Friday, August 17, 2018

10 Lessons I've learned From My Dogs

     Many years ago after our dog and cat died within a year of one another, I didn't think I wanted anymore pets (other than the seven chinchillas, two hamsters, a flying squirrel, a guinea pig, two turtles and various fish that I already owned). Then one day I saw a photo of a pug on a local rescue website and I was hooked. We adopted Brewski right then and there, and he has been my special little guy for more than seven years. I fondly refer to him as "Diaper Boy," because---you guessed it----he wears doggy diapers and cannot be potty trained. Not many people would have patience for his habitual house peeing, but we do, which means he was sent to our home for a reason.

     We were so in love with Brewski that we decided he needed a female companion. Returning to the same online pug rescue site, we found our beautiful Savi girl. She has been with us for six years and is incredibly loving. She is also terribly spoiled, thus the nickname "Diva Princess." Savi needs to be on doggy chemo for the rest of her life due to some cancerous cells that had to be removed last year. She is doing great now, but again, I truly believe there was a reason she found her way to our home.


     After watching a gazillion videos on social media of pug puppies, I just knew I had to experience life while raising a puppy. We found our boy pug Yoda through a breeder in north Florida, and I was smitten the minute I looked into his mischievous brown eyes. He has been with us for 19 months now, and he is our wild child/fur baby. Yoda is full of energy and also sneaky as hell. He has earned his nickname "Stinkerpot," but that little guy makes me laugh and smile every single day.


     I've learned so much from my fur babies, who are a constant source of love and entertainment. Unlike teenagers, they don't care if their surroundings are inexpensive and they never talk back (if they did, we'd have a problem). Dogs don't care if they're not purebred or show quality because they don't waste time worrying about their looks. They're also willing to adapt to any environment as long as they're given lots of love.

     If you're a dog owner, pay attention. You just might learn something from your canine friend.

1. Get outside and enjoy the feel of the grass under your feet. We spend far too much time cooped up in our homes. The lure of social media is a mighty thing indeed, as is Netflix binging until we no longer remember what day it is. Go outside and get some fresh air.

2. Sleep....a lot. (This is my favorite lesson of all). Dogs are always well rested and HAPPY. If you're lucky enough to be able to grab a nap in the middle of the day, do it. Or sleep in late on the weekends. You're not being lazy; you're simply recharging your battery (at least that's what I tell people when they wake me up with a knock at the door and I answer them looking like a character from Dawn of the Dead).

3. Play catch and tug-of-war. After all that sleeping, the exercise will do your heart some good. This is especially helpful if you've been digging into the kibbles bag one too many times.

 4. Never leave your shit in anyone else's yard. In other words, don't dump your crap on other people. If you have a problem, learn to deal with it yourself and move on.

5. Wag your tail and lick your master's face when they get home. Well, I'm not sure your partner will appreciate having their face licked the minute they walk through the front door, but at least show them that they are loved and missed while they are gone.

6. Chew on things to calm yourself down. Take a deep breath and think about how your actions may affect others before you do something rash that you might later regret. I don't chew on rawhide bones to stay calm, but I do like to gnaw on pretzel sticks while I think things through. *I also chew on my fingernails, but this is not something I recommend since my cuticles look like small rodents have been gnawing on them.

7. Bark loudly to protect your family. Stand your ground and take care of your loved ones. Don't let anyone put you in danger, and be sure to ward off uninvited strangers (this includes the guy going door-to-door to pressure people into buying steaks out of a cooler in the back of his pickup truck).


8. Don't dwell on your mistakes. My dogs can leave a pile of poo on the living room floor and I'll yell at them like crazy. They'll hide the entire time I'm cleaning it up, but five minutes later, they're jumping up on my lap and giving me doggy kisses. They've already forgotten what they did wrong. I think it's time that I forget all the times I've purposely left the toilet paper roll empty in the hopes that my husband will actually change it one day.

9. Love unconditionally. Dogs don't hold a grudge and neither should you. They're compassionate, loyal, and dependable. They happily surrender to love, trusting you completely when they roll over on their backs for a belly rub. I tried doing that once with my husband, but he wanted more than just a belly rub. That's okay---I still love him unconditionally, even when he "mistakenly" eats the last slice of pepperoni pizza that I was saving for my lunch.

