Yesterday was National Dog Day. Lots of people made a fuss about it and posted pictures of their favorite Fido or fluffy online. Debates were had about what breed of dog is the best. The consensus was: whatever the person’s favorite particular breed was, followed closely by pretty much any other dog breed. Just had to be a dog.
I was never a dog person. I preferred the magical, intricate relationships I found with horses, or the quiet pleasure of having a cat take a nap in my lap. What I didn’t realize, though, was the absolute genius of a dog. Dogs see people clearly. They have nothing but sheer abandon in their enthusiasm for their favorite people. They tend to instinctively shy away from people who are mean. They protect the weak or the small. And they aren’t afraid to get excited about life’s smallest joys (a walk, breakfast, a special snack, a new toy).
We can learn from this.
Dogs see our best selves. They invite us to indulge in our best selves every day. What would it be like if we were more like the people our dogs see? I bet we would more enthusiastically greet our loved ones. Instead of some shrug and an offbeat “hi” when someone comes in, we would go over to the person, give them a hug and make eye contact. Really check in. I bet we would be outside more often. You know how your dog pretty much always wants a walk? Well our bodies actually pretty much always can benefit from one. Getting outside, being in fresh air, soaking in sunshine and slowing down your pace to notice the flowers are all incredibly soothing behaviors to a human. We could use more soothers like this. I bet, if we were being more like the kind of people our dogs see us as, we would feel more confident in our worth. Just for being alive. I bet we would also be a little kinder, and more relaxed. Dogs, after all, know how to snooze on a couch once they are tired. They especially like it when we snooze with them. Dogs provide us with an invitation to connect with the moment. Let’s take them up on the invitation.