Enjoy the Little Things … And Other Stuff I Have Learned From My Dogs


By Tricia Roberts

M. K. Clinton said, “The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” I believe the world would also be a happier place – or at least many of the people in it would be happier – if they would see things from a dog’s perspective. Of course, we have responsibilities that keep us from completely acting like dogs (of that I’m thankful), but we can still learn a thing or two from our furry friends and benefit from adopting their mindset every now and then.

Enjoy the little things.

When I was a kid, I loved it when my mom came home with a sursie for me. If you aren’t from the south, a sursie is a small impromptu gift (also spelled sirsee or surcy). Usually my sursie was something like a candy bar or a small bottle of fingernail polish. The happiness that little surprise brought me – that’s how my dogs feel about a treat or a car ride. We don’t even have to go anywhere. Just getting in and out of the car is an adventure. How great would it be if we didn’t need something huge and extravagant to put a lasting smile on our face, and something simple like a cookie or a car ride around the neighborhood made our day?

Take a break.

When my dog feels under the weather or over-exerts himself, he rests or sleeps. He never has an issue listening to his body when it is time to take a break. I can’t say I do the same. When I feel tired or not my best, I have a tendency to think of all the things I need to be doing and muscle through them. As a result, most of those things aren’t done well or in a timely manner. I usually have to do something, if not everything, all over again. If I would simply take a break and refresh, I’d be much more productive and focused. 

Ask for help when you need it.

At least once a day a ball or a bone will travel under a piece of furniture and end up out of reach for Oliver, our 9-month-old Labrador. He could probably get it himself by knocking things over and destroying part of the house, but he knows that a simple little whimper will get our attention. Without any damage done, one of us will gladly retrieve his toy and give it to him. How many times do we insist on doing something ourselves when there is someone nearby that would be happy to help if we just asked?  

Be the best you can at whatever age you are.

Our 9-month-old dog is a ball of fire. He’s lean, energetic and quick. Our other Labrador, Brodie, will be 14 later this year. He’s not as fit or fast as Oliver. He sleeps most of the day and can’t hear as well as he used to. He’s officially a senior dog, but he is still living his best life. He doesn’t try to stay up to speed with Oliver. When Oliver runs, Brodie walks. When Oliver fetches over and over, Brodie fetches once. He knows his limits, he does what he can, and he does so happily. As Madeleine L’Engle said, “The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” I think Brodie knows this, and I hope I do too when I’m in my senior years.