Bridging the Divided

Message Received….Life Lessons from My Dogs…..

Right up there with babies, God’s finest creation is the dog. Most of life’s important lessons I learned from dogs.

Enjoy the simple pleasures of a walk

We have an older guy – by older I mean likely my age but I am in denial – who takes his dogs for a walk most every day. Two of them walk alongside, and one he carries in a red bag slung over his shoulder. Their gait is slow, leisurely, in no apparent hurry. The little white dog smiles as it peeps over the edge of the red bag hanging from the shoulder of his human; dogs smile, I’m sure of it.

Some people would never walk, nor enjoy the pleasure of a walk if it weren’t for dogs. So, there are health benefits, particularly as we age. Cardio, fresh air, sunlight, stress relief, and walking does its part keeping the joints limber. Can’t beat those benefits. The deeper message is the simplicity of a walk slows us down, helps us keep life in perspective, affords us the opportunity to stop and smell the roses. 

In today’s world, it’s difficult to keep life in perspective. The cares of our work-a-day lives can overwhelm and we feel weighed down, defeated, but a short walk with a dog can change our perspective as we breathe in the crisp air on a fall afternoon. When we allow our minds to relax and quit puzzling over issues the answers we seek often rise to the surface. We may even notice the subtle changes of the season as summer fades into fall; trees dressed in vibrant shades of reds, and golds, the burnt orange sun lower on the horizon. Dogs do this for us.

Be loyal, faithful, and quick to forgive

Is there anything more loyal, faithful, and quick to forgive than a dog? Truly, dogs are man’s best friend. We have all seen the pictures and videos of military servicemen and women returning home after years away from their families. The family dog, scarcely able to contain his joy, welcomes the soldier back home with the whole of his being. 

We can learn a great deal about loyalty and forgiveness from our dogs. Humans tend to hold grudges against others, sometimes for the silliest things. We waste precious time holding grudges, time that will never be returned to us, and for what? Is the importance of being right, having the last word, standing our ground really more important than the relationship? Dogs keep relationships in perspective.

Accept all of life’s treats with gratitude

Oh sure, it’s easy to be grateful for the big things in life, but what about all the little blessings we receive on a daily basis and take for granted? Getting out of bed in the morning is a distant memory for some dependent upon others for their care. Are we grateful as we watch the setting sun in the evening, for the ability to take in a deep breath, time spent with a loved one, or having a reliable car to get us to work in the morning? No matter the size of the treat our dogs relish it with gusto. It can be a dog bone or a morsel from our dinner plate, their gratitude is the same. 

Run and play daily

Playing is a dog’s work. Our newest puppy lives to play fetch every day, as many times as we will throw the ball. The rest of the day she engages the others in running through the house, tumbling around, and playing their version of ‘tag’. At the close of each day, they settle down to restful sleep, ready to play again with the rising of the sun.

Humans tend to put the joy of play aside until we have more money, more time, more of whatever, me included. But play doesn’t need to be a vacation to Disneyland, Europe, or a cruise. Play can be getting together with friends for a game night or chatting around a campfire. The point is to have fun, taking care to include fun in daily life, no matter how simple. Play is good for the spirit, the body, and the mind; we are healthier for it. Even working dogs make time to play, sometimes playing while they work. Dogs have their priorities straight. 

Yep, all the important life lessons we can learn from dogs. Some say dog is God spelled backward, some say God wanted to walk alongside us and so He gave us the dog. Either way, message received…..

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