Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Good Life

My dog, Thor lives a good life. In fact, I'm sure he has it better than many humans I know. I'm not sure how good his life was before we picked him up at the SPCA two years ago, but without question, he knows how to live well now. 

I think humans can learn a lot from animals. They seem to have the right idea about living well and maintaining a fairly peaceful and happy attitude about life. 

Here's some lessons I have learned from Thor:

  • If you want attention, let someone know. Don't take no for an answer. If they refuse to compliment you, rub you where it feels good, or at least smile, persist with being cute until they cave in and give you what you want.
  • Take naps. Your naps don't have to be long ones, but it is imperative you take frequent rests so you can have the energy to exercise later. 
  • Walk or run daily and enjoy being out in the fresh air. Sniff the air often too. You never know what wonderful scents may be in your vicinity. 
  • Be playful....even if you think you're too old. Remember there is always the spirit of a child (or puppy) within. Give your inner child the opportunity to be silly and playful. You can't help but giggle when you're playful. 
  • Just be you....without apology. Thor knows who he is and apparently has nothing to hide. Either you like him, or you don't. I think that's why he's so happy. He doesn't spend any time trying to act like a poodle or a Great Dane....He just enjoys being himself.
  • Stop eating when you're full. (This one needs no explanation)
  • Receive affection when it's offered. Thor loves to be loved. Sometimes people don't think they deserve it, which is really a shame, since it feels so good to be loved. 
  • Don't hold grudges. Forgive regularly. This is something Thor does well. If he gets upset with me for not throwing his toy, he doesn't hold it against me for days. He just tries again later and forgives me in the moment. He also seems to forgive himself if he happened to do something naughty like steal meat from the counter or get into the garbage. 
If I ever temporarily forget I am living a good life, I just look at Thor and remember that my experience of life depends on how I see it and how I see myself.