July 20, 2015

Keys to Happiness (According to My Dog)

We have been dog parents for over half of a year now... which we consider a win, because we've successfully kept a living thing alive (and happy) since November. Silly as it may sound, I literally cannot remember our life before Lola. When I think back to our days and weekends, I can't help but thinking, what did we DO with ourselves, pre-dog?

How is it that we didn't *always* go on 4+ walks a day?
Was it nice to have all the space in bed for our feet/legs/bodies that we wanted? 
How did we ever come home and not know we were missing out on happy hello squeaks and tail wiggles?

Something has struck me as interesting during our time with Lola...
I think that we can learn a lot about happiness, love, and kindness from our dog.

Seven Keys to Happiness, According to My Dog:

1. Get outside. Often.

Lola's favorite place to be, in all of the whole wide world, is anywhere that could be described as "outside".  Having to walk a dog multiple times a day has reminded me that pretty much all that is good is just past the door. Sunshine, sprinkles of rain, nice breezes, swingy hammocks, dewy grass, light of the moon- all good things. Go be with those things.

2. Be as active as possible every day, and be pumped about it.

If there is one thing that Lola lives for (other than bacon), it would be going on walkies whenever and wherever possible. Part of the reason that we told ourselves we definitely should adopt a dog was so that we HAD to get up and go for walks, and go often. Lola's enthusiasm for taking a routine tour of the neighborhood or finding a new park to explore is a big push for us to get more active. Like the Celebrex commercial (and you know, Newton) says- a body in motion, stays in motion. Little walks can boost energy for the day and make you want to do more, get more stuff done, and be more active all around.

3. Slow down and notice things.

It is easy to get into a routine and move too quickly through life without REALLY seeing the details.  Standing around on a trail or in front of a neighbor's house while Lola sniffs ALL THE GRASSES is a reminder to slow down and notice the little things. Taking a pause and really taking in how the weather feels, that a neighbor has spruced up a pretty flowerbed around the mailbox, how the sunlight looks through the trees at this time of day... it's pretty good stuff.  I mean, I saw my very first chipmunk today while Lola sniffed a tree. That made me pretty happy.

4. Forgiveness, always.

Lola's figured it out.  Life is too short to be mad at the little things for too long.  She loathes when she has to take bathies or when we leave her alone for a couple hours, but just like Taylor Swift, she shakes it off. She forgives us and returns to being happy to spend time with us. The minor setbacks don't HAVE to set your day back, if you don't let it.

5. Be happy to see people.

One of Lola's most endearing qualities is her ability to make anyone, including strangers, feel like they are EXACTLY who she was most hoping to see in that very moment. If I had a dollar for every time I had to stand there and smile while Lola wiggled and wagged at the other end of the leash, waiting for a stranger to hopefully say hi to her and pet her head... I'd have a bunch of dollars. It's super easy to get used to seeing family, friends, or just acquaintances and to greet them with a lukewarm welcome. But doesn't it feel better to give off a genuinely warm and happy vibe at that hello?  I know I feel pretty good when people actually seem happy to see me. Return that feeling! Amp up your own excitement! More often than not, it'll be reciprocated.

6. Say hello & make new friends.

We live in a fast paced, destination-minded world that makes it easy to keep to yourself, lock those eyes forward, go about your business, and do all the tasks. When incorporating #1, #3, and #5 on this list into your life, #6 can easily fall into place.  I'd never spoken to a single other person at our old apartment complex until the day we adopted Lola... and I had lived there for over a year. Having to get out, walk around parts of the complex I'd never otherwise had a reason to be, and stand around while Lola sniffed led to passing handfuls of people at random times of the day, saying a quick hello or talking "dog" to each other which leads to talking about other things... it's usually a more pleasant experience to have some interaction while out wandering around. Lola LOVES to say a quick "hi" to passing people and doggies. She may be on to something.

7. Spend extra time on the morning snugs.

Some things just feel good to do, and snoozing in a nest of blankets with Lola and Vince is one of those things. Weekend mornings are Lola's very favorite because Vince and I both stay in bed longer. She enjoys wiggling her way up the bed between us, flapping her tail until we pet her head, stroke her armpits, and wrap her up in tight snugs
. Slower, pet-filled mornings without rushing out of bed are definitely a happiness boost at the beginning of the day.

1 comment:

  1. JUST SO SCRUFFY. My dream dog has always been "a scruffy one", which Oswin is not. But she makes up for it in personality, I suppose.


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