Maya Rodgers is the proud owner of Mindy, the charismatic 13-year-old yellow lab featured above, who’s just as energetic and puppy-ish as when she first joined the family. During the day, Maya works as a pest control consultant for Terminix, in the evenings, she tries to keep her family out of trouble, and in her limited free time, she blogs at www.petsandpests.com.
There are many of us whose family consists of more than just humans. Whether we’re cat enthusiasts or dog lovers, our four-legged family members drive us crazy and love us unconditionally. Sure, they might drag in the occasional bout of fleas, but they really give us so much more. I’ve lived with both cats and dogs, and I’m thinking about adopting another Fido into our family, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the benefits of our furry friends. After all, they’ve taught me a lot about life!
- Wake Up in the Morning: As puppies, dogs require a lot of attention and patience, just like human babies require of their parents. No matter the time of
day, a puppy parent has to be prepared to hurry their dog outside to go to the bathroom. But as they age, dogs calm down and learn to stick to a schedule – just like we do. That being said, no matter how old they are, a morning trip outside is a must. Though I’m not a natural morning person, my first dog taught me a lot about how useful, productive, and beautiful the mornings can be. Plus, he brought me discipline – ensuring I got up and took care of him whether it was a weekday, weekend, or holiday.
- Know What’s Important: It’s easy to get bogged down in the little things. Like the red light we’re caught at when we’re late for work. Or how many dishes are in the sink. Or how our children are being preposterously stubborn, again. But when my dog looks at me and lets out a little whine, reminding me it’s time for her evening walk in the park nearby, it’s a required break from whatever I’m working on. (Yes, she has trained me well.) In the park, we can go on a mini-hike, romp with some other dogs, and meet many dog-friendly human pals. Our walks always remind me to take a deep breath of air and relax and not get worked up by whatever comes my way. After all, if the light’s red, there’s nothing to do but wait it out.
- Set a Strong Example: Dogs are pack-driven, social animals that demand guidance and respect. Their loyalty is the direct result of a strong and ever-present pet-parent who projects, as Cesar Millan says, “Calm, assertive energy”. My dogs have taught me how to set an example as a leader, not only for them, but also for my children, and even in the workplace. A dog will do almost anything for its person, and being able to inspire some of that confidence and loyalty at home and at work has been very important for me.
- A Little Love Goes a Long Way: The bond between a person and their dog is very, very strong. Although not (in my experience) quite as strong as the familial ties, there’s something indescribably wonderful about coming home after a long day of work, or chauffeuring the kids, and having my dog pad up to me, furiously wagging her tail and smiling, asking for a few pets. I reach out, rubbing my fingers through her fur, scratching the back of her neck as she presses against my hand.
There is little that is more gratifying than knowing that you can always count on your dog. Their love seems endless, and my dogs have taught me so much about living life and being myself. If you’re living life with a furry comrade, I hope you give them a little extra love after reading this, and if you don’t have a special fuzzy someone but are thinking about adopting, go check out your local pet rescue – at least in my experience, they’ve got lots of kittens and puppies (along with their older, calmer counterparts) who are just waiting for you to bring them home.