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How a Dog Can Make a Good Life Coach


When Sally the boxer mix came into our lives, we knew we’d have to teach her all about how our household works and what was expected of her, and she’d need to teach us all about what she likes and doesn’t like. It’s been going great, and we’re all plenty comfortable with each other.  She even gets along with the cats. (Notice that I said she gets along with the cats – they pretty much just tolerate her presence in their breathing space.)

What I didn’t expect was the lessons I’ve been learning from her.  If you’ve been around dogs long enough, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I had always picked up on how dogs are so forgiving, and that you can talk to them and they never have any judgmental remarks, but Sally has pinpointed some basic flaws in my daily life that we could all benefit from.

Sally never has a “grumpy” day. She wakes up full of joy every morning and greets all of us with a smile and a body wriggling with excitement. She’s just happy to see us. She doesn’t care if our hair’s messed up or if we haven’t dealt with our morning breath yet.

One weekend morning I awoke to the sound of tiny little snorts and snorfles. I cracked open my eyes and peered over the edge of the bed to find Sally laying on her side and “swimming” on the floor. She was obviously quite thrilled to be alive and to have a rug to act like a big goofball on. I smiled and decided that I needed to greet each new day with more enthusiasm.

Sally doesn’t get hung up on her past mistakes. If Sally got into the litter box last night, you wouldn’t be able to tell it today. She’s not sitting around moping because she feels so bad that she blew it the day before. (I’m pretty sure her apologetic look after snacking on cat poop was just for show, but still, I’m trying to make a point here!)

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Sally is always happy with her food. And by happy, I mean ecstatic. I know if I eat the same meal twice in a week I might be tempted to whine about it, but Sally gets almost the exact same meal every day, twice a day, and the only complaint I ever get is if I’ve lost track of time and haven’t fed her yet. Even then, she playfully grumbles at me until I notice her. It sure seems like her way of saying, “No pressure mom, and I love you and all, but I wanted to remind you that it’s dinner time. I’d get it myself, but I can’t work the latch on the container.”

I’m sure those aren’t the only life lessons I’ll be learning from my easy-going, non-judgmental, goober of a life coach, Sally. It’s been a busy day, but right now she’s snoring away behind me. She’s not worrying about what she didn’t get done today – she’s just enjoying her life bit by bit as it comes along. But we’ll talk about that in another article.

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