I am a dog person. I am so much of a dog person that I can’t even understand why anyone wouldn’t be. Most importantly, I think that dogs have a lot to teach us about how to be better humans. But for those of you who still need convincing, I have come up with a small assortment of reasons to bring you over to the “bark” side (I should mention that I love terrible puns).
Dogs have great perspective
Have you ever seen a dog freak out in the morning because her hair wasn’t cooperating? Or witnessed a dog become irritable for a week because his football team lost? (As a matter of fact, no one in history has ever been irritated by the puppy bowl) This is because dogs have a knack for keeping things in perspective. Below is my dog Sam. He doesn’t worry about any of these things. In Sam’s mind, life is good as long as he has what he needs: food (preferably bacon), family, and maybe a warm blanket when it gets cold.
I, on the other hand, have a tendency of worrying about things that are out of my control. Whether it’s the weather, traffic, or my favorite college basketball team’s inability to live up to expectations, I stress about things which I cannot change. More annoyingly, I worry about things that don’t realistically even matter. When I think of things from a larger perspective, my life is awesome. I’m succeeding at a great school, studying what I enjoy, and working a couple of really cool jobs. Maybe I should stop stressing about how long it takes me to get to work. And eat more bacon.
Dogs don’t overthink things
One of the theories I am currently studying is called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), which takes the perspective that sometimes, our frustration with dealing with negative states, such as depression or anxiety, compounds our issues to an unworkable state. A simplified example of this might be trying to fall asleep. Some of us have trouble sleeping, and even worry about not sleeping. I’ve stayed up for hours, only to realize that the main thing keeping me up is stressing about not getting enough sleep.
As it happens, my readings reference the facts that dogs don’t do this to themselves. Dogs only experience “clean discomfort,” such as having the mailman come by the door six times a week. This compares to “dirty discomfort,” which we humans have a way of placing on ourselves. Dogs don’t sit around during the day, worrying whether or not the mailman is going to come by. Instead, they do everything they can to enjoy their day, and bravely scare off the evil mailman whenever he comes by. Below, Faith demonstrates the how easy it is to sleep when you don't over-think, and Luck poses.
Dogs are here to help
This is Shenoah. Along with helping me out with paperwork at my practicum this week, she helps her human on a day to day basis. Shenoah is trained to help in cases of panic attacks, depression, and seizures. Not only can she physically pull her human out of negative situations, but she is able to give psychological support in difficult situations. In many ways, this is the biggest lesson that we should learn from dogs. Shenoah not only loves her human, but loves helping him. Though she clearly doesn't like taking pictures.
Song of the weekend:
Growing up, Rowlf was the single greatest influence motivating me to practice classical music. To this day, Fozzie is my greatest influence in terms of sense of humor. “Can you play hatless?” “I don’t know, who wrote it?!”