You know that there are cat people and dog people, right? I’m not sure if this is really a statement about their personality so much as their preference for pet (or at least, that’s what I’ll claim to think. I deny saying otherwise). I am a dog person, although at the moment we have three cats. Whom I love dearly but am bothered by because they are so indifferent. And needy. But pretend to be otherwise, which is why it is probably so annoying. Dogs, on the other hand, have a lot to offer a family. Unconditional love, enthusiasm, need for exercise, peace-making ability, … the list really is endless. I think dogs have a myriad of lessons to offer to us in the realm of parenting. And living.
-Always act like you haven’t seen the person for ages: enthusiastic greetings make people feel loved. Missed. And they help people know their presence is important to at least one person/being.
-Greet everyone the same. It doesn’t matter if they are skinny or tall, bearded or bald, fat or pale; just say hi. A wagging tail and a doggy smile goes a long way toward making friends.
-It’s okay to stop and smell the roses. Take the time to enjoy life; everything is worth a good sniff.
-Patience is a virtue. Eventually someone will drop something worth eating.
-Children are the best because they are the right level to spot everything, and still have their eyes open to actually see. Children also give the best hugs. Additionally, children inevitably have some food left, somewhere on their person, so they are good for kisses, too.
-There’s no such thing as too many games of fetch. Games give you exercise, time with friends, and peace of mind. Stretching out after (mindlessly) running after a stick is the best feeling ever.
-It’s a good skill to be able to sense someone’s mood. Sometimes they just need a friend to listen and to sit with.
-Going for a walk is a great thing to do. You have opportunities to see now things, get new smells, see new people. And, same as playing fetch, it’s good exercise.
-Some of the best things in life are free: a good stick, a good scratch, running through puddles, and time with your friends.
Perhaps some lessons NOT to take to heart from the dog:
-Licking other people anywhere on their person as a greeting is just not socially acceptable
-Don’t eat smelly things. Or roll in them. Again, not very socially acceptable.
-Doggy breath is not a good thing. Brushing your teeth is a good way to rid yourself of it.
-Liver-flavored treats give liver-flavored breath. Maybe saving stinky treats for the privacy of your own home is a good idea.
-Watch where you’re sniffing.
-Bathing is not a form of punishment. And there is no need to go roll is something smelly (see above) right after a bath.