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What I Learned as a Dog Sitter

What I Learned as a Dog Sitter

For many, having a dog is an important part of life; it reminds us of our childhood and gives us happiness that’s been forgotten. Their cheerful smiles and loud barks when we return home instantaneously put a smile on our faces. We enjoy the company of our furry friends, and we do our best to protect them and care for them.

However, sometimes, we desperately need a vacation, and we can’t always bring our dogs with us, since airlines don’t have the best pet accommodations. This is where a dog sitter’s duty comes in. It is our job to care for these dogs while their owners are gone.  As a professional dog sitter, I realized a few life lessons these animals taught me that helped me in the long run.

1. Love unconditionally and never expect anything back.

Being a dog sitter, I sometimes receive about 10–15 dogs at a time. Some have medical conditions, some are extremely hyperactive, and others are rather docile. However, every one of them faces separation anxiety, as their owner leaves them with us. They often sit at the doorsteps during the first few days, waiting and waiting for their best friend to come back.

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Eventually, things settle down and they find it easier to spend less time on the doorstep. However, the moment they see their owner walking through the doorstep to pick them up, all the frustration, anger, and fear disappears, and the only emotion that exists at that moment is pure love.

Often times, we hold hostility toward our loved ones. Whether it’s due to circumstances or our own ego, however, watching these dogs give out love unconditionally made me realize why it’s important to always forget the hostility and to love unconditionally instead. With no expectations, you’re able to give freely without expecting anything in return.

2. Always listen to your heart and follow your instincts.

As humans, we often deliberate between logic and our conscience; eventually, logic wins, and we ignore the voices of our hearts. We are taught and trained that nothing is superior to logical thinking itself. However, the decisions we make based on analysis and calculations often end up being wrong, and sometimes, they’re irreparable.

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As I observe those dogs, running , jumping, and flying around in the backyard, I realize that they always relied upon their instincts. Usually, when the owners leave their dogs with me, most of the dogs never throw a tantrum. They look straight ahead, deep inside knowing it’s all right, and it’s all going to be fine. Being instinctual creatures, they completely ignore the logical conclusions and make life easier for themselves.

However, as humans, we can’t completely ignore our logical thinking. But we can learn to balance and accept our instinctual parts more. I believe this would give many of us the peace of mind we need.

3. Trust is an emotion felt through connection and communication.

There are moments I’ve noticed some dogs fear their owners may never return; often times, they don’t and it is our responsibility to put them up for adoption. However, most times, you can notice in their eyes, the trust and bond that’s built throughout the years between both parties.

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When the owners leave, you always notice that the dog walks back in proud and waiting for his fellow friend’s return. These dogs often spend their time playing and eating with not a care in the world. Although there were no words exchanged between the dog and the owner, they experienced non-verbal communication that gave them the assurance they need to happily wait for their return.

After several failed relationships, I realized during this job that trust isn’t just a word — it’s a form of communication, bonding, and caring that can only be perceived, not spoken. Hence, these days, I tend to focus on communication rather than assurance; these barking beings taught me that it’s the only way trust can be achieved.

In a nutshell, these are my experiences as a dog sitter. While there were many other significant moments, I believe these are lessons that could help many. After all, we are all here to help and influence one another in one way or the other.

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Featured photo credit: Google Images via cdn.skim.gs

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

How to Reinvent Yourself and Change Your Life

There will always be times in your life when you may need to learn how to reinvent yourself. This could come when you experience a big change, such as leaving your job, moving on from a relationship, transferring to a new home, or losing a loved one. If you are going through a major shift in your life, you may have to find new ways of thinking or doing things, or risk failing to reach your full potential.

“When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

Many people who dared to leave their old unhappy lives enabled themselves to pursue their passions and find a renewed zest for living. You can also achieve the same if you take a leap of faith and make things happen for yourself.

To help you always be at your best wherever you may be in your life, here are some practical tips on how to reinvent yourself.

The Reinvention Checklist

Before embarking on a journey of self-reinvention, you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make the trip bump-proof. These things include:

Resilience

Problems and obstacles are guaranteed to happen. Some of them will be difficult and may knock you off course; the important thing, however, is that you learn from these difficulties, never lose focus, and always get back up. This requires building resilience to get through the tough times.

