About 6 months after my wife and I got married we decided to take the next step in our relationship…we bought a dog. Raising a puppy can be pretty exhausting, and I’ll be the first to say we had no clue what we were doing, or what we were getting ourselves into.
Between getting woken up all hours of the night and trying to keep a dog from going to the bathroom in the house, we had buyers remorse for a good two to three months after we brought Lilly, our chocolate lab, home. Despite our struggles and challenges of raising a puppy, we got through it and getting our Lilly was one of the best decisions we ever made.
Lilly is a great dog and we are so thankful to have her. Sure, she might just be a dog, but there are 5 life lessons she has taught me over the years. Here they are…
1. Material Objects Aren’t Important…Enjoy the Little Things
I hate to admit it, but Lilly is a pretty spoiled dog. Have you ever heard of BarkBox? If not, it’s a pretty neat service that sends your dog a box with treats and a couple different toys in it once every month. Lilly enjoys the treats and new toys that she gets, but she’s just as happy with the 25 cent used tennis ball I got her at Play It Again Sports. In fact, she would be happy with just about anything…even a stick. Clearly having the newest and coolest dog toy doesn’t matter to her.
2. Forgive and Don’t Hold Any Grudges
One thing that amazes me about Lilly, is her ability to forgive us. Sure, I make mistakes as a dog Dad. I’ve let her outside when it was raining and forgot about her (It was for 10 minutes), I yelled at her and scolded her when she didn’t deserve it (except for the time she chewed on my sunglasses…she deserved it. No more Maui Jim’s for this guy), and I’ve forgotten to feed her dinner a few times (I fed her a few hours late both times).
Despite my errors and mistakes she always forgives me and loves me seconds later. She doesn’t hold a grudge and understands that I’m just a forgetful human.
3. Wake Up Excited Every Day
Some days I have a difficult time getting going in the morning, but Lilly is always ready for the day. Every morning she wakes up excited, happy, and ready to go. She can’t wait to get up and start the day, and I love that about her. To her, every day is just as exciting as the last.
Even if she’s waking up at 5:30 A.M. she’s happy to be alive and happy to see us. We should all wake up excited and happy to be alive, just like Lilly.
4. Love Unconditionally
It doesn’t matter what kind of mood Tara and I are in, or if we hurt Lilly’s feelings earlier in the day, Lilly loves us unconditionally all the time (except for when Tara vacuums…she doesn’t love Tara then).
There’s no greater feeling than coming home to a happy dog that is excited to see the people she loves with all her heart. She doesn’t care about our flaws, imperfections, or mistakes. She doesn’t judge us, she accepts us and loves us unconditionally for who we are, imperfections and all.
5. Never Give Up
This might be the most important life lesson I have learned from our lovable lab. Lilly is an avid squirrel and rabbit hunter. She’s been enjoying this hobby of hers for almost as long as she’s been alive. Every morning she runs out the back door and gives chase to one of the squirrels or rabbits that frequent our back yard.
Do you want to know how many squirrels and rabbits she’s caught so far? Zero.
That’s right, she hasn’t caught a single one yet. A few times she has surprised a few unsuspecting squirrels and rabbits, but she has never even come close to catching one.
Does that matter to her? Absolutely not.
She stills runs after them full speed (which is really slow I might add). Bottom line, she never stops giving chase…she never gives up.
These are just a few life lessons I’ve learned from my chocolate lab, Lilly. We are so thankful and blessed to have her in our lives. What are some lessons you have learned from your pets?