August 26th is Dog Day, a day that has been set aside to celebrate all dogs, everywhere. From those that protect and serve to the abandoned or abused, dogs should be recognized for the important part they play in society.
I have been blessed with many dogs in my life. Almost all the dogs I have had as an adult have been abandoned, or rescued, or had some other dubious beginnings. Our most recent trio has dwindled down to one now. Only Dodger remains, while Harley and Darby have crossed over to greener pastures. They were both in their mid-teens when they died and they left their mark on our lives in countless ways.
While I’m not someone who takes my dog everywhere I go, nor do I dress them up in the latest doggy fashion, my dogs are always part of my family. They may not always be the best behaved, what with jumping on furniture and sneaking a people food snack or two, but they are the most loved and the most loving. Now you may disagree with me (“No, MY dog is the most loved and most loving”), but I think we can all agree that dogs enrich our lives immeasurably.
What is it about dogs? Why do they endear themselves to us so easily? How ever did they get the moniker, “man’s best friend?” The story goes back at least 15,000 years, and no other animal shares as close a relationship with humans as dogs do. They’ve been our companions, worked for us and even warmed us during the coldest nights. In exchange, we feed them, give them a dry place to sleep and keep them healthy. No wonder they become part of our families!
Dogs have tons to teach us about life, and most set the bar pretty high. Short of putting your nose where it doesn’t belong, or eating things best left alone, there are many ways you can be a better person by being more like a dog.
10 Ways to Be More Like A Dog
Dogs are ALWAYS happy to see you, no matter what. You could have just returned from a weeks long trip and they’re all over you with love. Now, that’s not to say my husband doesn’t do the same thing, but then, he’s special too.
Be fiercely loyal to those you love
How many stories have we heard of dogs who won’t leave a burning house until their people are out. Or won’t leave their people’s side when they are sick. Dogs are like that. Stick by the people you love, no matter what.
Protect your loved ones
Dodger is very protective of me, too, almost to a fault, as anyone who’s come to my door can attest. Now, her bark is definitely worse than her bite – she hasn’t actually bit anyone – but it’s enough to keep me safe. You can do the same for your loved ones. When someone says something mean about them, bark back. When you find them in some sort of danger, give them a safe place.
Be more mindful
Dogs live in the moment. Sure, they might be running all over the place, and get distracted easily (squirrel!), but what ever they are doing at the moment has their full attention … until they move on to the next thing. And then they rest. Hard. No multi-tasking for them!
Be grateful for the small things
What my dog would give for a good belly or butt scratch. And don’t even get me started on walks. Dogs know how to show gratitude, and that goes for every dog I’ve ever known.
A dog doesn’t need the newest iPhone. Heck, my dog is ecstatic when she gets fed the same thing every single day. It’s the simple things that make them happy. They don’t care about the latest outfit or gourmet food. Give them a hike in the woods and see them light up.
Trust your instinct
You know how dogs react strangely to certain people? Trust them on this. Or how about those stories we’ve heard about dogs traveling hundreds of miles after getting left behind on a family camping trip. That part of their brain where instinct resides is well developed for obvious reasons. We can also exercise our instinct muscle by using it. Listen to your gut. It will rarely steer you wrong.
Play with abandon
Anyone who takes their dog to the dog park knows this one. My grandpup lives to see his doggy buddies and it can’t help but bring a smile to my face as I watch them play. They don’t care how silly they look or how dirty they get. They are totally in the moment. So get silly, have fun, just make sure it’s mud you’re rolling around in, instead of, well, something else.
Offer comfort to those you love
When you’re having a tough time of things, there’s no better companion than a dog. They sit with you as long as you want, no need to talk, just giving you comfort through physical touch and their presence.
Put judgment aside
Dogs don’t hold grudges. They don’t get mad because you didn’t feed them on time. And if you accidentally step on their foot, they don’t hold it against you. They also love you no matter how you look or when you’re not your best self.
Oh the things we learn from our dogs. Now cats, that’s a whole other list!