I’m not someone who believes that everything happens for a reason.
We can debate that over a glass of wine sometime, but I truly think the world is full of chance and randomness.
I do, however, believe that there is a purpose to every single thing that happens. In most cases, that purpose is to teach a lesson.
Lately, I’ve been feeling incredibly sad. I’m not going to dive into a whole political debate (see aforementioned glass of wine), but the state of affairs these days is disheartening at best. Combine that with daily stress, work stress, few consecutive hours of sleep, and all those other pressures we all face day in and day out, and I’ve been feeling run down. Beat up. Burnt out.
And that’s just not me.
So, I did what I always do in these low moments: I turned to my herd.
And I started to think about all the lessons they’ve each taught me along the way, and I was reminded just how flipping lucky I am and how grateful I feel every single day. Now, Violet could earn herself her very own post for all my gratitudes (OMG, you guys, she now has FOUR TEETH and she gives kisses! KISSESSSSS!), but I’m focusing on the furry herd for today.
I’d love to hear from you, too, about what lessons you’ve learned from your pets along the way. Good, bad, scary, ugly, poopy (often literally), what have you learned from the pets who have graced your life?
Here are a few of mine:
Emmett taught me about open-heartedness. He never met a stranger. Did I ever tell you about the time the significantly-inebriated woman stumbled up to us shouting and yelling and falling all over herself? She propped herself up on a fire hydrant and stared at us. Emmett stood there. He stared back at her, just wagging his tail, until she sort of calmed down and then stumbled away. I was anxious, tbh, but he was just like, “Look! A lady! Let’s be friends!” He taught me that kindness for the sake of kindness should be the rule of the day, and it makes everyone happier to be around kindness. And that stubborn mule taught me patience beyond measure. I love him for that.
Lucas taught me to look far beyond the surface of someone to truly understand and relate to them. What you see as toughness or fear or anger or aggression or defensiveness on the outside very often masks a deep pool of sensitivity. Looking beyond that mask is the only way to really understand someone. He taught me that, no matter what’s on the outside and whether it’s authentic or not, the soul never lies. He taught me to dig in and dig deep, and to laugh always, but especially when you do something naughty. I love him for that.
Cooper taught me about limits. He taught me to understand limits, but he also showed me the value of stretching them a little bit now and again. Just when I start to consider a situation from the “oh, Cooper could never do that” angle, he proves me wrong. We work together and learn together every single day, and he reminds me again and again the most important lesson about limits: They don’t define you. He may not ever be a restaurant-patio dog, and that’s fine. He’s a running dog, a backyard-chase dog, a hiking dog, a Violet-minding dog, a kitten-loving dog, a fun-loving-ball-chasing-trick-learning-snuggle-giving-kissing dog. His limits aren’t who he is–no one’s are. I love him for that.
Newt taught me that you always, always have to be you. Unwavering, unapologetic, authentic, and true to yourself and your spirit. She is just so Newt all the time. With her, you know what you’re going to get in just about every scenario, even if that means having your hand nipped because she wants to sit on your keyboard right now, thank you very much, so you can work later. She lives an authentic life. I love her for that.
Ripley… well, Ripley’s lessons are still unfolding, but I can say this: Ripley taught me that there’s no reason ever not to have fun. So far, that seems to be her life’s work: to have fun. We’ll see as she gets older, but her goal in life is to enjoy every moment of it. If there’s a second of downtime, she snatches a toy and dashes around the house with it in her mouth. If anyone pets her, her purrs start at full force. You’re brushing your teeth? You better believe she’ll be sitting in the sink playing with the faucet or the cap to the toothpaste! I love her for that.
There’s so much more to learn from them, you know? This is just scratching the surface, but they’re certainly the highlights that sprang to mind for each of my little furry charges. I think, no matter how each day unfolds, the reality is that I’m incredibly grateful to have these idiots to keep me grounded and in the moment.
How about you? What lessons have you learned from your pets, past or present? Please do share them in the comments! I can’t wait to read them!