I am a reflector on life. I re-play, re-imagine and over think, much to the annoyance of Husband. However, positivity is something I strive towards. Don’t get me wrong it’s not always easy but I have come to count my blessings every day. Currently that is the breeze that has appeared in our back garden but I have thanked the universe recently for my friends, family, future family and adversaries.
Feet in paddling pool and fake G&T (lemonade and line) in hand, I came to consider the importance of my four-legged friend to our lives. Daisy came into our world four years ago. Both dog-lovers, Husband and I took a trip to Cheshire Dogs Home, after I had made the decision that I would be working from home from that point forwards and so could welcome and care for our new addition.
Tiny and timid in her kennel, this pretty Border Collie peered at us as we crouched to say hello and a couple of visits later we were bringing this little bundle of energy home with us. We have done our best to be good parents in providing Daisy with her forever home but it’s not a one way street – what have we learned from our four-legged family member?
#1 Keep Active
On the most stressful of deadline days, the sound of Daisy’s feet on the stairs and a persistent nose in my lap have rescued my mental state as I was reminded not only of her walk schedule but taking a break of my own.
I have Apps to tell me to breathe, to move and to step away from the screen but its not quite the same. A walk in the park, whatever the weather, makes us both happier. It’s all to do with endorphins apparently. Whatever the science, it works, making me happier and fitter (well slightly!)
A long trek in the Lakes has a similar longer-lasting effect and typically includes getting dirty. Another lesson, perhaps from my friend, that you don’t always have to have perfect hair, well that you don’t have to be perfect all of the time.
#2 Show your love for the ones you love
Coming home from even the shortest trip to The Deli, is a momentous occasion for Daisy. As soon as she hears the key in the lock, there’s the tippy-tap of paws on wood as she rushes to greet me, with wags which course her whole body.
So I started greeting Husband and Friends the same way. A hug and a kiss at the door. A show of appreciation and love which can sometimes be taken for granted.
I do have to state, however, that, given I am the walker and the feeder for Daisy, Husband is the favourite as his welcome home showcases. Something, quite possibly I will have to get used to when Squirt arrives…
#3 Be loyal
I have always been fiercely loyal to my friends, as my nursery teacher happily told the story, at my 21st, of sorting out the school bully who had stolen my best friend’s Kevin the Kitten books – can you still get them? Must add it to my to-do list. I digress. Whether I have learned this from my four-legged friends growing up or something intrinsic in me, it is worth remembering.
Daisy is fiercely loyal, even though I may have just told her off for creeping onto the sofa, she will defend me against the postman or whomever deems it their place to ring the doorbell.
When our friends need a shoulder to cry on, we should be that shoulder. When they need a rant, we listen and we listen whether it is complete codswallop (don’t you love that word?) or rant-worthy. And when they are not able to defend themselves, we come to their defense.
#4 Accept compliments
Daisy loves a good stroke accompanied by a ‘good girl’ or ‘aren’t you beautiful?’ She accepts them with her usual grace and wag and has been known to pander to her praisers.
Unlike her owner here, who shrinks away from compliments, often uncomfortable and responding with a deflecting quip. I am working on this and Husband has noticed improvement (B+ is the current grade, apparently) but why not acknowledge the praise and accept it? If you’ve done something well, you should own it, be thankful that others have noticed and place it in your little box of self-esteem for future reference
#5 Live in the Present Tense
The very way that a dog is wired means that they don’t dwell on the past and aren’t worrying about the future. Yes, Daisy will remember where the treats are kept, people who are friends and any word beginning with w and remotely sounding like talk.
But on the whole her life is about doing things that make her happy; afternoon sleeps, chasing the hosepipe, eating, balls and barking at cats. If something makes you happy, enjoy it. Don’t overthink it. Be you and live in the moment.
What has your dog taught you?