A dog is a friend you can trust who will never leave your side no matter what. They are forgiving and faithful, loving and lazy, but that’s why humanity loves them and why they are rightfully labeled man’s best friend. The way they live life to the fullest and without regrets is how I derived my personal philosophy. This I believe: everything you need to know about life you can learn from a dog.
My teacher of choice is a basset hound named Dudley. Just as his name implies, he has a unique personality and never does what’s expected. From the beginning when he would trip over his ears, we somehow knew that his entering our lives would change them. Dudley knows what he wants and never gives up until he gets it. Whether it’s something on top of the fridge or getting into a 4 foot high trashcan, the fact that he has short legs and a few extra pounds doesn’t stop him from reaching for the stars, or in his case the dog treats. His determination in spite of obstacles is something to be admired and his passion is something everyone should strive to achieve. If one has any doubt in this truth, he has never seen Dudley jump seemingly impossible heights to attain something anybody else would condemn as hopeless. There’s something to learn from his effort to reach his own happiness.
Yet another aspect of life in which a dog has schooled my family is what we as humans put value in. Family is something that humans can take for granted, but as our dog, Dudley sees it his canine duty to bring us together through unprecedented means. This is usually either through doing something so outrageous that the entire household feels compelled to be a witness or something along the lines of lying down in front of the back door as to stop us from going through our day mindlessly without thinking about how much we love and value each and every member of our family. On top of this, Dudley loves random yet mundane things, such as plastic bowls, tassels, feathers and plug-in air fresheners. Appreciating objects others would normally overlook, our dog finds the small things in life to be spectacularly amazing. Through this he makes sure we stop and smell the roses, so to speak, and take the time to appreciate the trivial things we have.
While many view our dog as half-witted, I know this is not the case. If one searches, they can find golden specks of knowledge in the way Dudley lives his life. It might not be plainly apparent but if my life was a Star Wars movie he would be my Yoda. Furthermore, the lessons previously mentioned don’t even touch the surface of the wisdom that is Dudley. But they make one think about how much we could learn by looking at the way dogs live their lives, this I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.