I’m convinced that pets were put here on this earth in all of their cute, fuzzy glory so that we bring them into our homes and they can teach us some very valuable lessons. Here are a few things that i’m learning..
1) The importance of loyalty & honesty. Growing up as an adolescent girl, it felt like you constantly had to have your guard up just to get by, needed to grow a thick skin so you weren’t hurt by all of the comments thrown your way by a ‘friend’ who you had confided in just earlier that day. I learned to never fully allow myself to trust other people, and if i’m being honest, sometimes I didn’t always act so trustworthy myself. You see, it seemed so foolish to be loyal to someone who I knew would just turn around and stab me in the back. It took me many years to realize that not everyone is like this. When you meet someone who seems like a true friend, someone you can trust with your darkest secrets, who you know will have your back even when you’re not around to witness it – you keep them. Relying on other people is not weak, being honest is not going to push the right people away, and it feels good to have security in your relationships. That’s why I have to smile whenever I walk in my door and my puppy is absolutely overjoyed to see me or when I catch her looking out the window waiting for my fiancé to come home. We always know we can count on her to be there… and that feels good.
2) One of my most embarrassing flaws is that I can have quite a temper. I’m learning, slowly, that I would be better served by using my words to ask for space if I need it, to gently say that I’m feeling hurt or defensive, or even to say that I don’t know what I want or need at the moment but maybe a hug would help. It sounds silly, perhaps, but it definitely gets things back on the right track when I remember to do so. None of our animals are shy about using their words when they want something – Venus & Juno are constantly meowing for attention or food and Izzy has recently learned that she can bark when she wants to go outside or come inside, wants us to get the ball out from under the couch.. the list goes on and on. But we are always happy to oblige when they communicate their needs in their adorable way.
3) Another thing i’m learning to do is take myself less seriously. I like to think that I have a great sense of humor, but I will admit that it only comes out with people who I trust and feel comfortable with. My especially-silly humor only tends to come out when i’m around family. I’m working on becoming less self-conscious and taking more chances around people, to not be afraid to make a mistake or say something dumb or just be a little goofy. I think that’s why pets are so amazing to be around – they aren’t afraid to make others laugh at their own expense. And what else could explain the popularity of cat videos? I just try to keep reminding myself: everyone loves to smile, so don’t be afraid to try and get one out of them. They will probably appreciate the attempt.
I can’t wait to see what other lessons my furry little teachers have in store for me.