Life lessons from a dog

January 2020 – Guest author Pranburi Wang Phong

Bark and sniff from me - Pran, the dog! Today I'll share some essential life lessons with you. It's time for humans to get advice on enjoying life more and stop worrying so much.

I'm a two-year-old Thai rescue dog and live with my mom, Andrea, and adopted older sister, Truffles, in Thailand. My life didn't start well, like so many of us have to suffer here, especially in childhood. Thailand is a tough place to grow up, but luckily some friendly humans like my mom understand us and let us take care of them. She helps many of my friends out there in the streets, but we are her babies.

When I was only weeks old, some adult dogs attacked me and nearly killed me. A man working in the pineapple field where I lived found me and took me to a dog rescue lady. I had to live in a kennel for several months to recover until I finally could start enjoying my childhood.

Then I came to something they call a foster home. Twenty-two other dogs had a home there or waited for someone they could take care of. But there was one special lady. She smelled so good. And I could feel right away that she got me. All I wanted was to give all my love to her! She seriously needed me! I also needed to get out of this pack; not enough attention for me. It took a little time and lots of snuggles to convince Andrea to adopt me. She finally understood my importance to her life quality and made it official. It was the best day of my life! Well, I have the best day of my life nearly every day now.

My mom had quite a tough time in the first year we lived together. It's my job to protect my human and to give her comfort, to love her unconditionally, and show her the beauty of life. I have rescued her from being alone too much and not feeling so good. She knows I'm always there for her, no matter what. Mom also takes good care of my sister and me. I was sick for a while, but she did everything possible to make me feel good again. She even cooks for us!

My rescue human is the best! (Just to point this out, because some humans don't understand this: I have rescued her, not the other way around. But I'm okay with it.)

Enough about me; this is about you, humans! You need to understand a bit more about life! You can learn so much from us. I know you think you're intelligent, and we depend on you. Yes, that's right, because we need your love and snuggles and the delicious food you give us. But this isn't essential for us; we do that to be happy. Making you happy makes us happy. And if you don't believe me, there are even scientific researches about it!

Most valuable life lessons from a dog

My Mom is doing this thing called "blog," and I've asked her if I could reach out to you humans and share some advice with you. Here you go:

1. Unconditional love

One of the essential life lessons you can learn from a dog is unconditional love. I might still be young, but I've already seen a lot in my short life. What I don't understand about humans; they do things for others only to get something in return. It's not how love works. Today you wag your tail to someone who might not wag back. You shouldn't expect anything in return if you're kind. The right things come back to you in another way.

There is nothing wrong with sniffing someone in a friendly way but getting a growl back. Maybe that person was in a bad mood. There's still the possibility that they remember you sniffing friendly and wagging your tail earlier, which makes them happy later. If not, why do you care? It's about being friendly; if you get something in return or not.

Wagging your tail makes you happy with yourself and many others around you. Don't look back, and don't give up because only one person growled at you. Move on to the next and wag your tail again. You will eventually get the love back you're spreading out. Don't waste your time on the ones who don't appreciate your kindness. But don't be mad at them. Everyone has their reasons.

If someone does something to you you don't like, don't growl for too long. Move away for a bit, leave them alone, and then return and wag your tail. This person may have a hard time and didn't mean to be unfriendly to you. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with you; they only need a little support. Just lick their hand, look at them with your big eyes, and forgive. Don't waste any time being angry with someone. You don't have time for that.

2. Live in the moment

Humans worry so much. I wish I could tell them how wrong it is. Be mindful of everything you do. Here and now.

If you're walking, having fun with your doggy friends, hunting squirrels, and reading the pee-mails (sniffing), or if you're at home having a precious nap, enjoy 100% what you're doing right now. Don't think about other things. If you do, you cannot find peace and happiness in anything you do.

What is the purpose of doing what you're doing if you don't appreciate it? I don't get that. Humans always say how intelligent they are, but sometimes I seriously doubt that. You might be able to do math, speak many languages, or cook (which is beautiful!). But you can't be happy with what you have here and now. What's the point?

This brings me directly to the next tip:

3. Say what you need

Do you want a cuddle? Go to the other human or your dog and get it. Everyone likes snuggles! Or do you need more attention? Go and get it. Just be careful how you do it, be persistent but slow, and take your time. I bet the other human sitting on the laptop for more than four hours already needs a break! Take care of them and give them a snuggle. You love them, right? So show it! What you need, the other human or your dog might need, too. We are not so different. Usually, we all want the same, and that's love!

4. Don't judge

Another thing I cannot understand about humans is that they are very visual animals; people process a lot through their eyes. For example, they see my Mom, and some react a bit funny, without even sniffing her.

