This week one of my clients told me about the new dog she adopted. I was concerned for a few reasons. First, finances are tight right now and a dog can cost of family a thousand dollars or more a year. Plus my client is trying to release stress versus adding more responsibilities to her life. As her family is more than happy to let her take care of things, I was afraid that she would not receive the support of the entire family to care for their new member. In talking to her something different was revealed. Her morning walks with the dog not only help her de-stress but are also improving her health. Her family is responding positively sharing the care, feeding, and exercise for their new little friend bringing them all together in a way not experienced before. And most importantly, the burst of unconditional love from their furry little buddy is making huge changes in their joy, happiness, and sense of self love.
Seeing their joy and the amazing change to their interrelationship, I started hitting the dog adoption sites. It was amazing how just looking at pictures of these cute little doggies opened my heart and brought a smile to my face. My heart would go out to them as I read the stories about how these little guys landed in shelters. I would giggle at the names, the crazy looks of mixed breed mutts, and the description of their playfulness. My husband enjoyed looking at playful Lively the Terrier/Whippet mix and the goofy looking Beagle/Labrador dog mixes. And he also had his carefully prepared list of the reasons a dog is not a great idea for us right now. I heard the logic, but also craved the joy these little guys exuded.
Instead of adopting a dog, I decided to become one. Why should dogs have the market on unconditional love and joy? So now when my husband comes home from work or just returns from a different room, I run up to him like a devoted puppy wagging her tail saying, “You’re back, you’re back, so glad you are back.” It is amazing how it not only brings a smile to his face (probably because he thinks I am crazy) but it also fills me with incredible joy. Try it yourself. When you see your family member or friend for the first time, instead of murmuring, “Hey,” between texts or emails, stop, jump up, and greet them with the love you feel for them. Breaking out of our isolation and greeting others with pure love and joy is amazing for the recipient and the “dog” as well. If you don’t want to be the dog, treat others like a furry buddy. When you see a loved one down or stressed, rub their belly or behind their ears and tell them, “Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good boy? Yes, you’re a good boy.” You might feel silly but I bet you’ll get a smile and a chuckle from your tense friend while your own heart warms.
Try bringing unrestrained joy and unconditional doggie love into your own life and relationships. If you want a little help getting there, check out www.petfinder.com and see if there is a new family member in your future.