Little Hoshi, all of ten, had been pestering his mother for years to bring home a dog. That was until last week when he was viciously attacked by a friend’s dog, leaving him not only with physical but psychological scars too. When his mother contacted me, Hoshi was having nightmares, trouble at school and couldn’t walk down a street without looking over his shoulder in case dogs were chasing him!
When he came over to meet my Labrador, Maya, he couldn’t bear the sight of her and immediately asked for her to be put in another room. A few minutes later, I convinced him to meet her. And then I moved out of the picture and Maya took over, as she pushed her favourite ball into his lap. He smiled. She wagged her tail. And then there was magic! They played fetch, he brushed her, he spoke non-stop and she took in every word patiently. He asked for her paw a hundred times and she obliged every single time. His healing is not yet complete, but Maya has started the process well.
Research shows that children who have been through traumatising events tend to be more trusting of canines and heal faster, just like Arjun did, when dogs are around. Anyone who shares their home and heart with a dog knows the magic they bring into our lives. Dogs teach us so much about ourselves and help make us better people. They are probably the best teachers we will ever have. And they don’t just give us unconditional love and loyalty, they also teach us how to life to the fullest. Here are some lessons we can learn from our pet-angels:
Trust Your Inner Voice: Dogs live by their instincts. They make friends and stay away from people who they are not comfortable with by listening to their own inner voice and not to anyone else. Now, that doesn’t mean you say, “Aha, I just knew Mrs. Katpitia practises black magic because my inner voice says so.” But when your heart tells you to bring home that little stray dog on the street, do listen to it.
Don’t Hold Grudges: Have you noticed that you can shout at your dog when you leave home, but when you return, he will be waiting for you at the door with a wagging tail? Dogs just don’t hold a grudge. And so, maybe it’s time you forgave your neighbour for routinely blocking your car parking space with his dilapidated scooter! Instead of trying to trip him the next time you see him, how about giving him some Shrewsbury biscuits? For all you know, it may thaw the ice between you. Or he may just think you have lost your marbles. But it’s worth a try!
Live In The Present: We are too obsessed worrying about what we could have done differently in the past or what the future (PT’s horoscope says next week my enemies will be coming for me so I must be vigilant) holds for us, than trying to live a happy life in the present! Dogs, however, only live in the present. My dog Maya lives every moment of the day for what it is, rather than what it could be or what it should have been. So eat that piece of cake, without worrying about the weight you will gain tomorrow, dance in the rain without thinking of getting ill the next day and go for that holiday you have been postponing for the past ten years! Live your life in the now and live it freely!
All Work And No Play: Makes Jehangir a dull boy! We all know the benefits of play but we never make time for it. How many times during a work day do you take a break to rest your mind? If you work from home, like I do, you will quickly realise how your dog frequently insists on making you take a break by bringing her toy to you. That forces me to put down my work and go out with her into the garden. You don’t have to have a dog in your office to play. Go for a walk, read a book or listen to music in between tasks. And watch how you return to your work – recharged and with a clearer mind! So the next time your boss insists you work harder, tell him you’re taking a break to chase a few butterflies. Hopefully, he will have read this article too and won’t fire you!
Persistence Pays: Oh yes, it does! Every dog that begs for treats at the table knows that. They know that if they sit long enough with their cute, sad faces, they will eventually get the goodies! So if you want a raise at work the next time, keep asking, nicely and be patient and for all you know, you may just get one.
So as you can see, there is a lot we can learn from our pooches! All we need to do is keep an open mind, stay positive and be willing to learn!