I can only assume why because she smells so amazingly delicious and is the most beautiful human in the world. Her skin looks a bit different than the other humans. Mom has many pictures on it, and her head fur looks different. I don't know if that's why they sometimes judge her. If that's the case, it's so stupid. You must sniff deeply into someone to see if it's a good person. And check out how they treat you. If they respect you, pet you friendly or throw a stone at you or hit you with a stick. If they do the last, just walk away.

We dogs don't care if a fellow pooch is a so-called breed dog or what color their fur is, how big or small, or how old they are. We like you if you show us that you want to play and smell lovely. It's all about having fun, right? If we don't agree with each other, we sometimes fight a bit, but then it's over. Simply walk away.

If people do something you don't understand, it doesn't matter. Sometimes we don't get why people do what they do. We don't need to understand everything. If it doesn't hurt anyone, what's the problem? Simply accept it and wag your tail. I'm sure my friends and family don't always understand me. But they still love me, no matter what. And this is what matters.

5. Don't care what others think

I don't think about what others could think. I do what makes my mom, my sis, everyone I meet, and myself happy. If I want to do some goofy things, who cares? I usually look cute, anyways.

For example, my sister doesn't want to play with me. But I'm not giving up; I don't care what she thinks. One day she will see that I'm fun, I love her very much, and she will play with me. I know deep inside she loves me, too. I love to spread my happiness.

No one sticks in another dog's paws, and you don't know what's going on in them. Just do what makes you happy and spread your happiness. If humans understood this simple way of life, we all could be much happier.

6. Be adventurous

Try out new things, and sniff as many butts as you can. This is how you grow and learn.

I'm scared in the dark, but I follow my sister Truffles more often, and she shows me new places I can explore. At first, I'm afraid, but then I'm getting excited about all the new impressions and smells. Sometimes you need to take the risk of a snake sitting in the dark grass to reach that beautiful smelling rotten bone.

Only if you get out of your comfort zone and leave your well-known security, you find out new and fun things. I am scared of snakes but trust my excellent nose to smell them before I get too close. What if there's no snake at all? I would have never found that bone! Or I would have never met the neighbor's dog, who is sooooo handsome!

7. Be forgiving

My sister often growls at me when I come too close while she's sleeping. In the beginning, I got angry and growled back. But I started to understand that she was grumpy because I woke her up and she was scared. Fair enough, she's a lot older than me, has been through quite some stuff, and needs rest. I'm not mad at her anymore.

Or the two stupid dogs in the neighborhood. They think they own the complete compound, but Truffles and I told them off. We had quite some fights. They seem to understand now that we live here, too, and leave us alone. The other day I was running over there and tried to make friends. They are not ready yet, but we don't fight anymore. We accept each other. I don't blame them. I didn't like it when they came to our gate and threatened us - at home! They understand this is not what we can accept and don't come over anymore. Life's too short to fight. Either you're trying to be good with others or simply leave them alone.

8. Be loyal

To be loyal is something humans seriously have to learn! I protect my mom and my sister, no matter what. Even if my sister starts a fight, I must stand beside her and help her. We never walk alone! We can sort it out later, telling her she was wrong to start the fight. But at that moment, we are sisters and have to stick together.

If someone comes too close to my mom with bad intentions, I will protect her, whether that person is pleasant to me or not. My loved ones need to know I will always be loyal to them.

The neighbor dog tells me to come with him - and I have a severe crush on him - but my mom calls me to go back inside. This means I will go back inside with her, even though I would love to stroll with Mr. Handsome. Mom rules, she's my leader, and I love her so much. I can see my boyfriend later.

9. Be kind

Being kind to everyone is easy - for me, at least. If you approach someone grumpy with a growl, of course, they are not friendly to you. Always wag your tail when you meet someone. You call it smile. Who knows, it might be a new friend! If you're nice to everyone, everyone's kind to you. Well, not everyone but most. Think about it: If someone wags his tail at you, you automatically wag back. It's contagious.

10. Have regular naps

It's crucial to have frequent naps! You need to relax more and charge your batteries. I have to tell my mom so often! But unfortunately, she doesn't listen enough. She's too busy and needs to do this or that. And then she's not happy because she's so tired.

If you're tired, you can't think straight and concentrate on the delicious odor. And another reason for naps is snuggling. Snuggling as much as possible is good for your overall mental health. Or groom each other; that's bonding. Just take more time for each other without any distractions. Put that bloody phone away!

My Mom says I'm writing too much; this post has become too long.

But humans, listen! There is so much more you can learn from our dogs! You have to relax and enjoy the moment! I will talk to mom if I can write another post for you to share more life wisdom with you. We dogs want you to be happy, and we can help you with that!

Go and cuddle your dog now. What? You don't have one? You need one! So many friends of mine don't have a home and a mom or dad, and they are ready to rescue you. If you want to support puppers like me in Thailand and the beautiful work those humans do there, have a look here.

Have a nap. Enjoy the sunrise. And every moment.

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