10 Lessons on Friendship From Dogs

From left to right: Ripley, my parents' dog Harry, and Midnyte

From left to right: Ripley, my parents’ dog Harry, and Midnyte

It’s a gorgeous Texas day, warm and sunny.  (I’m ignoring the humidity on purpose, hoping that if I pretend it doesn’t exist, I’ll stop sweating.)  The breeze is great though, very refreshing.  It’s a pleasant change form the hot winds in Arizona!

I decided to come outside and write, partly because it’s one of my favorite things to do, and partly so I could play with the dogs.  We play for a few minutes, until my old dog is ready to pass out from panting so hard.  She’d play until she drops, but I’d rather give her breaks and play again.  It works out for both of us; I get up from my laptop, stretch, and take frequent breaks.  She gets to play and hang out for a few hours.

I was brainstorming blogs and this topic came to mind because my dogs really are my best friends.  Even my husband, who was not a dog person when I met him, has come over to the dog side.  Why do we love dogs so much, and why are they such great friends?  I think I have a few of the answers…

1.  Be happy to see one another, no matter how much time has passed, and show it!  People appreciate when you’re happy to see them.  It makes them feel like they’re the only one that matters.  When I get home and my dogs greet me, it automatically lifts my spirits.  I look forward to going home because I know that I’m going to get a dose of joy.

2.  Live in the moment.  It doesn’t matter if your best friend said something mean to you 5 minutes ago.  Let it go.  Friends don’t keep score, and if you can forgive easily, you will feel lighter.  It’s more fun to be happy and pay attention to what’s going on right now.  Now is the best place to be.

3.  Give little treats.  It could be a tiny morsel (like a compliment) or a huge bone (like a gift).  Those treats say “I’m thinking of you.”  Treats show others that we care.  No, they’re not necessary, but who doesn’t like getting treats?

4.  Play together.  Dogs make us laugh when we throw balls for them or watch them splash in the water.  They’re not afraid to be silly.  Be silly with your friends and laugh together.

5.  Don’t focus on the superficial.  My dogs don’t care how much I weigh, how I’m dressed*, how clean the house is, what job I work, etc.  What they care about is who I am to them.  I can be myself and will never judge me.

*The one exception to this is that Ripley gets really excited when I put on yoga pants, as that’s usually what I wear to hike.  She cries and jumps up on me.

6.  Just be there.  When I’m having a bad day and talk about it, my dogs will never interrupt me, never jump in to offer solutions, will never tell me what I should have done.  They just listen without judgement, and give me a lick on the cheek or the hand as if to say, “I’m here for you, and I love you.”  There’s nothing more comfortable than reaching down and feeling a furry body at my side.

"Hi, I'm here!"

“Hi, I’m here!”

7.  Whatever you want, chase with abandon.  Whether it’s a ball or a pesky squirrel, go after it.  It doesn’t matter if you catch it; the fun is in the chase.  Good friends will cheer one another on through that chase and never say, “You can’t do it.”  In fact, they’re probably running by your side with you!

8.  It’s never too late to build a lifelong friendship.  No matter how old they are, if a dog loves you, they love you.  Even if they’ve been abandoned many times before you found them, they will love you if you let them.  They don’t care if you’re old or young; as long as you’re willing to share your space with them, they will be glad to be with you.

9.  When you’re together, give the relationship your attention.  I get frustrated with people when they check their phones or watch the restaurant TVs when we’re together.  My dogs do their own thing when I’m busy.  They go off and think doggy thoughts, watch squirrels or birds, chew up toys, squeak toys, play fetch alone, or bark at other dogs.  But when we’re playing together, they are completely focused on me, and I try to stay focused on them.  Time together is more fun when we’re both engaged.

"Why aren't you paying attention to me?"

“Why aren’t you paying attention to me?”

10.  When someone you love hurts, don’t take “no” for an answer.  Many times, when I’ve had a bad day, Ripley (65 pounds) jumps in my lap and starts kissing me, whether I want her to or not.  She pokes at me with her wet nose and demands to be petted.  Midnyte lays at my feet or puts her head in my lap.  Even if I think I want to be left alone, they won’t.  And I can’t resist them.  Maybe whatever happened didn’t get better, but I feel a little better, and that’s what’s important.

Is your dog your best friend?  What have you learned from your dog?

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7 comments on “10 Lessons on Friendship From Dogs

  1. krangara says:

    Hey

    OMG! OMG! OMG!

    Your post made me smile so wide I am afraid my cheeks will burst 😉

    I adopted a pup 4 months ago, and he has completely transformed my life (mostly for the better, if you ignore his teething 😉 heheheh). In all seriousness, I agree with EVERY single point. In fact, I penned a series of blog posts (for the Facebook “July” Challenge) about the various lessons Oreo teaches me every day! 😀 Please check it out, if you get a chance.

    BTW, I too am a recent convert. Until about a year ago, I was SCARED of dogs and misrepresented their signals. But my cousin-in-law’s Basset Hound made me fall in love with these #ADORABLECaninePals 😀

    This straight-from-the-heart post is a WONDERFUL read. Thank you!!! #HUGSSS

    Much love

    Kitto

    • doreeweller says:

      Aw, thank you! And I’m so glad you found a doggy friend. Once you fall in love with them, it’s forever. I’ll definitely check out your page, and thanks for stopping by.

  2. I’ve never owned a dog. They weren’t permitted in the public housing where I grew up, and I just never owned one (or a cat). But these behaviors are such good suggestions – anyone who treated a human friend like this would be a best friend, indeed. And we could all “live in the present” more.

  3. grazona says:

    Beautiful post! My dogs have taught me the joy of simply being. Whatever it is you’re doing, just go it with everything you’ve got! They also remind me how powerful unconditional love is. I believe each pet comes into my life for a reason, to teach me a particular lesson. My big dog Charlie is the best example of that because I didn’t want to keep him but it was clear he was staying and then after Ritz died, he stepped up and was an incredible companion to me in my dark times.

  4. […] 10 Lessons on Friendship From Dogs- What my dogs have taught me. […]

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