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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 November 4, 2020

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

Self-improvement doesn’t have to be big mind-blowing changes; it can actually be simple steps to improve upon what you already have to get you where you want to be.  However, what you will need is consistency, determination and wiliness to try some things that will stretch and challenge you.

Rather than setting your sights way off into the future, which leaves you feeling like you’ll never make it, you can start following these simple and effective self-improvement steps today.  So if you want to make an immediate impact on your life and are willing to take action, then keep reading— you’ll going to love these!

1. Be willing to work hard.

As with anything in life, if you want something, you’ve got to work hard to get it.  This doesn’t mean you burn the candle at both ends, leaving you exhausted and leaving your personal life in ruins.  It merely means that when you want something badly enough, you’ll put in the time to get there.  Action is what’s important here and the more ‘inspired’ the action is, the better the results in the end.

2. Make sure you have friends who you can talk to.

Sharing the load is important as with any self-improvement. If you can communicate with others and get feedback on how you are doing then that’s great.  We all need ‘cheerleaders’ in our corner to keep us going when times get hard, but you also need to have people who will tell you how it is even when you don’t want to hear it.  So make sure you have a good support network around you, especially those people whose opinions you respect.

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3. Adapt to your circumstances rather than over-thinking them.

Sometimes, we can hit a hard period. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or your partner has left you.  Instead of over analyzing the situation, learn to adapt to your circumstances and accept them as they are.  It’s not about making your circumstances into some kind of a drama; remember, what you focus on expands which means you’ll get more of it.  You then don’t become your problems and you’ll feel a lot less burdened by them.

4. Ensure that you use your time wisely.

Time is of the essence, some might say; whilst others will say that time is an illusion.  One thing we do know is that you have one life on this planet, so how you use that time is of the utmost importance.  So how can you use your time wisely? Only you know how to do that, but look at how you currently spend your days: do you sit working all day, get home, eat and then sit slumped in front of the TV for the rest of the evening?  Your time on this earth is precious, so isn’t it time to make use of the time you have left? Try something new, go for a walk, learn a new language or meditate but make sure it’s something you absolutely love.

5. Always be consistent.

A wonderful way to self-improvement is to make changes to how you do things.  For example, with your friends, are you always the unreliable one who bows out of an arrangement just before it happens? Or are you someone who starts a new exercise routine and then stops doing it 3 weeks into it?  Whatever it is and whatever you do, always be consistent. When you make a commitment, stick to it. It will improve your life immeasurably you’ll feel more confident and happier with yourself, especially because you’ll know that whatever you tackle, you’ll be able to consistently do it!

6. Go and find your happy place.

No, I’m not saying “place” as in popping to your local bar or restaurant and gorging yourself on your favorite drinks or food. What I’m saying is to find out what you love to do, what makes you happy and go there.  Your happy place is a place where you find peace, where you lose yourself and feel contented.  Meditation is a great way to find your happy place; it brings you back to you and ensures that you are always living in the present moment.

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7. Make sure you embrace all your emotions.

In life you are going to find that it throws you some difficult challenges, sometimes it will bring out your fears and lead you into uncertainty, and other times it will be joyful.  It’s important to embrace all emotions that come up in your life, embrace them wholeheartedly and understand why they are there and then let them go.  Try not to dismiss or resist them because remember “what you resist, persists,” so embrace them each and every time.

8. Always be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone for some people can leave you paralyzed with fear; however for any changing in your life, your comfort zone will always have to be stepped out of.  It doesn’t have to be something big, like doing a sky-dive or something just as crazy. However, it’s worthwhile to change something that you’d once have feared, like going to the cinema on your own or eating at a sushi restaurant when the thought of trying raw fish which would normally mean you running for the hills.

So try something new—it doesn’t have to be wacky, but it has to challenge you!

9. Be on hand to help others.

Whether it’s helping a stranger on the street or a family member or a friend helping someone else either in their time of need, lending a helping hand is a wonderful and simple self-improvement to make.  Giving to others is not only beneficial to those you are helping but also to yourself; it can give you a sense of purpose, of contribution and also takes your mind of your own troubles and worries.

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10. Live in the present moment.

A wonderful self-improvement tool is to live in the present moment, to live in the now.  It is within this moment that you’ll appreciate all that you have and see the beauty in the simplest of things.  Being mindful of your current circumstances and bringing your mind back to where it belongs will bring about a happier way of life instead of constant worry or stressing about the past or future—both of which do not exist. Only the present moment exists. When you get used to living that way, you’ll never want to go back!

11. Learn something new.

There is nothing so liberating as learning something new; it can lift both your confidence and self-esteem and give you a great reason to meet new people.  If you continually top up your brain activity by learning something new all the time, you’ll feel on top of your game and want to share the knowledge you have learned. There is nothing quite so empowering as learning a new tool in life that can either improve your circle of friends or raise confidence levels—or both!

Reading is also a great way to help you learn something new:

12. Exercise daily.

This seems an obvious one, but exercise is so important not only to your health but also to your spirit.  We all know that after exercise, the world can feel a brighter and more positive place, so why don’t we do it more often?  Exercise isn’t about getting the perfect body or losing weight; it’s more about feeling good inside and out!  With a healthy body comes a healthy mind—so start something today. Even if it’s just a daily walk, it’s better than staying on that couch, again.

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13. Go to new places, travel a bit.

I’m not saying go fly off to some far away distant forgotten land—although you can if you so wish. It’s more about going to new places and experiencing life outside of your own back yard.  Too many of us stay in one place too often. We only see the same people, the same streets and do the same things each and every day.  If you want to improve your life, get out there and see the world and what it can offer.  You can start by going to a town or city you’ve never been to in your own country and checking out the architecture, the landscapes and the people.  Anything new is good, so get out there!

14. Listen to uplifting music and dance.

If there’s one thing that can really improve your life and get you excited about it, it’s listening to great uplifting music and dancing.  When was the last time you really let go?  Let it all hang loose and got into a piece of music and let yourself go?  Dancing, like exercise, makes you feel great. It releases all kinds of emotions and can make you feel unbelievably good.  Self-improvement isn’t all about the serious stuff; it can be something as simple as finding new music, music that inspires you and makes you dance and have fun!

15. Get up earlier than normal.

This is the last one, and it’s last because it’s one of those self-improvement tips that we all know is a good thing, yet we seem to avoid it at all costs!  If you think about it, the earliest part of the day is when your brain is most active because it’s been turned off for the last 7 hours or so.  So don’t you think it’s best to get all those things above done in the morning?  Things like exercise, meditation and dancing, which can all be done in the first part of the day.  Take it from me: this early morning stuff can really get your day started with a bang!

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Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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