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When I first met my husband, I had no idea he had three dogs.
I also didn’t know back then that one day I would be their mom.
They were three years old when I first met them. Now they’re seven.
They say that parents love all their children equally. And I do. I don’t prefer one over the other, but I do have a special connection with the eldest, Lager.
He’s a big German shepherd, and boy, do we love each other. He never leaves my side: he checks up on me when I leave the living room to my bedroom, he follows me around (even to the bathroom), he sits in the kitchen when I’m cooking, and believe it or not, he wakes me up every single morning.
I’ve learned from him abundantly throughout the years, and I’m proud to say that he’s my four-legged guru.
Here are six extremely powerful lessons I’ve learned from Lager in the past three years:
1. Stay hydrated. Sometimes I forget to drink water. Lager constantly reminds me to stay hydrated. He’s obsessed with drinking water, so he walks toward the water bowl multiple times during the day. When he finishes drinking, he comes to me with his wet drooling mouth, and voila, he reminds me to grab my own bottle of water and drink.
Water is life. Staying hydrated keeps me energetic and healthy (and believe it or not, in a good mood). Thank you, Lager, for reminding me to keep my body alive and kicking.
2. Take a walk. I work eight hours a day, and being such a committed and stubborn Taurus, I can easily sit nonstop just to challenge myself and complete more tasks. But, of course, Lager won’t allow it. He nags me, grabs his toys, and throws them at my feet. While you think I walk him, the truth is, he walks me.
I always feel recharged after walking. Taking time to rest doesn’t have to be a big holiday—sometimes it’s a 10-minute walk with your dog.
3. Be a little mysterious. Lager likes to chase stones. When I throw him one, he impatiently runs to fetch it, but if I give it to him instead of throwing it, he turns his face away. I’ve always thought he loves stones, but apparently, he likes the thrill of the chase. Lager taught me to not be an open book—to be a little mysterious and a little hard to get in life.
When we easily give away too much, people tend to take us for granted. A little mystery and some “chase” ain’t that bad.
4. Observe my patterns. I believe no one knows me the way Lager does. Before taking the dogs out, I always grab my bottle of water and drink. But I haven’t noticed this pattern if it wasn’t for Lager. Whenever I open my bottle of water, he associates it with going out, and so he prepares himself to leave.
If my dog knows me this much, I believe I can also practice some self-love and learn more about my daily patterns. Through paying attention to our habits, we can easily know what we need to amend, add, or omit.
5. Be in the present moment. What I admire the most about animals is their continuous presence. Lager almost always brings me to the now when I lose focus or drown in my mind’s harmful thoughts. When I see how present, attentive, and vigilant he is, I feel that I need to do the same.
Lager reminds me to listen to the noise around me, to enjoy my food, to sleep better, and to improve my concentration.
6. Love selflessly. It is said that a dog’s love is unconditional and they’re loyal to a fault. It’s true—dogs do teach us easily about loyalty and devotion. But above all else, dogs teach us a lot about our own ways of loving and show us how much capable we are of giving love and attention to another being.
I’d do anything for Lager. He opened a portal within me that’s bursting with compromise, sacrifice, and commitment.
What did you learn from your pet(s)?