Friday, July 12, 2013

What Dogs Can Teach Us About Life

Meet Daisy.

 Yikes!! Let's try this again shall we?

There we go. Much better.

Daisy is my 7 year old Standard Poodle. That's right. Poodle. You wanna make something of it? 

FUN FACT: The Standard Poodle is actually the 2nd smartest breed of dog in the world, having been edged out slightly by the Border Collie . And stupid hair cuts not withstanding, the Standard is quite the manly dog. 


She is about to snatch that ball out of the air like a boss.

And check this out...

I'm on a train motha fluffer!!

OK, so there is a point to all of this I promise.

Aside from being an excellent walking companion, Daisy is also a philosopher of sorts. This isn't all together surprising given her academic standing in the canine community. I personally can attest to the many life lessons that Daisy has taught me, including such gems as:

Life is too short to hold grudges, so always greet everyone you meet by licking their face.

Strangers can be scary, so be cautious at first. Eyeball them for a minute or two and then proceed to stick your face directly in their crotch.

You should never allow a perfectly good baby diaper to go to waste.

The most comfortable spot on the bed is anywhere that somebody else is already laying.

Hmmm....OK, so maybe these aren't exactly pearls of wisdom, but there is one priceless lesson that Daisy has taught me.

As I just mentioned, Daisy has been my walking buddy for the last 5 years. As you may or may not be able to tell from the picture, she is also a rather large pup and as such,  quite capable of dragging me down the side walk if she felt so inclined. For this reason, we purchased a harness that fits over her nose and inhibits her ability to pull.....As pictured below. 

Many think that this is a muzzle and that Daisy must be a bitey kind of dog when they see her wearing it. This couldn't not be further from the truth. 

 Ummmm.....ignore that.....he owed her money.

Truthfully though, Daisy is a gentle giant who will literally allow my infant nephew to yank on her ears with such force that I am convinced they are going to come right off one of these days.

Like I said, the harness in no way inhibits her mouth, only her capacity to drag me behind her. 

She HATES her harness.

If I say to her, Daisy, wanna go on a walk??? She will perk up faster than Nerd who has just spotted Joss Whedon.....that is until she sees the harness. As soon as I slap that thing on her she literally transforms into a different dog. She becomes paranoid, jumpy, lethargic, and all together a rather gutless creature.

So there we are, at the park (which is about midway through the walk) and there is Daisy lagging behind and acting all sorts of Eeyore about life. It is early enough in the morning that there is nobody else at the park and so I decide to let Daisy off of her leash for a minute or two..... And you know what happens?

The moment I removed that harness from her face she transformed into the free spirited, wild, unchained, and beautiful creature I have known her to be. She darted around that park like it was her first time experiencing any of it. It is was a rainy morning, and as such, the grass was quite slick. At one point, I watched as Daisy attempted to run full speed down a steep hill and ended up power sliding....on her face. It was adorable. 

She was having so much fun, and I didn't even realize how her energy was affecting me until I caught myself audibly giggling at the sight of her frolicking.....It was contagious....And in that moment Daisy taught me a valuable lesson.

Sometime, we, like Daisy, have harnesses placed on us. Sometimes they are put there by others, and sometimes we put them on ourselves. These harnesses, which we believe will keep us safe, and help us maintain control over our lives, are in reality, only serving to inhibit our true natures. 

However, unlike Daisy's harness which is painfully obvious to her, the harnesses we place on ourselves, and attempt to place on others, are for the most part invisible to naked eye, and as such, can become quite difficult to remove. We may not even realize that we are wearing one. We may try and rationalize and tell ourselves that we are doing the "right" thing by not chasing our dreams or power sliding down a steep hill on our faces; but these are just the sort of things that we as living thriving creatures were meant to do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about anarchy here or a total disregard for rules and common human decency. This is not me telling you to go out and kick a baby. The point of Daisy's lesson is that life was meant to be lived without harnesses. We were made to run free and wild and run head long towards our dreams, and yes, even power slide on our faces into failure every once in a while. But if there is anything I have learned from Daisy, as far as failure is concerned, it is that it serves you no good to give it any more thought than that of the time it takes you to realize that it has in fact occurred. 

You ran. You biffed it. Get up. Shake it off. Run again.

I think we could all take a page from the book of Daisy don't you? 

Good girl Daisy....Good life coach.

*Thank you to my amazing little brother who took most of these pictures. Find more of his work at

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