We're coming up on the two year anniversary of having a furry family member. To honour the occasion, I thought I'd make a list of things I've learned from having Rigby around.
Live in the moment
Dogs live every moment to the fullest. They don't let what happened two minutes ago change how the next minute, hour or day will be. Us two-legged creatures tend to get too wrapped up in the past and we let it change our futures. I'm not saying we should ignore the past, but at the end of it, there's nothing we can do to change the past (or the future), so why not focus on the right now? The clearest illustration of this lesson was the time that Rigby thought that chasing some ducks into an ice filled, fast moving river was a good idea. He's not the strongest swimmer and it took some serious help from some good friends to pull him out. Not 10 minutes after we had him inside and warmed up, he was right back to play mode. His owners took a little bit longer to recover.
Enjoy the little things
Somewhat related to item number one, but important to mention is the attention dogs pay to the small things. Whether it's scoring that little piece of cheese that falls on the floor or getting to play with the same ball he's had for years, Rigby still gets just as excited about the good stuff, no matter how insignificant or repetitive they might be.
Go outside and move
Most dog trainers and/or behaviour experts will tell you that exercise plays a key role in a happy, health, well-balanced dog. They're completely right! Rigby is not a high-energy dog by any measure, but if we miss our walk for even one day, I can see a change in his behaviour. Aside from being necessary for Rigby, I've discovered how great walking is for me. Getting outside and moving every single day helps my attitude, let's me do some deep thinking and reminds me how important the natural world around us is.
Responsibility is a good thing
Being wholly responsible for another living thing is daunting at first. Owning a dog is sometimes likened to parental bootcamp. Not being a parent, I can only speculate at the similarities and differences but one thing I am sure of is that owning a dog and being responsible for his well-being, behaviour and health have forced me to change. Patience, persistence, assertiveness and understanding are but a few of the traits that I've had to consciously improve. In my book, those are good things.