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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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      Last Updated on December 3, 2019

      How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

      How Setting Personal Goals Makes You a Greater Achiever

      Achieving personal goals deserves a huge amount of celebration but setting these goals in the first place is a massive achievement in itself.

      While the big goals serve as a destination, the journey is probably the most important part of the process. It reflects your progress, your growth and your ability take control and steer your life towards positive change.

      Whatever your goal is, whether it’s losing 20lbs or learning a new language, there will always be a set amount of steps you need to take in order to achieve it. Once you’ve set your sights on your goal, the next stage is to take an assertive path towards how you will get there.

      The aim of this article is to guide you through how to take action towards your personal goals in a way that will help you achieve them strategically and successfully.

      1. Get Very Specific

      When it comes to setting your personal goals, honing in on its specifics is crucial for success.

      It’s common to have a broad idea of where you want to go or what you want to achieve, but this can sabotage your efforts in the long run.

      Get clear on what you want your goal to look like so you can create solid steps towards it.

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      Say you have a vision on retiring early. This goal feels good to you and you can envision filling your days of work-free life with worldly adventures and time with loved ones.

      If retiring early is a serious personal goal for you, you will need to insert a timeframe. So your goal has changed from “I’d like to someday retire early and travel the world” to “I’m going to retire by 50 and travel the world”.

      It may not seem significant, but creating this tweak in your goal by specifying a definite time, will help create and structure the steps needed to achieve it in a more purposeful way.

      2. Identify the Preparation You Need to Achieve Your Goal

      It’s easy to set a goal and excitedly, yet aimlessly move towards it. But this way of going about achieving goals will only leave you eventually lost and feeling like you’ll never achieve it.

      You have to really think about what you need to do in order to make this goal possible. It’s all very well wanting it to happen, but if you just sit back and hope you’ll get there one day will result in disappointment.

      Self-managing your goals is a crucial step in the process. This involves taking control of your goal, owning it and making sure you are in a great position to make it happen.

      In the early retirement example, this would mean you will need to think about your financial situation.

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      What will your finances ideally need to look like if you were to retire early and travel the world? How much money will you need to put into your retirement fund to retire at 50? How much extra savings will you need to support your travels? You could also start researching the places you’d like to travel to and how long you’d like to travel for.

      Outlining these factors will, not only make your goal seem more tangible, but also create a mind shift to one of forward motion. Seeing the steps more clearly will help you make a more useful plan of action and seeing your goal as a reality.

      3. Breakdown Each Step into More Manageable Goals

      The secret to achieving your goals is to create smaller goals within each step and take action. Remember, you’re looking for progress, no matter how small it may seem.

      These small steps build up and get you to the top. By doing this, you also make the whole process much less daunting and overwhelming.

      In the early retirement scenario, there are several smaller goals you could implement here:

      • Decide to make an appointment with a financial advisor asking what financial options would be available to you if you were to go into early retirement and travel. Get advice on how much you would need to top up your funds in order to reach your goal on time.
      • Set up and start to make payments into the retirement fund.
      • Research savings accounts with good rates of interest and commit to depositing a certain amount each month.
      • Make sure you meet with your financial advisor each year to make sure your retirement plan remains the best one for you. Research new savings accounts to move your money into to reap the best returns in interest rates.
      • Start investing in travel books, building up a library that covers where you want to go.
      • Think about starting a language course that will help you get the most out of your travel experience.

      4. Get Started on the Journey

      Creating a goal planner in which you can start writing down your next steps is where the magic happens. This is where the real momentum towards your dream starts!

      Create a schedule and start by writing in when you will start the first task and on which day. Commit to completing this small task and feel the joy of crossing it off your list. Do this with every little step until your first mini goal has been reached.

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      In the early retirement example, schedule in a meeting with a financial advisor. That’s it. Easy.

      As I mentioned before, it may seem such a small step but it’s the momentum that’s the most important element here. Once you cross this off, you can focus on the meeting itself, then once that’s ticked off, you are in a position of starting a profitable retirement fund…and so the momentum continues. You are now on your journey to achieving your dream goal.

      5. Create an Annual Review

      Taking a step back and reviewing your progress is essential for keeping yourself on the right track. Sometimes you can be moving full steam ahead towards your goal but miss seeing the opportunities to improve a process or even re-evaluate your feelings towards the goal.

      Nominate a day each year to sit down and take a look at your progress. Celebrate your achievements and how far you’ve come. But also think about changing any of the remaining steps in light of new circumstances.

      Has anything changed? Perhaps you got a promotion at work and you feel you can add more to your monthly savings.

      Do you still feel the same about your goal? It’s normal for our desires to change over time and our personal goals need to reflect this.

      Perhaps you’d like to take someone new with you on your travels and you need to take this into account regarding timelines. Are there any new steps you want to add as a result?

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      Remember, reflection is a useful tool in realigning your goal to any changes and it’s important to keep on the right trajectory towards it.

      Strive to Become the Best Goal-Setter You Can Be

      Having personal goals gives you purpose and the feeling of becoming a better version of yourself.

      But it’s the smaller steps within these big goals that the growth and achievement really lies:

      • Whatever your goal is, make sure you get specific on when you want to achieve it. This helps you focus on the necessary steps much more efficiently.
      • Research the actionable steps required to get to the end result and…
      • Break these down into smaller, manageable goals.
      • Create a daily or weekly schedule for these smaller goals and start the positive momentum.
      • Reflect each year on your goal journey and purpose, readjusting steps according to changes in circumstance or desire.

      Keep going and always have the end goal in sight. Remember the ‘why’ behind your goal throughout to keep you motivated and positive.

      More About Setting & Achieving Goals

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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