As I get older I am finding I am still in the "learning" phases of my life. Things are constantly ever-changing and to keep up with all the change I need to keep myself informed. Sometimes I just learn from watching things--like my pets. Here are a few things I have picked up from them over the years:
Routine Is Important - I always thought that I was just a routine person myself; you know a little obsessive-compulsive about what needs to be done and when. However, my animals love doing the same things EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I never really thought about that very much over the last few years because my dog is an older dog, so of course I figure the "old dog, no new tricks" thing is in play. But just recently we added a new kitten into the mix and I am finding she likes things best that way too. From day one of figuring things out, she wanted the same routine in the morning. As time has gone on, she also likes it the same way in the evening. She may mix it up a little during the day, but, she is happiest when we all do the same things. This applies to everyone--even those you know who seemingly live in chaos. They may have their own random routine, but, it's what makes them feel comfortable too. We all are creatures of habit--our own habits, that make us feel safe and happy. The more we can have our own routines, the happier we are.
Sharing is Hard, But Necessary - I had four children and this was really in my face when they were young. Of course you have to share with your siblings! Even when I had two dogs, it made sense that they would share a lot of the same stuff. However, when I got a cat, I wondered how that would work since cats and dogs can be so different. I had a fear that they would hate each other (like in cartoons) and that my older, established dog, would resent the new, little one messing with her stuff. However, it hasn't really been that way. Stella (my dog) has been really laid back with a new animal taking over some of her toys (and Stella LOVES her toys). We went to my daughter's house with the animals after we had the cat about a week and they had to sleep together in the same kennel/crate. But they did great together. They seem to give each other space and tolerate each other, and share things when necessary, no matter their differences. I mean, Stella is 12 years old and had absolutely NO SAY in this new intrusion in her life, but, after no time at all, she has accepted that this is how it is and is fine with it. Do they have their spats? Yes. But, it never lasts long and they move on. I so wish it was that easy for human beings to share together no matter how different they are from each other and learn the tolerance I see in my animals.
Companionship Makes a Difference - Last year, I lost my Cocker Spaniel, Star. She was my buddy. Stella loved her older sister, but they were both very independent of each other too. Star hung out with me most of the day, while Stella loved to find a place to sleep on her own. When Star left for the Vet one day and never came home...Stella was a different dog. She would look for her when my husband came home from work (thinking he was going to be bringing her back) and for a week or so, she didn't eat right and it scared me I was going to lose her, too, but she adjusted. After nearly a year, she started to enjoy getting all the attention, but, she spent most of her day sleeping in her kennel in my bedroom--far from me or anyone else. When we got Snokes (we have 100 nicknames for the cat) Stella came out of her shell. She seems happier during the day (although she still is a lover of a good LONG nap) and seems to like the companionship! It seems to have lifted her spirits a bit. Having someone to just be around sometimes can make such a difference in our lives too, don't you think? We can make it through this life alone, but, having someone to just spend some time with us sure makes things seem more enjoyable.
Stop & Smell The Flowers - This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned from my pets. When Stella was a puppy and I would walk her around the yard and she loved to go and sniff my rose bushes. Whenever she would see a pretty flower, she had to smell it. Sometimes, on really nice days, she will just stand outside and lift her nose in the air. She looks like she is just so thrilled to just be out and about at that moment in time! There are times this is inconvenient for me, because I want her to "do her business" so I can get back to whatever I was doing, but, that doesn't matter to her! She will just drink in the moment with a gentle look of satisfaction on her face. Seeing her feel so good makes me want to just appreciate those moments too. Honestly, we all need to find those moments whenever we can because time just passes so quickly and we miss out on some of the most precious moments because we are already moving on to the next thing. When you can, just STOP. Enjoy THAT moment. The next moment WILL come, but, you will never get back the moment you are in--remember that.
There are hundreds of other things I have learned from my pets--some are less poetic and more frustrating, but, that isn't the point, now is it?! We all have things going on around us all the time...we just need to see the little lessons there are for us in those things, don't you think?!
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush--Associate Broker & Mother of Stella the Dog & Snokie the Cat