5 Life Lessons My Dog Taught Me

Our experiences in life are what teach us the lessons that affect and shape the people we become. Our teachers however can sometimes come in surprising forms. I am 100 percent sure that having a dog in my life from the early age of 8, was one of those experiences. To me my dog was invaluable. I never thought of him as a "thing" or "property". He was my friend. Only years into adulthood, did I truly understand the profound impact having him in my life would have. Here are 5 life lessons that my dog taught me.

1. Have Fun

My very first dog was a beagle mix with loads of energy. He loved to play chase and was pretty darn smart. He would catch on quick if you tried to play a trick on him. If my siblings and I were playing games in the yard he always wanted to get involved. His favorite was "catch me if you can" he would stop and let you get almost close enough to catch then have a look on his face that I'm sure meant "sucker"! The carefree element of fun he brought us was unforgettable, just like him.


2. The Value Of Friendship

As I said "he was my friend". I think even as a young child I understood that friendship could exist between a human and a dog. When I had to face something scary it was him I wanted. He listened, he loved and adored me with no question. Not that I didnt have humans in my life that loved me, I certainly did but looking back there were so many times I just wanted to be with him. He would understand without question or judgement. On the other end of things he needed me too. He needed walks, to be fed, and of course attention. The responsibility was on me quite often and that chore taught me about putting anothers needs first. Loving him meant making sure he had the things he needed.

A side view of a beagle on a path


3. Selflessness

To elaborate on the previous point, having a dog in your life is not without responsibility. We of course had to clean up after him in the yard and make sure there was someone taking care of him if we had to leave home. The normal things for a dog of course, but to a child these things teach you about caring for someone and that it's not always about you. Life lessons can be hidden in our everyday goings on and we may not always be aware in the moment.


4. Time Is Not Promised

There is a saying that a dog's only flaw is that their lives are too short. It is an unfortunate truth. Somehow we think we will have them forever and fact is everyday with them is a true gift. I was lucky enough to have had my first dog live a fairly normal full life span and I will never forget the day we said goodbye. Time can be cruel when it comes to dogs but they are worth it.

A silhouette of a dog against the sky at dusk


5. Love Never Dies

While the anguish of losing a dog never seems to fade, the incredible memories live on. I used to have many pictures of my first dog but sadly over the years they were lost. What I do have and can never lose, is the love I had for him, the lessons he taught me and the other dogs i've since loved and lost. Dogs certainly have a way of leaving a permanent mark on our lives and we are better for it.


 What do you think? Did you have a dog in your life that made such a mark?

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