The Crazy Ways That Dogs Teach Us About Love And Life
I remember feeling rather detached when the ex decided he wanted a dog. My nan had dogs, and I’d always adored hers, so much so I would often beg to stay when mum and I went for a visit. This, however, was different. He kept showing me pictures of dogs that he had evaluated according to a set of rules in his head. I confess to not knowing what these were except it must not moult. Finally, it was settled it would be a Hungarian Vizsla.
Driving four hours to the rescue place, a one-hour turnaround and four hours back, I marvelled at how calm this dog was. He lay quietly on the back seat, I guess, not knowing his fate, merely another journey with some strange humans. He had some behavioural problems and after a psychological assessment, it was declared that he should be rehomed. Knowing nothing about dogs, that meant not a jot.
Back home, him indoors was uber excited and went out to buy some rather gorgeous things for the boy. Ferdy none too impressed with being left at the other end of the lounge decided to shred his expensive bed. That first night he was put into a basket by the front door of a three-storey house and proceeded to howl and yes damage the wall. I think I felt bemused and not sure what to do, other than observe, as a bystander might.
Love and Life lesson #1 – look at yourself first
The next day, I was left alone with Ferdy dog. This was when I received the first of my lessons. He was discovered in the hall with the contents of the bin spread all over. Not thinking I put my hand down to grab the stuff and found a large set of teeth around my face. Quite unperturbed, I stopped, managed my energy and contemplated the event.
In a fraction of a second, the jaws left my face as quickly as they had arrived. In those moments, I realised that this was my fault. I had not thought about how to relate to him, what distress he might be in and that I had caught him off guard. Calmly I collected the rubbish while having a quick chat with him. Yes, I know he had no idea what I was saying, but I felt we had reached an understanding.
He taught me that despite all of my skills, I needed to consider the part I played when interacting with others. To notice how my behaviour affects others.
Love and Life lesson #2 – Love changes everything
Two nights later, Ferdy dog was still giving his beautiful bed in the lounge a good tearing. As I looked at him, I knew that all he wanted was to be a part of our family. I dragged his bed over to us and declared that ‘he’ could do the discipline, and I would do the love. I fell in love. All dogs lovers know that huge heart swelling love connection, and now I did. I was smitten. He taught me to love unconditionally and that in giving and receiving pure love, everything changes and nothing else matters.
Love and Life lesson #3 – Enjoy the moment
A nearby field where I took Ferdy for walks turned into a muddy bog when it rained. He loved nothing more that to charge through it, covering his chestnut pelt in the wet sludgy mud. I adored the way that he had no cares or worries, he just galloped. He was free and liberated.
This was great fun to watch, but the best fun came when he arrived home to the beige house (beige husband, beige house). Yes, I know its wrong to laugh, but what’s the point of being with a dog if he can’t lose himself in delightful moments? And frankly what’s the point of a beige house? I often tittered , even as I cleaned the mess up.
He taught me to enjoy the moment and to make time to play every day.
Love and Life lesson # 4 – Everything is possible
Several years down the line, Ferdy was joined by Marley Moo, a timid beauty sporting an unusual coat of black and grey. Ferdy dog was naffed off, to say the least, and I found myself picking Marley up on many occasions and cuddling her better after his attacks. She was frightened. In return for sanctuary in my safe arms, she gave me the most incredible love and licks – I fell head over heels in love with her again.
Fast forward to 2015, I’d left ‘him indoors’ after discovering his double life and was enjoying my new life with my two babies when I found an abandoned puppy. Thinking that a charity would take her, I fetched her home.
I tried to not get attached as I searched for a home. Ferdy dog did the same thing as he had done to Marley and attacked her, and I found myself with her in my arms many times. In those moments of cuddling her, I became fond of her. There wasn’t that instant love connection that I felt with the other two. Possibly because I was convinced she would be leaving soon.
Angel didn’t leave. Of course, she didn’t. Because each time I looked into her eyes, I knew she was here to stay. She has become the most adorable, sweet, funny and engaging dog you could wish for. Shame about the things she ate in the early days, but hey what’s a pair of jeans between friends?
I struggled with the dynamics. I resorted to getting in a dog trainer to help me to learn how to cope and live in harmony with three dogs.
They taught me that anything is possible if you are prepared to try.
Love and life lesson #5 – take time out
There is only me and my pooches. I work hard and have been guilty of being a workaholic. All three dogs Ferdy Dog, Marley Moo and Angel have instilled in me the discipline of taking time out, even when I have a piece of writing, I just have to finish. They let me know in no uncertain terms that it is time for a walk.
Through them, I have learnt that time out for reflection during the day is an absolute must. We all need to recharge our batteries, don’t we?
Love and life lesson #6 – stop before you are forced to stop
In previous years, I have run myself into the ground working and trying to sort out my headspace, home and life following the end of a dreadful relationship.
When I discovered Angel, I had been slowing down. Clearly, the cosmos thought otherwise and with this tiny terror in my life, I was brought to my knees. I called her Angel because I knew that she was a messenger.
We’d arrived home one day and I’d wound their leads around my wrists. Don’t ask why. Then Angel – just a puppy, spotted a cat, all three dogs ran and I went flying through the air. Well and truly stopped. Ouch, those bruised ribs, knees and head hurt…
They all taught me that the world doesn’t stop because you take time out. What is important is to stop. In the stopping, you will find opportunities.
Love and life lesson #7 – the past does not exist
Every day, we walk a similar pathway. For them, it’s a whole new experience with new smells and things to investigate. Yesterday doesn’t appear to exist. It’s all fresh, new and exciting.
I have no way of knowing if Ferdy and Marley miss their old life. or if Marley remembers why she was so fearful. As for Angel, who knows who let her go, she has settled in and is a part of the family. It’s as if it has always been this way.
They have taught me that the past is not a place to dwell. That having the freedom to enjoy today and this moment is the best feeling ever.
Love and life lesson #8 – accept who you are
I never had children, and now I find myself with three furry children by three different fathers. Each is different and each I feel is comfortable with who he or she is. I’ve yet to catch them in the mirror asking if their bum looks big in this?
They have taught me to love and accept myself.
There are many more love and life lessons, the truth is they have become my life and every day they remind me how wonderful life and to feel loved is.
Animals change your life and perspective. You do not own them; they are furry bundles of love here to guide and support without judgement your journey through life. The least we can do is to show our furry companions the same respect and big love back.
If you are thinking of a dog, please rescue. Take the time out to understand how to share your life with them. Make room in your heart and life for the biggest love bomb ever.
Your life will change forever.
101 days of being me
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