Thought I’d write a more light-hearted blog this week since the sun is shining and spring is on it’s way!
Today is also the start of the Chinese Year of the (Earth) Dog. I’ve read that the nature of the Dog is to be ‘...loyal and honest, amiable and kind, cautious and prudent. Due to having a strong sense of loyalty and sincerity, Dogs will do everything for the person who they think is most important.'
This sounded a lot like my dog, so I was wondering what lessons I could learn from my lovely Labrador. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far (happy to hear from you!).
Lesson #1 - It's good to walk
No matter what the weather, he’s always up for a walk. Not so much needing the physical exercise now that he’s getting older, but he clearly loves being out and about. I’ve learnt from this that I feel better for being out in the fresh air every day. It doesn’t have to be a long walk; even the NHS say there are health benefits with a brisk 10 minute walk (https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/getting-started-guides/Pages/getting-started-walking.aspx)
Lesson #2 - You can make new friends
I’ve definitely noticed that my dog has a wide range of friends - all shapes, sizes and personalities. Having a dog has definitely led me to getting to know people that I wouldn’t otherwise have met. As a result, my circle of friends has not only got larger but also much more diverse thanks to my gregarious pooch.
Lesson #3 - Volunteering is worth doing
I’m very proud of my pooch for being a Pet Blood Donor (www.petbloodbankuk.org) and a Pets As Therapy (www.petsastherapy.org) volunteer until he retired. As his fellow volunteer, I also found it very rewarding. To find out ways to volunteer, visit https://do-it.org/opportunities/search
Lesson #4 - Do a little bit every day
We build a bit of training into every day (on a walk, or in the house). It’s nowhere near as much training as we did when he was younger, but he still remembers most of it so that suits us both. From this, I’m learning to break big stuff down into little steps, and just do the thing that’s in front of you. It can be overwhelming to focus on the big thing that you want to achieve, and much easier to just take the a little step every day.
Lesson #5 - It's good to stop and look around you
Often we’ll be out and my dog will be busy checking out a hedge or piece of grass. I could hurry him along, but I’ve learnt to take a moment to look around me. Notice the first signs of spring, watch the bird of prey or airplane overhead, listen to the sounds around me. I guess this is a form of mindfulness, but it seems easier to me. As a result, I’m learning to take a break from work more often - which doesn't come so naturally, but I'll keep working on it (see lesson 4 above...).
I look forward to hearing about the lessons that your animals have shown you!
Have a great day :)