Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something either from my own pets or ones I am training. Either I learn a new way to solve a problem behavior, a new way to tweak my own training programs, or even sometimes I am lucky enough to walk away with a life lesson. A life lesson is a nugget of dog wisdom that I get to keep treasured in my heart forever.
When I was in my early 20’s I owned a pet shop. What a lucky girl I was to be living my dream at such an early age. I LOVED it. Some parts were very stressful, while others a pure joy. What I do remember fondly is driving to work every day thinking about how much I enjoyed what I did.
Unfortunately, I was working so many hours during that time of my life that I barely had time to sleep or anything other than work. I may have on average gotten about four hours of sleep a night (crazy girl!).
The reason I was thinking back on this time was one night in particular that I learned from dog wisdom.
It was late. I dragged myself from the garage to the backdoor of the house. As I walked in to the door my dogs were excited to see me. Okay, they were going nuts. When I walked in to my house, my mind was already focused on the next set of 20 things to do on my list. I walked straight in and inspite of the greeting I just patted everyone on the head and continued working my way through the house. Out of my four dogs, I “heard” my dog Morgan say, “Look at me.” I patted her quickly on the head again and quickly went to move through the kitchen. Very forceful she said, “No! Stop and look at me!” (Let me also insert that I don’t normally “hear” dogs, but Morgan and I always had a heart to heart connection where I could almost “hear” her thoughts at times.) I didn’t dare budge. I looked down at my beautiful dog and we connected our eyes.
At that point, I stopped everything and sat down with her and realized in that moment, that I hadn’t given my dogs what they deserved from me. I had been so busy that I was “with” my dogs without really being “with” my dogs. I was focused on to-do’s, tasks that would come and go, but that moment with my dogs would never be had again. There will always be something to do, but that moment will not always be.
Although, not perfect, I learned a lot in that moment with Morgan. From that moment on, when I sit down to have coffee with a friend I stop and look at them. I am not on my phone, thinking about something other than my friend. When I sit with my kids, I clear that moment for them. Always take time to enjoy those moments and learn from Morgan as did I: “No, really, stop and look at me.”