Life Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog

I wanted to write this post for a long time now. I thought it could wait until a big milestone (our 1 year six-month mark of owning a dog) but I saw this photo of a dog that survived along with its owners in a storm shelter during the tornado in Oklahoma. This post may seem trivial in comparison, but loss comes in many shapes and sizes; please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.

Photo via Instagram from @todayshow, who reposted from @weatherchannel producer @mikejenkinstv

Photo via Instagram from @todayshow, who reposted from @weatherchannel producer @mikejenkinstv

In the past, I used to scoff at those bumper stickers that read, “Who rescued who?” but since we adopted Watson, I’ve changed my tune.

Having a dog is one of the best decisions the JA and I have made (besides marrying each other, of course). Here are a few of the lessons he’s taught us:

1. Be a good companion. I.hate.being.alone. Coming home to an empty house led to me sitting at the computer for hours on end, piddling around, working, and counting the seconds until the JA came through the door. When he did, either I was 1. super happy to see him and wanting to talk all about my day, or 2. upset that he was late and why can’t we make more time for each other?!

Not so good.

Watson has given me a reason to come home on time and like it. He gets me out of the house, and there’s no happier face than a dog who gets to be outside on a nice day.

W outside spring

2. Test the limits (but know when to give up). Between shredding the laundry room door, sneak pees, and eating my camera, these past few months have had more than enough “BOY, you are lucky you’re so cute” challenges. We like to say that he’s as high maintenance as we are – when he’s unhappy, he shows it. We’re getting better at learning his cues, but also controlling him more when necessary.

3. Shake it off. Sure, I cried a bit when I found my good camera cracked and in pieces around the living room. But the majority of the time, we have to accept the fact that what’s done is done. Picking up the pieces and moving on (while seeing Watson slink around because he knows we’re upset with him) is a trait that dog ownership has certainly strengthened.

How can you be so upset? Look at this face!

How can you be so upset? Look at this face!

4. Love like there’s no tomorrow. Now, I’m not knocking the JA here, but when we’ve both had a bad day, it’s sometimes hard to get out of that funk. Doggie don’t care. As long as we walk through that door, he will greet us with a wagging tail and a ‘let’s go play!’ look in his eyes. I never had a pet growing up, so Watson’s my first try at this whole thing. This little guy has brought so much joy into our lives that I can’t wait to watch him grow and adapt with us as an important part of our family.

W portrait

5. Everyone needs a good cuddle now and again. There’s nothing like a doggie cuddle. Or the ‘paws up because this is the best belly rub’ look. Or finding the secret spot that unleashes the highly sought out foot jiggle. Cuddling never hurt anyone, and most of the time it’s appreciated.

paws up

6. Bring snacks and always share. Watson is always down for a snack. His preferences are animal crackers and pretzels with peanut butter coming in a close third. Boy is like his momma – loves the carbs and gravitates toward them like a bee to honey.

W with pretzel

What life lessons have you learned from a pet?

Update: This video appeared this morning that show a woman who recovering her dog from the rubble in Oklahoma. I totally teared up, but wanted to pass it along. You’ve been warned.

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