5 lessons on happiness from the doggy door
It was eighteen months after I lost Maxy my old Golden Retriever that I was finally ready to consider adopting a second dog into our family and creating more happiness in my life.
I had not forgotten or stopped loving my fur baby Maxy but my heart had grieved and healed and was now open again and ready to shower love over another fur child. However, I pondered and worried for hours about whether to get a puppy or a more mature dog, I had only ever had a dog from a puppy and this is what seemed normal to me.
My life was very busy and I was concerned I would not have the time to devote to a puppy and its training needs, working at a vet clinic part time I fully understand the commitment to a puppy or for that matter any dog.
I thought an older dog may just slot in and easily adjust with my time schedules. I was open to the universe to help me decide. I sat in a meditation for 30 minutes one night and the answer was presented to me on a silver platter, no puppy for me at this stage of my life. I needed an older dog, one that was already trained and could just move on in.
So that night I was flipping through the Pet Resuce website. It is a little like a doggy dating website, it gives you a picture and a rundown of their characteristics, good and bad traits. Suddenly there she was. A black Labrador named Princess Chelsea, 12 years old. Her big brown eyes were looking at me through my iphone and pleading for me to give her a home. In that instant I knew how this scenario was going to turn out.
After sending a midnight email to the rescue organisation I went to bed hoping to hear something the following week. In the morning it was like xmas, I had a message that she could come and visit me that day. I prepared the house for my visitor and later in the day, confident as ever, she was parading down the driveway, with her few belongings and no place to call home.
The minute she looked at me, and crossed the threshold I knew she would never leave again , my eyes welled up. As I said I just knew, it felt right. She had found her new home, a place to lay her head and a lap to lay it in. She instantly became my third fur child, and I like to believe was sent to me by Maxy.
Here are her top 5 tips on happiness.
1. Possessions don’t count
With only her lead, collar and teddy bear, and arriving in a strange place did not stop her from using her manners, saying hello, licking, sniffing, checking out the environment and looking for treats. Besides from a few nerves and adjusting to her new environment it didn’t matter what she had in her handbag, it only mattered that she had someone to love her that she could love in return.
She has since added to her possession count as I tend to spoil them, but she is just as happy with the basic necessities to live a life full of love and happiness. She teaches me it’s what’s in your heart not your handbag that matters.
2. Don’t act your age
I adopted a 12 year old dog with a 5 year old outlook on life. She has the energy of a youngster and runs around stealing the ball from Suzy, my other dog and teasing her with her cheeky ways. She has endless licks to hand out to any stray arm or leg. She still manages to churn out what I call psycho runs at the dog park.
She will walk for at least an hour and keep trotting up and down the tree lined suburbs never appearing to tire. Her tail works overtime and she always shows how pleased she is with any attention or interaction. She really does live and enjoy every delicious moment to the full, with a puppies outlook on life. She teaches me to stay young and never feel old, age is just a number not a way of being.
3. Learn new things
When she arrived she had very good doggy manners and I was very lucky that she did just slot in as part of the family to our families ways. There was one hiccup; she obviously had never seen a doggy door. She would not go near it and completely shied away from it when she heard it banging open and shut. Luckily she brought her true Labrador ways and with smackos in hand and time spent together, it only took a few weeks before she was sailing in and out of the door on her own, especially if dinner was on the other side.
In human years Chelsea is about 84, maybe older for a big dog, but there is no way she has given up on life and learning new things. I think if there was a doggy university she would be signing up with a woof and off to get her Diploma in some doggy passion, maybe something to do with eating. She teaches me to continue to learn and grow every day.
4. Make people laugh
I call her Chelso the Welso and she really is very funny. When people arrive she will look for something to pick up to greet them with at the door, usually this is a shoe. I think she was trying to play hide and seek the other day when after searching for 30 minutes, I found one of my shoes in the garden bed amongst the dirt.
I also call her the toe tapper extraordinaire, if you scratch her in just the right sport she will toe tap around in circles. I can watch her for hours and laugh, she has some funny traits. She is just happy to be in our presence and see others happy and laughing, for her that is being in the moment doggy bliss. She teaches me to have fun, don’t worry what others think and make others feel good about themselves and laugh. Then laugh some more.
5. Be yourself and be excited about life
Her tail literally doesn’t stop, it’s this little solid stocky 30 cm wagging device. If you use a different tone or look at her the right way it amps up and goes at double speed. It does its waggy duty when we prepare for a walk, when we go into the garden, if I move, at dinner time, when I speak to her, when she gets asked onto the couch, when she wakes up, when its cuddle time.
Basically anything, everything is exciting and she is happy to show you she is excited. She is just herself in a doggy world. She teaches me to be excited by life, do a little wiggle, be me and enjoy.
People say she is lucky to have escaped the potential of a dark and lonely shelter life and finding her new doggy home with me, to spoil her for her last few years. But they don’t understand that I am the lucky one, in such a short space of time she has taught me so much and brought me so much unconditional love and infinite joy.
Living a doggy life may not be as easy for our human variety but I am sure we can learn much from our furry companions and integrate it into our lives to find more delightful moments and miracles in our everyday lives.
Thank you Princess Chelsea for coming to live with me and making my life brighter. I love you so very much.
ADOPT an older dog, provide a home to one who has none, share your warm couch and house, provide a place they can lay their head and close their eyes where it is dry and safe, knowing when they wake they will still be loved and cared for. Let them reward you tenfold with an abundance of unconditional love, lessons galore and never ending doggy happiness.
Please leave me a comment below on the one tip on happiness your dog teaches you.