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10 Things Dog Owners Would Like To Thank Their Dogs For

10 Things Dog Owners Would Like To Thank Their Dogs For

The actual definition of a dog is “a four legged animal that is often kept as a pet or used for hunting” but they are so much more than that. Dog’s are creatures that come into this world knowing how to unconditionally love without it being taught in some sort of life lesson. They forgive, they love, they cherish everything (actually, they cherish anything). More often than not, we as owners–no, as humans forget to thank them for everything they share and teach us. This is a thank you for all dogs: homeless, pets, working, show dogs and every one of you in between.

Thank you for:

1. Your Friendship

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    Thank you for your companionship. There is no other friend quite like you and I thank you for that. You are there with me through everything even though you don’t really have a choice in the matter. You woke up one day and BOOM, you have a owner. So, thank you for being my assigned friend and not making such a big fuss about it.

    2. Your Happiness

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      This is specifically for when there are periods when I am alone in this world. I am thankful I have you. When I am across the world away from home, you are there. You are there to cuddle with on a night in with some movies and snacks. A lot of people out there are missing their other half because sometimes the job takes them to places we can’t go, and you understand that people need an extra ray of sunshine. You greet me with a smile knowing smiles are contagious.

      3. Your Love

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        Loving unconditionally is something a human needs to learn. Some have an entire lifetime and still are buried without the ability to love unconditionally. Thank you for being born with that trait. I may yell at you because you ate a tasty little morsel (my shoe) that I left out in the open for you but you are still there trying to say “Sorry, I love you”. It absolutely amazing that you and your kind can be so in love with another being just because we exist. Thank you for loving me for who I am not for what I have (even though it seems like you listen better when I have food).

        4. Your Enjoyment in Simplicity

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        dog-stick

          Thank you for teaching me to take joy in the simple things. You take something as simple as a stick outside in the field and treat it like it was a gift, made specifically for you. Your joy and excitement for that stick has taught me to always enjoy the little moments. Enjoy the times that I have with my loved ones, the sun shining on a warm day, the rain, the breeze and basically everything. You have taught me to enjoy these little things because in the end, that is what we remember the most.

          5. Your Moments of Laughter

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            This is for all of the little moments on those no good, awful, terrible and unlucky days that you have made me laugh. I know you don’t intend to fart in a moment of silence or fall off the couch while in a deep sleep but I thank you for it anyways. Thank you for being silly enough to startle yourself awake with your own farts.

            6. Your Empathy

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              I don’t know what it is about dogs that give you the ability to see into other people’s souls, but thank you. Thank you for seeing directly through me and feel what I feel. You understand that am having a crappy day because they killed Walter off of…. well I don’t need to tell you, you were there. In all seriousness, you were there for all the ups and downs in my life and understood I just needed someone there. Thank you for trying to make the tears go away with doggy kisses (not talking about Walter anymore by the way).

              7. Your Patience

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                Thank you for being a little rascal during dog school and embarrassing me during your class because who couldn’t use a bit more patience? Thank you for teaching me to wait, because you have not found the right spot to poop (even if you look at me with those judgmental eyes as if I should not go to the bathroom in the house because we live there).

                8. Your Protection

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                  Thank you for protecting me from the wind outside, the bird that flew by and the kid on the bike across the street with your loud thunder-like barks. Even though I think you may run and hide like me if there is ever anything going on, I feel safer with you around.

                  9. Your Help

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                    Thank you for your help with cleaning the floor and making sure anything that drops is picked up in a timely fashion. It is a great help since I hate sweeping. Also, please thank your friends in the K9 units helping police officers and soldiers and thank your cousins that work as dogs to help the blind and the ones that just need a companion to feel happier.

                    10. Your Forgiveness

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                      Thank you so so much for being forgiving. I know that there are crappy human beings out there that don’t treat dogs very nicely and I am sorry. Thank you so much for being so forgiving and never losing hope in finding a forever home because you were given back a couple times. In addition, thank you for not holding any grudges and not expecting me to give you back the moment you stepped foot into my home.

                      Featured photo credit: Jackson/ M. Agbayani via flickr.com

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                      Margielyn Musser

                      Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                      Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

                      In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                      Step right up, don’t be shy!

                      Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

                      The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

                      Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

                      Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
                      So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

                      A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

                      Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

                      Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

                      When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

                      Culturally Conditioned

                      We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

                      I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

                      The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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                      Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

                      Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

                      Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

                      1. Broadens Your Network

                      After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

                      2. Improves Your Communication Skills

                      I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

                      Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

                      3. Continually Learning

                      So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

                      Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

                      4. Increases Self Confidence

                      Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

                      Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

                      So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

                      How to Talk to Strangers

                      Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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                      1. Say Hello

                      Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

                      Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

                      Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

                      2. Ask About Them

                      Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

                      You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

                      As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

                      3. Just Do It

                      One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

                      When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

                      Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

                      4. Don’t Take It Personal

                      One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

                      When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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                      5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

                      I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

                      One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

                      6. Detach

                      A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

                      Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

                      7. Share Your Stories

                      Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

                      To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

                      So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

                      8. Give a Compliment

                      Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

                      When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

                      9. Relax Your Body Language

                      If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

                      When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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                      If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

                      10. Practice, Practice, Practice

                      Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

                      Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

                      After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

                      The Bottom Line

                      As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

                      There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                      Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

                      Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

                      More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

                      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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