10. Do the things that make you happy. We spend so much of our life doing what we think is expected of us, and not what makes us smile. It doesn't have to be something grandiose or overly expensive. Joy can be found in the smallest things----reading a good book, catching up with an old friend, or watching a rain storm roll in. For me, it's sitting on my deck in the morning with a cup of coffee and watching the variety of birds that flock around my feeder. Well, that and watching the puppy chase off the stray cats that hang around the feeders.

     I've decided that my dogs are pretty smart, so with that in mind, I think I'll change the toilet paper roll and find someone's face to lick to let them know how much they're loved.


***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I was recently featured on Sammiches and Psych Meds/Mock Mom with my midlife hipster-wanna-behttps://www.sammichespsychmeds.com/how-to-be-a-hipster-in-your-midlife-years/
list. You can read it here:

22 comments:

  1. Dogs do seem to have their priorities in order! I have had a couple during my lifetime, and they fill a special spot full of love and joy (and expenses...) Love this list. Worth printing and posting on a wall to remember!

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    1. Awwwww thanks, Seana! Glad you liked it!

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  2. No matter how much anyone writes about the attributes of owning a dog there is always more to say. I love the way you compared a dog's life with how people should live their own lives. I get the whole patience thing with doggie diapers. One of our rescues is impossible to train as he lived his first 10 years in a little cage. He loves his freedom and doesn't understand you shouldn't pee wherever you are :)

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    1. My male pug was living on the streets in Miami for quite awhile before he was found---he was beyond the potty training age, so I put together these special diapers for him to wear. Like you, I love my fur babies so much and would do anything for them <3

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  3. Dogs. Are. Special!!!
    This is perfect, Marcia!

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  4. Adorable, gratuitous pug pics! I love it! So, I think I can guess who named Brewski! Live that name. 😁
    I think your list is spot on and I’m glad you didn’t include “sniff a stranger’s butt to get to know them”. 😁

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  5. I had a dog decades ago- long before I began to travel at the drop of a hat (ok, the call of a client). Dogs don't work with that lifestyle. But, I enjoy reading how others incorporate canine lives into theirs.

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    1. Yes, a lot of planning must go into dog care before leaving for a trip.

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  6. Wow, this is so true and so wonderful, Marcia. #4 resonates. It's been a while since I've had a pet :( but I do recall these habits and what we can learn. Thanks for the reminders. You really are a saint for taking in the little pugs that need extra care and attention.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa. Now that my kids are all grown and flown, the pugs are kind of like a new set of "children."

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  7. Such excellent advise! Your pugs are so adorable especially that little stinkerpot! Man we have had our share of canine companions in our 32 years of marriage and everyone of them have brought such love and devotion and fun to our family. We are now down to one, our Miniature Schnauzer Oskar who will be 14 this September. I'm not sure I want to start over with another dog after he's gone. But if I happen to smell puppy breath or see a cute lil face with big eyes, I'm sure I'll change my tune. We had a sweet mischievous Beagle who didn't let his handicap and poor health alter his happy go nature. I learned a lot from our Archie beagle. He's the reason I started blogging.

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    1. Thats' where Archie's name comes in---the blog? I wondered about that. How adorable. I cannot imagine my life without a dog in it.

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  8. Never would have thought of it in those terms but I love the perspective and, of course, you're right about all those lessons. Guess we should all pay more attention.

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    1. I can't take credit for it--my dogs basically "wrote" this post :)

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  9. Your fur babies don't need to "step it up" at all. They're perfect just as they are. (Not ALL dogs need to jump out of airplanes!)

    Yours, in fact, are very wise. Look at what all they've taught YOU. :)

    Super post.

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  10. This is a great list! It's wonderful that you took in a few rescues. I love our dog, Shakespeare. He's my little buddy. Moving to a new country and not knowing the language was lonely, until Shakes came into our lives. Dogs are great companions and are good for those suffering from depression. Thanks for this post.

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    1. My dogs always cheer me up when Ilm down. They seem to know when something is wrong and they become extra loving.

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  11. After just losing a dog I really, really love I realize I need more training. You've learned so much from your three pups....may I need a second dog.
    Love your writing style, Marcia!!

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    1. Thank you, Anne, I was so sorry to hear about your sweet baby---my heart breaks for you. Maybe when you are ready, another puppy might be a great option for healing.

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