A year ago today, I made the decision to take on the responsibility of raising and owning a Cavalier King Charles puppy, whom I decided to name Cooper.
Cooper's first birthday was just a couple of days ago, and I was inspired to write a post on all the important lessons I have learned from owning him. I hope to convey just how much joy a dog can bring to one's life.
While raising a puppy can definitely be a difficult and time-consuming task, all the hard work is worth it.
1. The beauty of unconditional love
A dog will love you no matter what, through thick and thin. He will love you on your best days and your worst, and he will love you regardless of your looks, your money or your body shape.
He will even love you if you accidentally step on his tail! You can trust that a dog's love is secure and always there; isn't that what humans strive for in relationships?
2. Live each day with excitement
My dog's morning walk consists of the same route around my neighborhood, yet, regardless of how many times we have walked that exact route, he never gets bored of it.
Dogs generally remain curious about everything they walk past, even if they've walked past it 100 times before. They always look around at all their surroundings and stay in the present moment instead of getting lost in a cell phone screen.
3. Put yourself out there
The notion that you shouldn't talk to strangers on the street fades when you are with your dog, as he can essentially serve as a conversation starter. Everyone wants to stop you and ask about your dog, say hello to your dog, etc. You never know what strangers you may become friends with.
I have developed friendships with a lot of strangers I would have never spoken to if I didn't happen to walk by them with my dog on that particular day.
According to an article on the Huffington Post, a study done in 2000 found that people who walk with their dogs have three times as many social interactions than when they walk alone.
4. Importance of boundaries
Dogs do well when they have a structured daily routine and are aware of the rules. When rules are clear, dogs behave well and don't end up begging, having accidents in the house or behavioral issues.
The same should apply to us; when we enforce clear boundaries, we will be able to determine what is and what isn't acceptable behavior. Boundaries lead to healthy relationships and connections.
5. Appreciate the simple things
Dogs appreciate the smallest things, such as a walk around the block or a trip to the dog park to play with others. They appreciate you coming home to them, and they show that appreciation by bouncing up to you and attacking your face with kisses as soon as you enter the door.
6. Trust your intuition
It is so easy to listen to words, yet ignore our inner feelings. Dogs are led by their instinct, and they rely on their intuition. We, as human beings, are capable of doing that, too, and should try to focus on paying attention to what our gut tells us because in the end, it's usually right.
7. Express love every day
Dogs will never fail to display their love for their owner. Every single day, they will be wanting your attention, licking your face and wagging their tail upon seeing you walk through the door.
The minute I shed one tear, Cooper runs over to me and attacks me with kisses. This has shown me that expression of love is important and brings happiness to both your life and others.
All in all, I am a firm believer that if you are a true dog lover, owning a dog can bring so much joy to your life. A dog is called "man's best friend" for all the reasons listed above, and many more.