Susie Csorsz Brown
Life lessons from the dog ... and the cat
As you well know, there exist Cat people and Dog people. I’m not sure if this is really a statement about personality so much as preference for pet (or at least, that’s what I’ll claim to think. I deny saying otherwise). I am a dog person, although most recently we’ve been owned by cats. I think that’s the proper way to word it, too, because while I do love them dearly, they do not behave as pet-like as would, say, a dog. I am bothered by their indifference. Cats have a level of neediness that is probably similar to a dog, but is displayed in such a holier-than-thou sort of a manner. Dogs, on the other hand, have a lot to offer to a family. Unconditional love, enthusiasm, unquestioned support, exercise buddy, peace-making ability, … the list really is endless. I think dogs have lessons to offer to us in the realm of parenting. And living.
Words of life advice from the dog:
Always act like you haven’t seen the person you are greeting for ages; enthusiastic greetings make people feel loved. Missed. Adored. And said enthusiasm helps people know that their presence is important to the nth degree to at least one person. This is also applicable when it actually is the first time you are meeting a person. One can never have too many friends.
Greet everyone the same. It doesn’t matter if they are skinny or tall, bearded or bald, fat or pale, male or female, religiously affiliated to anything; just say hi. A wagging tail and a doggy smile goes a long way toward making friends. And everyone deserves to be treated the same.
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. Children inevitably have some food left, too, somewhere on their person, so they are good for tasty kisses, too.
There’s no such thing as too many games of fetch. Games of fetch give you exercise, time with friends, and peace of mind. Fetch is best done outdoors, which is the preferred location, especially if the location is green and open. Fetch is also easy to learn; there is no need to be complicated.
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 new things, get new smells, see new people. And, same as playing fetch, it’s good exercise. And going for a walk is also an excellent opportunity to possibly run into other people, bringing us back to #1.
Some of the best things in life are free: a hardy 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 as a greeting is just not socially acceptable.
Don’t eat smelly things. Or roll in them. Again, not very socially acceptable.
Liver-flavored treats give liver-flavored breath. Keep in mind what you put in your mouth and how long it lingers.
Watch where you are sniffing. And licking.
Taking a bath is not a type of punishment. Additionally, there is no need to go roll in something smelly (see above) right after a bath.
I don’t want you to think I’m not learning things from the cat. They, too, can offer some valuable lessons.
Words of life advice from the cat:
What's mine is mine. What's yours is mine. What's theirs is mine. This is not so much greed as it is the understanding that all things can and perhaps should be shared.
Mine is the only opinion that matters. Hm, well, cats are, as a rule, unyielding in their determination. Lesson here is that sometimes it’s good to stick to what you believe in, but perhaps not to the point of cat-like mule-headedness.
I really don't care if you like me; here is where I want to be. Cats, as a rule, are dismissive and treat everyone same. They don’t NEED anyone. It’s important to know whose opinion does indeed matter… and, perhaps more importantly, whose does not.
Be picky about your treats. Only eat those that are of the finest quality. There is no need to eat something just because it is in front of you; selectivity is not such a bad thing especially if you are thinking about your waistline.
A nice sunny spot is a perfect place to curl up for a nap.
It’s a good idea to sit and observe before blindly rushing in.
It’s wise to get plenty of rest.
What NOT to learn from a cat:
Bathing in public not necessarily a good idea. There is a time and a place for everything.
Furniture is not a good place to give yourself a manicure. Ripping apart furniture with your nails is just not nice.
People are, actually, useful for more than just providing food and shelter. People are actually good for a lot of things. The dog can tell you all about how great they are!
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