• sarawelburn

10 Things We've Learned from Our Dog

For those of you following along with our #GreatMedicalSchoolAdventure (or were one of the lucky few to get one of like 15 Christmas cards) then you'll know that 2 months ago we adopted Happy into our family, our little snuggle pup as we call him. He's a 3.5 year-old yorkie mix rescue that has filled our home with weird noises, laughter, and many ~many~ weird facial expressions. Over the last two months, Kyle and I have learned a lot from Happy about forgiveness, human (and doggy) nature, and choosing our own happiness despite what life has thrown at us. We narrowed it down to a list of ten things to share with you guys, but honestly there is so much that we're still learning from our little dog.

Life is so much simpler than we make it out to be.

Life for a dog is so simple; eat, sleep, run, jump, sniff. Kyle honestly thinks that the most complicated part of Happy's life is deciding which bush to pee on (the answer is all of them, in case you were curious). Bush decisions aside, our lives aren't all that different from a dog's. We have those same basic needs of eat, sleep, exercise (both body and mind), relationships, etc. We as humans just choose to make them much more complicated. Well, let's choose to un-complicate them. Let's choose to see life through the eyes of a dog, and recognize that many of the issues were'e facing and working through each day usually have quite simple roots and simple solutions. Not all of them, but most.

We can CHOOSE to be happy despite difficult pasts

Happy was rescued 7 months ago from a hoarder's home in Houston. For the first three years of his life he lived in a tiny cage suspended from the ground with five or six other dogs. Every single one of those other dogs is extremely aggressive and mean. But Happy isn't. Despite his horrendous experiences living in that hoarder's house, he is one of the happiest, snuggliest (that's a word, right?), sweetest dogs I've ever met. My niece was quite intuitive when she named him Happy. In turn, he has taught me that we choose how we react to the situations in which we've been placed. Happy has chosen to be happy and enthusiastic about every little rock, tree, creature that he comes in contact with each day. My goal for the new year is to be just as enthusiastic about the life God has blessed me with despite the difficult experiences I've had in the past.

Forgiveness can be and many time should be instantaneous

Kyle has this habit of hiding in dark rooms, calling Happy into them with the promise of a treat, and then scaring his little pants off by jumping out at him. Happy jumps like a foot in the air and then comes running back to me on the couch, refusing to even look at Kyle for like half an hour. But after that half hour has passed, all memories of the incident are forgotten and Happy is curled up in a ball on Kyle's lap while he studies. Many other times, forgiveness with Happy is instantaneous: I accidentally step on his foot when he darts in front of me, we forget to fill up his water dish, we leave him alone for a few hours while we're at church allowing him the chance to eat an evil chocolate orange (it's happened). Despite those crimes against him, Happy is more than willing to forgive and forget, offering his full love to us. If we were all a little more like Happy, the world would be a much simpler and loving place.

The amount of time and attention you put into the relationship is what you get back ❤️

Some people have told us that having a dog is quite similar to having a toddler. Obviously it's not exactly the same, but one similarity that we've recognized is that on the days where we give Happy the time and attention he needs, he is better behaved and listens to directions exceptionally well. On the days that we don't take him on a long enough walk, don't play with him enough during the day, or ignore him too much, he gets into things he shouldn't, growls and whine more, and is just an overall menace instead of a joy to have around. Much like a toddler. And most days that's dependent on the amount of time and attention we put into our relationship with him. The wonderful thing about dogs is that they will love you whole-heartedly until the end of time, if you put forth the effort necessary. People aren't all that different. The more time and effort you put into a healthy relationship, the stronger it will be and the more joy will come from it. Choose to give enough of yourself. Choose to pay attention to what matters.

If you give an inch, people will take it... and then another one

Happy has developed this habit of trying to sneak into the bedroom (where he's not allowed) inch by inch 🤨. He'll lay down on his stomach right outside of the doorway and every few minutes he'll army crawl another inch onto the carpet, slowly but surely moving into the bedroom until we catch him and make him go back out. But no matter how many times we send him out, he'll wait until our back is turned and start army crawling back in, inch by inch. He's reminded us that it's human nature to push the boundaries, to push for what you want even if (and sometimes especially if) you're not allowed to get it. It's something that Kyle and I have determined that we want to fix within ourselves. This propensity to push for what you want despite the rules is relatively innocent when it's just Happy wanting to come into our bedroom, but it's something that can be much more dangerous and harmful.

There is ALWAYS enough love to go around.

Although I am clearly still the favorite (cough, cough, Kyle), Happy has taught me that when a new person enters into your life, your heart grows to make room for them. You don't love the people who are in your life any less, the amount of love in your heart just expands to include them. I think that sometimes we get a little proprietary in our relationships. Sometimes when a new family moves into the neighborhood, or a new my mom wants to join your group, it's easy to be a little scared of being replaced or of losing something. But Happy has reminded me that we have this amazing capability to love infinitely.

You can never have too many NAPS or SNUGGLES.

This one is pretty self explanatory, right? Time for puppy snuggles!

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