When I am totally stressed out, it’s my dog that gives me inspiration.  When I am feeling run off my feet and overwhelmed with my to-do list, working long hours, and barely fitting in family responsibilities, it’s the lazy, laid-back, perfectly content manner of my dog that I long to have.  I took a moment not long ago to examine what it is exactly that I admire in my dog.  Here’s what I came up with…

1) My dog absolutely loves her life and she expresses her love for it with abandon.  There are times in my life when I have to admit that I have reached that certain point with obligations, responsibilities, and work, where my love for life starts to erode.  And in those times, I can’t seem to walk past my dog without noticing the stark contrast between her enthusiasm for life and my lack of it.

2) My dog loves her people, and everyone is her people.  She is so happy to see each and every human being who walks through our front door and welcomes them like they are just the person she was hoping would come over.  She is delightedly engaged with anyone who will talk to her or pet her.  You know, when I am busy, the last thing I want are people coming through my front door or phoning to shoot the breeze.  Not nice.

3) My dog always gets her needs met.  When she is tired, she just lies down and gets herself a little nap.  And when she’s done, she wakes up and has a big old stretch that you just know feels good.  When she’s thirsty, she finds water wherever she can get it (and I mean, wherever she can get it) and quenches her thirst until it’s gone.  Sleep, stretching, sustenance…ah, these things seem so far away when I am over-the-top busy.

4)  My dog doesn’t just enjoy going for walks, she lives for going for walks.  The leisure, the exercise, the fresh air, the socializing with other dogs, the romping, the exploration of the same old ‘hood like she’s never seen it before, the claiming of territory (aka peeing on every tree and post) – these things give her meaning in life.  As for me, there are times when I find myself questioning, why am I doing the myriad of things that I am doing?  Where did the joy go?

When my dog’s life starts to seem better and more content than my life, that’s the point at which I have to admit that I am too stressed out and too busy.  I always want what my dog has; a love for life, a desire to connect with people, the ability to get my needs met and a joyful sense of purpose in life.  And now that I’ve said this, I can make it happen.  I can pluck out of my schedule what doesn’t need to be there, I can delegate, I can give my time to my friends and family, and I can do those things that make my spirit sing and give meaning to my life.  Thanks Tilly, you’re a good dog.