Monday's Musings: Life Lessons I've Learned from my Dog

by Mary Denman                Twitter: @MaryDenman            Instagram:@MaryFDenman

Up until a year ago, I was a pretty much a cat person. 

I really wasn't interested in having a puppy and there was no way I'd ever think I could learn life lessons from a dog. 

Sure, we had dogs growing up, but I wasn't interested in all the work.

I always thought of cats as easier to care for than dogs. I just wasn't interested in having to take a dog out for walks and clean up after him. 
Cats are quiet and dogs bark. 
Cats keep themselves clean and dogs need baths. 

With 5 kids and 4 cats already, a dog wasn't even in the picture. 

Until my daughter, who had already endured 2 knee surgeries in 2015, started begging for a dog once again. She had asked for a puppy for years and we had said no. Too much work. But as we approached her third knee surgery of the year, something changed. Something intangible. We said, "We might consider getting a puppy." 

What made it more crazy was that she would be leaving for college 8 months later. 

But my daughter researched a breed that was small but didn't bark. (Because I had so many migraines, a barking dog wasn't a good idea.) One that loved people and was extremely loyal and cuddly. She found Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Then we saw the price tag. It looked like a no go. 

She and my husband scoured the internet and we found a couple of puppies that were ready to be placed in a home. And they cost far less than most. I called the breeder on the way to the city where my daughter would have her 3rd surgery. I explained we would like to come in a week or two since my daughter would be on crutches and need tons of care post surgery. The lady was very sweet, but couldn't hold the pups without a non-refundable deposit. But since she lived 3 hours away, we just couldn't do that without seeing the dogs first. Which one would we even pick? So, I said we'd get back to her. I hung up a little sad. Would they still be there in a few weeks? I didn't know. 

My daughter had surgery on that Friday. We drove her back home and on Saturday morning, she insisted my husband and I go get the puppy. She was in awful pain and needed help. We said no, but she insisted her oldest sister could take care of her just fine. My eldest agreed. 

So, off we went. 

Funny side note. This week, my daughter questioned me about why we went the day after her surgery. She didn't remember insisting we go! We figured that was because of the pain meds! 

Liam picked us when we got there. 

He crawled up in my arms while his brother ran around like crazy, and the deal was done. We had our puppy.

Since Liam entered our lives a little over year ago, he has taught us so much.  

Here are some life lessons I've learned from my dog. 

Unconditional love. He's so happy to see me. No matter what. Whether it's been 5 minutes or two hours, he gets so excited when he hears me coming. It doesn't matter what mood I'm in, he loves me. Unconditionally.

It's okay to get excited and show it. I love how he wags his tail so hard that his whole rear moves with it! He dances and jumps with excitement to see me or to play. I need to dance more! 

Enjoying the outdoors is wonderful! He's gotten me outside. I really enjoy watching the seasons pass, day by day, as I take him for his walks. Before Liam, I didn't notice the changes as much. It really gives me time to think and enjoy the sunshine. 

Exercise is a great thing! He's gotten me off the sofa and more active. I love to take walks with him. I love to throw balls with him. 

It's good to focus on someone else. He needs me. He can't let himself out, or get his own food and water. It feels good to focus on him. 

There are new things to appreciate in life everyday. He sniffs the air and the ground and gets excited about new things he encounters. He get excited over blowing leaves. His days are never dull and just about any little thing can make him excited. 

I need to play everyday. He has such a playful spirit. Whether it's playing ball, or jumping for strings he loves to play. I find I relax when I take the time to play with him. 

Joy is contagious. When he's so happy to see me every morning and every time I come home, it makes me happy to see him. His joy spreads. 

Cuddling is therapeutic. I love when he plops on my lap or cuddles up on my legs. Especially if I'm not feeling well. It's comforting to have him there. 

Liam's taught us so much and I can't imagine not having him. He even got along great with the cats from the beginning. He and Lady are fun loving buddies. 

I'm thankful our daughter kept asking for a puppy. He's been a far bigger blessing to us than I expected! 

What life lessons have your pets taught you?

Life Lessons I've Learned from my Dog (click to tweet)

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  1. Our crazy poodle is half King Charles Cavalier that's the adoring side. I recognise all these traits you mention Mary, the sheer excitement for life is wonderful, I certainly miss having him in our lives as we've left him in Australia with the kids!
    Wren x

    1. When hubby and I went Europe for 10 days this past summer, I was surprised how much seeing people with their dogs made me miss Liam even more!

  2. Aww what a lovely story Mary. I got Mollie on a day I was really ill and had been in A & E all day. I kept asking my husband for a dog and one day when I was really ill and weak my husband drove me straight from the hospital to pick Mollie. He knew how much I wanted a dog and how happy she would make me :) Dogs show so much love don't they. Lovely to see you stop by my blog Mary, hope you are well :)

    1. I had no idea that's when you got Mollie. I remember thinking, privately, that I didn't want all that work of a puppy.....of course, that has changed completely!

      Dogs are so therapeutic! Well, so are my cats! I love having them all!

    2. Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays Mary, you are one of my features this week :):)

  3. Haha! Mary I've always had dogs and was never interested in cats. That is until my son got one. Now I melt at the sight of him. I guess each species has its own special qualities.

    1. I am an equal dog and cat lover! And I"m happy they get along so well!

  4. We learn SO much from our pets Mary - they are SUCH a blessing to us!
    Thanks for sharing your inspiring article with us - I love it when you write about your cats and dogs! :-)

    1. Thanks Ramona! I have enjoyed Meghellan and Tsunami's stories as well!

  5. When I was a kid we had a German Sheperd and when she passed away of cancer, my parents bought me bunnies. Now we still have bunnies with my daughters and love them so much! Pets, I think any kind, can really teach us a lot! Your pup looks like such a sweetheart! Thank you for sharing at Sweet Inspiration!

    1. They really do Katrin! I used to have parakeets and cockatiels before kids. They had their own personalities!