Recently I wrote about three things I learned from my cat. I'm a cat person, and Lionel is wise and has taught me a lot of things.
This past February, we added a new member to our family: a puppy who we named Lemmy. I grew up with dogs. We had them from my early childhood on, and my parents just lost their most recent dog last year. I always shared in the dog responsibilities: feeding, walking, playing. Clearly I knew what to do with a dog, right? Ha! Clearly this cat girl was wrong. I quickly learned that puppies are somewhat similar to babies, that dogs need a lot more attention than even the most attention-hungry cat, that training is a long, and sometimes expensive (but worth it) process, and that some dogs do, in fact, like to eat poop. It took a little while for this RI family photographer to adjust to these things.
That said, this little black fuzzy bundle of joy has taught me a lot of things in the short time he's been with us. He's pretty smart. For some life lessons from Lemmy, read below.
1. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Sure, this sounds so cliche. It's true, though. Puppies have accidents when they're potty training. They may chew your favorite shoes if you leave them within reach. Maybe they unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper in two seconds flat. In that moment, your head may feel like exploding. I've been there. But look at the big picture. This moment is just a small thing. You have a family, a home, and friends. And a fluffy dog who is still learning. This is just a bump in the road.
2. Exercise and playtime are fun!
I've always exercised and moved my body. It's good for you to do so. I know that. Sometimes it is done with a heavy sigh, though. When I got a dog, I started moving even more. He can't take himself anywhere, so he depends on me to take him for walks and play to get his energy out. He looks forward to this time each and every day and so do I, and I have a whole new outlook on exercise. It doesn't have to be groan inducing! I also have an appreciation for just taking time to play with no other cares in the world. And if you get really wet when you go out to play...that's ok ,too, because you can always dry off when you get home!
3. Unconditional love is a real thing.
The unconditional love and devotion of a dog is like nothing else. Sure, my cat likes me (and he's a lot more loving than many cats). But dogs, man. When my dog comes out of his crate in the morning and looks up at me like I'm his favorite person ever, or when he is so happy to see me after I've been gone for a few hours (or a few minutes), or those kisses that he gives out so freely. I appreciate that love so much and give it right back to him. How can you not? Thanks for showing it to me, buddy.