incident. Classic.

      Thanks for the laugh, buddy.

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  12. You hit so many of the biggies. I lost my mini schnauzer Misty last year, just before she would have been 11. She taught me about dogs and how to be a better person - more gentle, more soft spoken, more kind, more loving, and more giving. I didn't need to know how to be more stubborn - I already had that figured out. I would be a lesser person today without her kind and loving influence.

    Two months before she left, I saw a picture. I wasn't looking for another dog, but I found a toy schnauzer, Pepper with the exotic Asian-looking eyes. Heck Misty was having a bad time and I was up every half hour each night already. It was crazy to even consider it. I turned in paperwork for Pepper knowing the rescue would never call - and bam!- that night I had a call - that weekend I picked her up. Then a couple of weeks after Misty died the rescue I got Pepper from needed someone to transport some rescue girls to their fosters, so I said ok. All of the fosters bailed and I ended up fostering two recovering mommy mini schnauzers and a 6 mo old toy schnauzer pup. A month later my niece had a mom, another new foster had a mom, and I adopted Daisy with the huge radar dish ears. Pepper, Daisy, and the fosters saved me. I don't know if I would have made it without them.

    To your list, I would add:
    Every moment is precious (especially with loved ones) never waste one.
    There is joy in every thing- all around - find the joy.
    Don't leave anyone alone or behind- it's always better to be together.

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    1. What a sweet story, Chaco. You made me misty. Love it. No wonder you're a writer.

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  13. What have I learned from my cat? That there's nothing better than a long afternoon nap.

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    1. Naps are always underappreciated. I have a picture of my yellow tabby who fell asleep as he watched birds out the kitchen window. He's such a big boy that his backside is hanging off the chair, but his belly anchors him. Priceless. Cats are a whole 'nother post...or a book.

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  14. As the saying goes, "Dogs hold the wisdom of the ages. If you can't eat it or play with it, then pee on it and move on."

    Scruffy and Foxy approve of this post.

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    1. Ha! That describes my Sancho to a tee. Thanks for the chuckle, Terri.

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  15. Mystery writers AND dog lovers -- this is the perfect blog! :)

    We've always had rescues at our house (and always will), and they're the best creatures in the world. Loving, loyal and grateful. Qualities we should all seek to have. I completely agree with your list, Jordan.

    The current canines at our house are Big Jake, a very handsome, 126-pound Boxer-Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, and Daisy Mae, an incredibly adorable Australian Shepherd-Border Collie mix. Jake is 9 years old, and would prefer to live a cat's life, but the young Daisy keeps him on his toes.

    I won't get started on dog stories, for fear I won't stop. But I will say that I've loved watching my two children grow up to be dog lovers (and dog protectors). And, as a bonus, we have a son-in-law who's as much of a dog lover as the rest of us. When they visited us here in Texas at Christmas, they had to leave their 3 dogs at home in North Carolina. My son-in-law spent most of his time on the floor with Big Jake.

    Dogs truly do rock -- well, good ones do anyway(I've met a few that don't). And, cats can rock as well. We're currently down to one cat, but he's a real rock star, because he acts more like a dog than a cat.

    Thanks, Jordan, for letting us chat about dogs.

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    1. Great stuff, Diane. I've always had rescue mutts. Mixed breeds are the BEST. I live in TX too. San Antonio. Great to have you here at TKZ. I hope you'll be a regular.

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    2. Thanks, Jordan. I HAVE become a regular here, and love it more and more all the time. Glad you mentioned being in San Antonio. I'm in the Houston area and just attended my first MWA meeting (been trying for months to get there). In browsing the member list on the MWASW chapter, I saw you on the list -- and thought "I know who she is!". It would be great to meet you in person sometime.

      BTW, I forgot to add thanks for sharing the pictures of your dogs -- they're adorable. Give them a pat on the head for me.

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    3. I get to Houston for signings and hope to be there over the next couple of months. I'm sure you've been to the amazing MURDER BY THE BOOK bookstore. Love them. Would be great to meet you too.

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    4. I LOVE Murder By The Book and have been to several signings there. I'm always up for a visit to MBTB -- if it works in your schedule when you're in town, I'd love to drive over and meet you and say a quick hello. My email is diane(at)thewritingrange(dotcom).

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    5. Thanks Diane. I'm on deadline now & buried. I may need my dogs to dig me out, but I hope to set up a signing soon. Have a great weekend.

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  16. By the way, we did a DNA swab on our pooches & sent them off for analysis. (I'm a crime fiction author. What do you expect?) As you might imagine, results came back on each dog with 6-8 breeds but here are the top ones:

    TACO:
    Border Collie
    Saluki

    SANCHO:
    Chow
    German Shepherd

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