Dogs are truly amazing creatures. They love with all they have, and they aren’t capable of anything less. Dogs do not become jaded. Dogs don’t play mind games. Dogs may go through unspeakable cruelty and yet still have the ability to love and trust again.
That’s why we can learn a whole lot about love from dogs. The last week of September is known as National Dog Week, and it’s the perfect time to reflect on some of the life lessons our dogs teach us. When it comes to loving yourself, your family and a partner or spouse, your dog knows all. Here’s are eight lessons you can learn from your canine companion about L-O-V-E.
1. Don’t hold grudges.
You probably haven’t always been the perfect pet owner. Maybe you forgot to feed Fido once. Maybe your morning walks sometimes aren’t as long as you’d like them to be because you’re running late for work. Hey, it happens. But does your dog remember any of those moments? Nope. Dogs forgive, and they do it within the span of a second. So if you’re currently holding onto any grudge against a coworker, family member or significant other — just let it go. You’ll be a lot happier if you do.
2. Giving is not about receiving.
Your dog doesn’t give you a million kisses or greet you with a wildly wagging tail because of what they’ll get in return (even when they’re hungry). They show their love for you just because they want to. You are their top priority. You are their person. Imagine if we loved other people the way our dogs love us — with that unwavering selflessness.
3. Snuggling is the solution to every problem.
Stressed? Sad? Scared? Your dog handles these emotions by cuddling up to you and sleeping it all away. And it clearly works because they wake up ready to conquer the world. You should give it try.
4. It’s the little things that make a world of difference.
You’re crying during an episode of “Parenthood”— even though it’s just a TV show — and your dog licks the tears away. You mutter to yourself that you can’t find your other shoe and your dog, seemingly understanding your predicament, brings it to you. It’s those simple yet astounding gestures that we need to pay attention to in life. When someone (family, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend) does something small and unbelievably kind, let them know how much it means to you.
5. Learn to embrace and accept your flaws.
Do you think your dog cares about that pimple on your chin? Or your room-clearing bad breath in the morning? Absolutely not. They love you for you, and that’ll never change. You should really love yourself the same way.
6. When meeting new people, go with your gut.
Dogs have an instinct when it comes to new people. There are just some people that give off a shady vibe, and despite how loving dogs can be, they don’t keep this feeling hidden. So if you meet someone new (a date or coworker) and you can’t shake the unsettling feeling inside — listen to it.
7. Trust can be lost, but it doesn’t mean it’s gone forever.
The only way to truly love another is to place your full trust in them. Dogs will trust until something truly terrible happens, like abuse or neglect, but it doesn’t mean they’ll never trust and love again. So even if you’ve been wronged by someone or suffered through a really bad breakup, don’t give up on love. If dogs can learn to trust again, so can you.
8. Love with all you’ve got.
Dogs don’t hold back. They love fully and unconditionally. Maybe it’s because they don’t live as long as humans do and know their time on Earth is limited. Whatever the reason, dogs embrace life and love with every breath they take. Remember that.