I’m starting to wonder if dogs are here to train us and not the other way around.

Against my own will and my better judgement I somehow spend the majority of my time with two dogs, well, one dog and one horse/dog.

The more I learn about all the things I’ve been doing wrong my whole life, the more I realize that I have more to learn from these dogs than they have to learn from me.

If you’ve never spent a day with a dog, call me up and lets get you scheduled to do that. It’s a real eye opener.

Here is a peek into a day in the life of Copper and Zoe…they sleep until they are no longer tired. They wake up happy. They don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. They are happy to see anyone they come upon and are solely focused on that person. They are genuinely interested in whom ever they are currently with and love them no matter who they are. They don’t really even have to know them. Sure, they do some sniffing and rely on their gut to tell them if they are in danger but once the sniffing is over, they’ve acquired a new best friend. If there is more than one person in the room, they make sure they greet each person and let that person know they are loved…. In a way only Copper can love… I mean don’t try to jump on people and lick their face, only dogs can get away with that.

When they are hungry they eat. They get the same food everyday, and that’s fine with them. Sure, they may want whatever it is others are eating, but when the temptation is removed they have completely forgotten about it and are focused only on the moment they are in.

If it is sunny outside, they pause and lay in the sunshine. If it’s hot, they move to the shade. If they are feeling playful, they find a toy or in Coppers case, he finds Zoe, and they run and roll and play. When Zoe has had enough of Copper she doesn’t hesitate to let him know she has had enough…….. okay so maybe biting someone on the nose isn’t the way to inform them you gotta go, but hey… she has boundaries, she takes care of her needs, and Copper understands.

Copper and Zoe love to go on walks, and when they do, they aren’t doing it with music in their ears or with a timer on their wrist. They are loving every single moment and enjoying every sight along the way. They stop and smell the flowers (and the fire hydrants) and greet every dog they see. They assume everyone we meet is their friend, they are not biased or particular, everyone is good enough to be loved in their eyes… and they are eager to be loved by everyone in return.

To say these dogs were perfect would be a far cry from the truth, there are times every day…. Okay every few minutes, when I become frustrated and want to drop kick the dogs. There are plenty of occasions when they have been reprimanded and corrected, sometimes even screamed at and locked out of the house…. aaaaaaand maybe even called a name or two….aaaaand….. it is possible that I might have accidentaly beat Copper up, or tried to anyway, on one or more walks when he has drug or yanked me by the leash around my waist to chase a cat. There have been times when I’ve simply been in a bad mood and pushed them away or locked them out but you know what? They don’t remember it, and if they do, you’d never know it. They instantly forgive and offer love. They are loyal and love unconditionally. Even on the days when I don’t love myself, they love me.

When someone in our home is sick, those dogs are right by their side. They don’t have to be asked, it is in their DNA to mourn with those that mourn and to care for those in need.

Yip, there is much to learn from these sometimes stinky, messy and annoying animals that I have a love hate relationship with.

If only I had instinctually known, at a young age to love myself, to trust my instincts, to take care of my needs and to be true to myself…. I could have avoided a lot of garbage.

I’m grateful for the lessons I’m learning about the importance of feeling each emotion and offering compassion to myself but it’s a bit overwhelming to see the ripple effect of dysfunction it has caused. I cannot help but be a bit overwhelmed when I become aware of what I’m doing wrong and see that I had no idea. I had no idea I wasn’t taking care of my own needs. I had no idea that if I would only love myself I wouldn’t be so up in my head about what everyone else’s needs and wants were. I had no clue that by not taking care of myself and by focusing only on the needs of others that it was actually causing destruction and problems for those I thought I was helping.

And so I ask myself…. am I the smarter species here? Or are these dogs, that I curse every day, here to teach me?

As I have done my best to embrace adversity and do all I know how to do, I have lost myself in the needs of everyone around me. Self-discovery is a humbling experience. Self-awareness and change is a huge elephant to swallow. Correcting old patterns and creating new healthy ones seems like an impossible task. As I ponder how to move forward in this process I am feeling I could learn a thing or two from these dogs.

I love you Zoe and Copper…. Sometimes.