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What Pets Can Truly Teach Us Humans

What Pets Can Truly Teach Us Humans

pets can teach us

    Having been a dog owner since 1979, I can claim with absolute confidence that pets have an uncanny ability to teach us humans certain things better than any person can. If you are willing to allow pets to become part of your personal development team, here are some of the things that they can teach you.

    True Unconditional Love

    Dogs are especially good at teaching us what unconditional love is. They love you no matter how much money you make, what kind of car you drive (or lack of one), how bad your hair is and what kind of day you’re having. When you come home, they are always glad to see you. They are always going to be with you no matter how rough life gets (in contrast to many humans unfortunately).

    This is true unconditional love.

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    Even if you accidentally hurt them during a grooming or nail clipping section, they always forgive you. All they ask for in return is food, shelter and attention. Dogs in particular, give you tons of love back and personally, I think us humans get a pretty darn good deal out of this arrangement.

    Teaching Us Responsibility

    Pets in general are great teachers of responsibility, especially for children. When a new pet arrives at home, very soon the kids will learn that there is a huge responsibility in pet ownership. That cute puppy or kitten is not like a stuffed toy that can be left alone when you are finished with it. Instead, it makes noise, it pees, poos and barfs. It also rips things up and requires a lot of consistent training.

    Failing to realize this responsibility has unfortunately resulted in many unwanted dogs and cats left abandoned at the animal shelters. This is a real tragedy. I personally think that all prospective pet owners should be educated on pet ownership before taking in a live pet.

    The successful households with pets who do learn a lot about how to properly care for them will be immensely rewarded. The kids who actively help in the care of pets will likely grow up to be responsible adults too.

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    The Tough Lesson Of Compassion

    Interestingly enough, we also learn about compassion through our pets but unfortunately, it is always a very difficult lesson as it is taught near the end of our beloved friends’ lives. I learned this lesson especially hard with my first dog Pepper.

    Pepper’s health was plunging pretty fast in his 15th year due to Cushing’s Syndrome. A specialist vet recommended against surgery because of Pepper’s age. Pepper soon became quite uncomfortable as he started to yelp on a frequent basis. I didn’t know what to do as I was confronted by this situation for the first time in my life. I was also too hesitant to put him to sleep as I thought that his discomfort would just be temporary.

    In fact, my own reaction was so bad that I actually got mad at him for being so noisy. Then one morning when I got up, my other dog Max was waiting for me at my bedroom door. This was quite unusual as my two dogs were usually together somewhere. I found Pepper in another part of my home as he had passed away during the night.

    Then I realized that my hesitation and delay in putting him to sleep, caused my precious friend unnecessary suffering. In fact, this is one of the very few regrets that I actually have in my life. I should have taken the right action as soon as Pepper was hurting.

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    This tough lesson of compassion enabled me never to make such a big mistake again. When it was time for Max to go, I listened to my vet. When he told me that Max was suffering, I didn’t hesitate this time. I did however, request that I be there.

    During the euthanasia procedure, I held Max so that I was the last thing he saw, smelled, heard and felt. I wanted him to know that somebody who loves him was there to say goodbye rather than to leave him alone with strangers in a cold, clinical animal hospital setting.

    This time, although extremely painful, I knew that I did the right thing out of compassion, thanks to the lesson Pepper taught me.

      Henry Peter Smith (Chris's puppy)

      Precious Lessons Our Pets Teach Us

      So you see, unconditional love, responsibility and compassion are very precious lessons that pets can teach us. As an author, I dedicated my books to Pepper and Max for being the greatest teachers I’ve ever had. And now I carry the lessons they taught me over to my current dogs, Chester and Roxie, a high maintenance brother-sister team (but extremely rewarding).

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      I really believe that pet ownership can play a big part in our personal development. As long as we do the right thing by getting properly educated about the realities of caring for them, pets can be among the greatest teachers in your life.

      I would love to get your thoughts on your own experiences with pets and how they have taught you as well. Please comment below.

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      Published on July 15, 2019

      10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

      10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

      Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

      Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

      At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

      You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

      That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

      So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

      1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

      Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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      Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

      2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

      Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

      This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

      However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

      3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

      I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

      With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

      4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

      This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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      Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

      For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

      5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

      A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

      It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

      6. Walk as Much as You Can 

      Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

      Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

      When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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      7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

      How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

      But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

      For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

      8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

      No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

      When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

      9. Practice Self Care 

      Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

      The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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      10. Embrace Learning 

      You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

      Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

      I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

      Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

      If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

      Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

      So start making your life better — today!

      Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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