Living with a dog changes you. Since it’s just Duke and me at my apartment during school months, I have had a chance to really bond with him. I truly think that he makes me a better person, and he is the BEST stress reliever (doggy kisses after a terrible exam? game over)! Here are a few of the many things that Duke has taught me.
Betrayal never feels good, but holding grudges takes a toll on your mind and soul. If Duke can forgive me for keeping him locked in a crate all day while I’m in class, then you can forgive your friend for lying. Trust me, you’ll feel better.
4. Make Time For Exercise
This is a big one. I am admittedly pretty lazy (and so is Duke), but we are infinitely happier after a short walk. I can tell that it lifts his spirits, and I know that I feel better after getting my heart rate up a little bit. Take a walk or go for a bike ride a few times a week, and you will see your mind open up in ways you didn’t know were possible.
3. Be Yourself
Dogs never try to be anything but exactly who they are, and I think us humans could take a few pointers from them. I know that I always feel better when I’m not pretending to be something I’m not, and I find that most people do this more than they should. People will love you for who you are, and if they don’t then they just aren’t the people you’re supposed to fill your time with. If I ever start to feel myself falling away from who I truly am, I remind myself that I’m the only Me who has ever, and will ever, exist on this Earth, and I should own the $#%! out of that! (And then I do.)
2. Trust Your Instincts
Fact: If it feels wrong, it probably is. When I was in high school, my best friend was three years younger than me (she’s wise beyond her years, if you knew her you’d agree). When she was looking at colleges last spring, I told her exactly what I’m saying to all of you. If you don’t feel confident about something, don’t do it. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Duke doesn’t go near things that he thinks might be dangerous, and now I don’t either. This could apply to anything in life, but always just trust your gut and you will never steer down the wrong course.
1. Love With All You Have
Okay, everyone with a dog is familiar with this one. Duke loves everyone he meets and almost everything he sees, and it is such a beautiful thing to witness. I had a book growing up (and if you know the name, please remind me!) that said “fall in love with one thing every day.” Whether it is a place, a food, a feeling or a person (or a dog, duh), just try to love something every day of your life. If you love the world, it will love you back. And if you love a dog, he will lick your face. I’ll let you decide which is better :).