1. It Is Not All About You
This is one of those things that I have been hearing since the beginning of time, and frankly my ears had dulled to it by the ripe old age of ten. But reality check – a lot of life, particularly college can be all about YOU. Not in the social sense, but in the sense of figuring out who you are, what you are passionate about, what relationships and people mean the most to you, and where you want to go next. That being said, having a living creature dependent on you for life (ahem, feed me) teaches a lot, at least for me. It isn’t all about me, and I quite like that.
2. Unconditional Love Can’t Be Taken For Granted
Think about all of the people that have unconditionally loved you in your lifetime. Parents. Friends. Boyfriends. Girlfriends. At some point we have all done shitty things to the people we love most. Sometimes we are lucky enough to be forgiven, but sometimes not. It sounds cliché but waking up at 4 am, stepping on a tail and being greeted with wags and excitement changed my perspective on unconditional love. They love you. All. The. Time. No matter what you did. It is a precious and beautiful thing to behold.
3. You Can/Will Always Find Happiness In A Tail Wag
Sometimes I find myself stressed out and wallowing in it – as I’m sure many of you have. But have you ever tried to wallow while looking at your dog? It is physically impossible. I have one foolproof reason for this – It is impossible to wallow while using your dog voice (and don’t pretend you don’t know what that means). Nothing cheers me up faster than a tail wag, because hey – who loves you baby?
4. Walking/Park Time Is The Best Time To Clear Your Head
Remember that line from Legally Blonde? “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” It’s kind of true. Exercise DOES make you happy. (Side note: hopefully murdering your husband isn’t on your radar… but if it is you should probably address that ASAP… but I digress.) Having a dog forces you out of the house and around the block or to the park at least twice a day, giving you time to get fresh air, sunshine and a minute to yourself. It’s the perfect time to clear your head, wind down from a long day, and start to relax. Treasure it.
5. Over Eating Is Bad For Everyone
A little anecdotal story for you… My pit bull Ruby is convinced that every meal is going to be the last one she ever eats. She chows down so hard and fast that sometimes she literally can’t get any air. She hacks and wheezes all the while still trying to stuff kibbles down her gullet…. It’s not pretty. Her first week with us she clawed and bit her food bag until it poured out in the kitchen while we were at the grocery store. She ate so much that her figure changed. Her stomach stuck out to the sides and she made little pained grunting noises when she walked. Luckily it only lasted a night (and then we wised up and hid the food), but it was a lesson learned for the whole family.
6. A Little Discipline Is Good For The Soul
In the midst of training dogs not to pee in the house, eat the fence, rip apart toys, and jump on the sofa with muddy feet I found self-discipline. I’m not saying that I don’t snooze the alarm, but I definitely do it less. I am up, feeding the puppies and getting their peanut butter stuffed Kong toys ready by 6:30 am every day.
7. Must Love Dogs
I always knew that I was a dog person. My dad used to joke with me that one day I would open the North Carolina Dog Zoo – and hey, it could still happen. As cheesy and it sounds you MUST love dogs to be my significant other. Sometimes our standards are impossible to meet, but that is one thing I am not willing to budge on.
8. Nothing Is As Humbling As Picking Up Poop
It isn’t sexy, but it’s true. If you ever need to be put in your place, or knocked down a peg, just head out to your backyard and survey the situation. Nothing can bring you back to earth like going through ten bags of dog poop in the morning. So there big shot – what can the rest of this day hold?