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How Dogs Can Teach Us To Stay Chill In This Insane World

Laurie Stone with her dog Libby

Photo: Laurie with Libby, who has taught her that dogs have less complicated lives.

By Laurie Stone

Don’t we all feel turmoil in the air? There’s too much happening, too fast. The planet seems scarier and more chaotic than ever. Yet, there’s one member of my family who always seems, well, calm. She’s my dog, Libby. And here are some coping skills she’s taught me

Live in The Present 

Yes, dogs’ lives are less complicated, but boy, I envy their “joie de vivre.”

Like any canine, Libby loves the small things in life: her morning bark-fest at any animal in the woods; treat time at lunch — my lunch, that is (keeps her distracted from begging for my food); an afternoon nap; playtime; dinner; and snuggles with Mom at night.

Libby loves the rhythm of her life. She gets up every day as if to ask, “You mean, we get to do this again?” Why is it dogs never seem plagued by that neurotic anxiety so many humans (including myself) have? More and more, I try and adopt her “live for the moment” attitude.

Be Brave

As small as Libby is (about 10 pounds), I’m convinced she’d run into the jaws of a saber-tooth tiger to save us. Where our cat Rocky hides under the bed at the faintest whiff of danger, Libby charges forward.

I marvel at the difference between cats and dogs. (I definitely identify with cats.) Dogs don’t hesitate a second. I think it’s one reason why the police and military use them. I wish I had Libby’s bravery, standing up to what frightens her — even if it’s a well-meaning visitor. In these turbulent times, I love her pint-sized pluck.

Love Unabashedly

When Libby isn’t guarding us from impending doom or barking at morning squirrels, she’s touching us … always. If I sit on any chair, she’s in my lap. When watching TV at night, she lies on me, looking up with those liquid, brown eyes.

As humans, it’s easy to hold back from showing affection. Ego and fear of rejection get in the way. But I see how dogs don’t care about that. They love anyway, even though sometimes, (sadly) it’s one-way.

Do What Feels Right

Libby would make a yogi jealous when it comes to listening to her body. When tired, she’ll sleep, even in the middle of a crowded kitchen. When she feels like fetching, she grabs a toy and pushes it at us, even at 6:30 a.m. When thirsty, she drinks. When hungry, she eats.

Sometimes I find myself pressured to get things done, even when I’m tired. Then I’ll see Libby lying in the sun. I’ll stop and sit beside her, feeling the warm rays on my face. Ahh … it always feels good.

Stay Focused 

When Libby turns her attention to something, nothing else matters. Whether an errant chipmunk or a toy hovering in the air, about to be tossed, Libby’s focus makes Yankee pitcher Masahiro Tanaka look scatterbrained.

Where sometimes I drift through my day (with LOTS of Facebook and Twitter detours), Libby does one thing at a time and doesn’t look left or right. I admire how she channels her energy. It inspires me to harness my own attention better.

Have Fun

Libby has playtime built into everyday. She has an arsenal of toys and every few hours, pulls one out, just for kicks. She loves fetching. Her eyes grow wide. She smiles. She’s excited.

I can’t help but look at her and think I should schedule more fun in my days. Many times, I’ll stop and throw Libby her toy. It helps pull me out of my own rut. Seeing her goofy glee, reminds me that life is supposed to be joyful.

I’ve seen the same thing every time with pets. You adopt them, thinking you’ll change their lives. But instead, they change yours.

I‘ve learned from all my animals, and Libby’s no exception.

Most of what she’s taught is simple, but important … be brave, stay focused, and everyday take a moment to sit in the sun.

Laurie Stone writes from the woods of Easton, CT.  Her blog, “Musings, Rants &Scribbles” shares thoughts on growing up, older, and (hopefully) wiser. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 

10 Responses to “How Dogs Can Teach Us To Stay Chill In This Insane World”

  1. It’s interesting how many lessons our canine friends can and will teach us…if we listen!

  2. Hi Laurie, I’m a dog lover supreme! After my two older dogs died earlier this year, in April I adopted two 8-week-old shelter puppies. Sisters. Oh my stars! What was I thinking? All of my dogs have been older strays who’ve found me… and changed my life, but until now, I’ve never had puppies. They’re just now losing some of their manic, puppy hyper qualities so we can have a conversation and some teachable moments. As they become calmer, they’re allowing me to chill a bit as well. Wishing you and Libby a happy and fun day! Brenda

  3. I need to take all these lessons to heart!

  4. Laurie Stone says:

    Carol, I’ve learned some of my greatest life lessons from watching my beloved animals.

  5. Lynsey Jones says:

    Hahaha so cute! Also – nap often LOL or at least remember to take breaks 😉 Great article!

  6. I love Libby! Aren’t our pets wonderful. Here’s to scheduling more fun. I need to quit focusing on the task list so much!

  7. Laurie Stone says:

    Brenda, OMG! Two puppies? You are a brave woman! They’ll calm down eventually and life will get easier. You’re giving them a good home.

  8. Laurie Stone says:

    Michelle, Especially living in the present. For me, that’s the toughest.

  9. Laurie Stone says:

    Lynsey, Thanks! Yes, naps are a great addition and things dogs do all the time. That explains a lot.

  10. Laurie Stone says:

    Cathy, I’m the same way, too task-oriented. Libby has taught me to loosen up.

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