It's the oldest story in the book...you beg your parents every day for your entire childhood to buy you a dog-- and then they do. They tell you that you're finally ready to have a real pet, and you're ecstatic. You thank your Tamagotchi for preparing you for the real world and start searching for a puppy.
However, taking care of a dog isn't the easiest job in the world. They require patience (a lot of it), your time, money, and come with a lot of responsibilities. Although having a dog is a lot of work, the reward is far more valuable than I could ever put a price on. My dog has helped me go through my awkward middle school, dramatic high school and transitional college days, and I've learned more from him than I could ever learn on my own.
Lessons I learned from my dog:
How to show unconditional love
A dog doesn't have to be taught how to love. They greet you every morning with a kiss, wait patiently for your arrival at the end of a long day and want to be with you every moment in between. They don't know if you had a bad day. They don't know that you failed your test or had a fight with your best friend. Their duty is to love you and make you happy despite the things that bring you down. The world is full of negativity and hate. If we learn how to be more loving and project it onto others even if they don't want it, we would lead much more fulfilling lives. There are days when it's hard to get out of bed. There are days when you don't want to talk to people, or be happy for them when you aren't happy with/for yourself. It is so easy to dwell on what's making us unhappy. However, if we start exercising the action of showing someone a little compassion or love, it can go a long way.
Every time I walk my dog, he darts from place to place and pulls me in every direction. I often get annoyed that he constantly wants to run off into the street. I always think, "Why won't you just stay next to me on the sidewalk?" Then I realized, he had the right idea all along. We all have a comfort zone and boundaries. It can be scary to travel through uncharted waters or deviate from our paths. But why do we have so many inhibitions? Why should we be afraid to step out of our routines and explore? We should always be asking questions and pushing boundaries. How will we ever advance in life if we do not move forward? So I encourage you to step off the sidewalk and wander off-- see where it can take you.
Have you ever stepped on your dogs paw by accident? Worst. Feeling. Ever. However, by the time you reach down to pet them and tell them you're sorry, they seem to be completely over what had just happened and are excited that you're giving them attention. Next time someone steps on your toes, or even worse, breaks or violates your trust or causes you pain--forgive them. Time is such a valuable thing in life and we should not be spending it holding a grudge over that guy in college who's name you won't even remember in 10 years. Put your grudge into perspective. Is the anger you're bottling up worth the energy? Can you change the outcome? Are you causing more harm by holding onto it? Is the person you're mad at valuable to you? Let it go.
You're welcome for not including a "Frozen" gif.
Has your dog ever stabbed you in the back? My dog hasn't either. Dogs have always been known for being loyal. When they run away or get a taste of freedom, they always come back. Also, you don't have to worry about your dog snitching on you when you steal your brothers last piece of cake. They always have your back. They stand by your side no matter what. If you're sad, they're the first ones to cuddle up on the couch with you. Justin from seventh grade math class didn't like you back? It's probably because you had braces and wore 7 layered tank tops. But, it was all okay because your dog loved you no matter what you looked like.
How to appreciate the little things.
Every day when you come home, your dog is simply happy to be in your presence. He is never too tired or too stressed to play. They will continuously show you excitement and be willing to do whatever, whenever. They eat the same food every day, and get so excited every. single. time. Their tail wags as soon as you take them outside for a walk, and they're just as happy when you're cuddled up on the couch. It's important to remember to enjoy the simpler things in life (as cliche as it sounds). Sometimes taking the time to absorb your immediate surroundings is better than regretting that you didn't live in the moment.
Life is short.
Let's face it, life is short, and nothing lasts forever. A dog spends their entire life loving us, admiring us and pleasing us. We should all take advantage of the time we're given and start making better use of it. Don't sweat the small stuff. Forgive someone for hurting your feelings, pay someone a compliment, and show someone that you love them.