It’s amazing what a dog can teach us about human relationships! The first thing that comes to mind is that every time you come home - no matter where they are in the house - the backyard, upstairs in the bedroom or even in their favorite sleeping spot in the sun - they come to greet you. It is not just any old greeting - the tail is wagging and they are just delighted that you are back. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be wonderful if our family members noticed that we are back! Unfortunately, sometimes we can walk in the door…everybody is doing something and someone may yell a hello from upstairs or another room but notice they didn’t come enthusiastically to greet you like your Dog. Why is that
Let’s just say that you had an argument with your dog before leaving home. He did something wrong, you yelled and pointed your finger at him, and told him in no uncertain terms that he was wrong and he’s no longer your best buddy. Now, if you had an argument with your spouse in the morning and the argument didn’t get settled before you left for work, how would you be greeted when you returned home? Your dog would be jumping up and down thanking God that you returned. The tail is wagging maybe there’s even some jumping up and down and running around but he is still your best friend. He responds like nothing ever happened and the two of you have a clean slate. On the other hand, I wonder how your spouse will greet you when you get back? How long will it take your spouse to forgive and make up. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had the short memory of a dog when it comes to dropping arguments and letting hurt feelings go?
How about those days when you are feeling a little down and would love a little more attention, maybe have someone put an arm around you or comfort you in some way but for some reason there’s a hesitancy on your part to ask. What does your dog teach you? No problem, he just comes over and puts his head on your lap or brushes you with his head and lets you know that he wants to be stroked. If you’re really busy and you’re not paying attention, he won’t go away until you at least acknowledge him. Most of the time we stop what we’re doing and pay attention to the dog’s request for love, affection and attention. Why is it that we respond that way? Because, it is built into human nature that we would much rather be giving than receiving. Many people have dogs because they have a desire to take care of and give back. Giving to others creates a circle of complete love.
Dogs are perfect confidants. Tell him anything and it is a secret for life. When you’re upset, you can go to him and lay out all of your vulnerability, your upset and your distress. He is just going to sit there and listen. He is not going to make the mistake that so many people do by trying to solve your problem, give you an answer or make you less upset than you are. Your dog is brilliant! Most of the time, all we want is someone to listen.
What are the lessons for today? Be more like the family dog! Just be there! Be present. Just listen! That’s really what most of us want. Don’t be afraid to ask for a hug. Be more aware and demonstrably welcoming when someone comes home. When you have a fight or disagreement, be the first one to drop the angst of the argument - forgive and make up! Ask for what you want and need. Be unconditionally loving!