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Support

Humans are social beings. Although it is important that you learn to rely on yourself when facing any challenge, it is also important to have a support team that you can lean on to give you a boost when things get too tough and to correct you when you’re making mistakes.

The key is to find the right balance between independence and dependence. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and share the difficulties you’re facing. When you open up, you’ll find the people who are really going to be there for you.

Self-Care

During the process of learning how to reinvent yourself, you will have to pull yourself away from your old comfort zones, habits, roles, and self-perceptions. This can be difficult and cause you to question your self-worth, so it’s important to engage in self-care to maintain a positive outlook and keep your mind and body healthy as you face the challenges that await you. Self-care can include:

  • Participating in a hobby you enjoy
  • Spending time with your support system
  • Taking some time to walk in nature
  • Practicing loving-kindness meditation

Find what works for you and what helps you feel like your true self as you seek a reinvented version of you.

How to Reinvent Yourself

Once you’re sure that you’re equipped with all the tools in the self-reinvention checklist, you can begin your journey of learning how to reinvent yourself.

1. Discover Your Strengths

This step provides valuable information on how you deal with certain situations. If you have this information, you will be able to manage difficulties more efficiently.

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To find out what your strengths are, you can ask your friends and colleagues for feedback, engage in self-reflection, or try these 10 Ways to Find Your Own Personal Strengths.

2. Plan

This step calls for a thorough assessment of your current emotional, psychological, and financial status so that you can develop plans that are realistic and practical.

It’s okay to have ambitious dreams, but your plans have to be realistic. Making use of SMART goals can help you plan your life better.

You can also consult your mentor or life coach for practical tips and advice.

Ultimately, you’ll want to create specific long-term and short-term goals that you can create milestones for. By doing this, you’ll lay out a specific roadmap to your reinvented self.

3. Try Things Out

Sometimes, we don’t know if solutions actually work until we try them out. This is why it is important to experiment whenever possible, especially if you’re dealing with a career change. You may need to simply experiment in order to find the things you like. This can be the same with hobbies. If you’re not sure what you would like doing, accept invitations from friends to join them in their favorite sport or take a class, like pottery or photography.

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By seeing what’s out there in any area of your life, you’ll have a better chance of finding the things you enjoy and the goals you want to create.

4. Manage Your Finances Well

Changes may require a bit of money. If you’re shifting to a new career, you may have to pay for training. If you’re going through a tough divorce or having a hard time dealing with the death of a loved one, you may have to pay for therapy. If you’re moving to a new home, you’ll definitely have to pay a whole lot of expenses.

All of these things are possible, but it will require a bit of money savviness as you learn how to reinvent yourself. If you have that cushion, you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your current path to try new things.

5. Muster Your Courage

Fears and self-doubt may arise when you encounter difficulties and setbacks. Sometimes, they may also come when you’re taking risks. You have to manage these negative emotions well and not allow them to discourage you. Tap into your courage and try doing at least one new thing each week to develop it.

Learn how to deal with your self-doubts to move forward in this article: How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It)

6. Use Your Support Group

As stated above, you need to build a strong support group before you even start the process of reinventing yourself. Your group will keep you from taking wrong turns and encourage you when you get too weighed down by problems. Don’t be afraid to call them, or even ask them out for coffee if you need to vent about the current difficulties you’re facing.

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7. Remind Yourself Every Day of Your Commitment

Write your goals on different-sized cards and scatter them at home and at work in places where you can easily see them. This way, you will constantly be reminded of where you want to be. Remember, writing down your goals helps them stick[1].

8. Accept Failure, Learn, and Resume Your Journey

Failing is normal, especially when we’re trying out something new. When you fail, simply recognize it, learn from it, and move on. Failure, in the end, is the best way to learn what does and doesn’t work, and you simply won’t be able to learn how to reinvent yourself if you don’t accept the inevitable failures that await you.

Final Thoughts

If you truly want to learn how to reinvent yourself and live the life you desire, take the advice above and start taking action. It will take time, patience, and plenty of effort to make the change you want happen, but it will be all worth it.

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Featured photo credit: Ashley Rich via unsplash.com

Reference

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