The simple lessons I’ve learned from my dog

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As I write this, my furry best friend is laying at my feet. 

The twelve-pound Bichon Maltese that we elected to name “Oliver” has become the center of attention in my family. 

Resting his sweet brown eyes, his tiny feet are tucked underneath him perfectly. Just because he seems peaceful at the moment doesn’t mean he isn’t waiting for the perfect opportunity to bark at something; the thing causing his uproar doesn’t even have to be living. I envy the time he has for himself.

It may not seem too significant, but just the little bit of puppy love I get from him every day is enough to keep me going in strenuous weeks. The best part is how Oliver can sense my need to be loved. He knows when I need it most; I strive to be as unconditionally loving as him. 

The day I found out that we were getting a dog was the day I almost passed out from excitement because this was something I had been longing for as soon as I knew what a puppy was.

When I go over to someone’s house, I am still one of those people who just chill with the dog rather than choosing to go interact with other people. Oliver teaches me that having someone to sit with me makes me feel a little less lonely, even if no one says anything. 

My little puppy is observant; he never misses a movement. He has learned to notice everything from his days spent looking out the window at the birds or the delivery trucks. He’s learned to know sound cues; specifically, he links certain sounds to when he gets food. Even the sound of a bag of cheese opening sends him sprinting across the room.

I would consider myself to be a fairly observant person, but one aspect I can improve upon is stopping to notice the little things. Taking the time to see the little things in the world around me could open up new opportunities and allow me to notice viewpoints that I would have otherwise looked past.  

Oliver lives for the little moments in his life. He doesn’t care what will happen tomorrow or even later that day. I am the opposite. I try to plan ahead and seem to always worry about what will happen in the future. I wish I lived in the moment more, and Oliver is a reminder for me to slow down and take it all in. 

An activity that takes up most of my dog’s day is resting. I can’t say that he’s sleeping because, oftentimes, he’s just laying in his bed observing the wide world around him—as wide as our house can be to a dog. He spends a good amount of time in one of his beds around our house. 

I totally get it. He loves to be comfortable, and who doesn’t? However, for the amount of time and activity I spend doing school, extracurriculars, and other commitments, I don’t think I allow myself to rest nearly enough. My rest versus action balance is not equal, the polar opposite of how Oliver spends his days. 

These little habits and traits of my dog may make his life seem mediocre and, for lack of a better word, dull. However, by taking in everything and everybody around him, he is able to be a quiet observer that gets the attention and love he needs. He doesn’t overwork himself or let worry take over him.

Nevermind how uneventful this may seem, he still loves his life.

I strive to let myself breathe, enjoy the little moments, and get the most out of life, just like my dog’s simple existence has taught me.