5 Life Lessons My Dog Taught Me | The BridgeMaker

5 Life Lessons My Dog Taught Me

By on Apr 21, 2013

life lessons from my dog

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself. – Josh Billings

Growing up we always had a dog. In fact I don’t remember a time when there wasn’t one roaming around the house.

My mom always had a thing for Collies, but for a sixth grade project I took on raising my own NEEDS dogs to help disabled people.

I was in charge of taking a small golden retriever puppy, named Marlin, and training him to be a guide dog.

To make a long story short, I did a great job considering I was only twelve years old, and my little guy had bad hip joints which prevented him from passing and moving on with the program. As a result, my family got to keep him.

And nothing has been the same since.

Marlin has been a huge positive force throughout my life. He has taught me many things that have improved my life and the way I view each situation. Here are five of the most important life lessons Marlin has taught me:

  1. How to be care free.
    Every day I take Marling for a walk and every day I notice a new sense of freedom in his walk. He has absolutely no worries and is happy no matter what is going on.

    To be able to live my life in this same way, with this same attitude of lightheartedness, has been the best blessing.

  2. How to laugh.
    Laughter is so amazing and nothing lets you do that like a silly dog chasing his tail around in circles or rolling around in the snow. When I throw Marling snowballs, I can just sense his joy and it becomes my own. He puts a smile on my face and laughter in my heart.

    Laughter is an essential part of having a dog; they do so many absurd things. Sometimes I like to just sit outside and watch Marlin roll on his back with his legs in the air. It makes me giggle inside every time.

  3. How to let go.
    Dogs seem to have this thing that allows them to bounce back after each situation, good or bad. It seems like Marlin just knows how to go with the flow and knows that everything is going to be alright.

    At times I struggle with letting go and being free, but it comes easier when I know Marlin can do it. If he can, I can.

  4. How to accept.
    Acceptance just comes naturally to Marlin. He loves everything. He doesn’t care what he looks like, how he comes across, or how his fur is turning grey.

    Whatever it is, Marlin lets it be. He just knows that some things he can’t change and he accepts that.

    I have battled a lot with my own body image in the past, and seeing how carefree and accepting Marling is, allows me to practice my own acceptance and love towards both myself and others.

  5. How to love.
    Even though dogs can’t express their feelings, Marlin seemed like the exception. He always wanted to be by my side wherever I went. He was always there for me, loving me with complete unconditional love.

    Even if I yelled at him for peeing on the plants, he would still come back to me and kiss my nose day after day.

    That is true love for sure and one I hope I can carry with me for the rest of my life.

Marlin has easily been one of the best things that has come into my life. I have been blessed to have him and learn so much from his love and affection. I have always considered him to be my best friend and I am grateful for that.

He will always be my buddy and I will always love him.

Learn to live like a dog, and let yourself be free.

Tayla Anne is a writer, jeweler, and artist who has recovered from anorexia nervosa after nine years of struggle. Her blog, She’ll Be Free is a nurturing place where she writes about her experiences and how others can gain freedom through self-love and acceptance.

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Love this post Tayla. I find that dogs can make such a difference in my life as well. I’ve a Boston Terrier for almost nine years now and she is definitely part of the family. We can all learn so much from our dogs.

    • Tayla

      Cathy, yes I agree! Dogs can teach us so many things and just their love in our lives can make a huge difference.

  • Thanks for this Tayla it reminds me of a dog I take care of for a friend. His name is Buddy and he is hugely hyperactive, that is why I relieve his owners of him – so they can have a break. The relationship I have nurtured with this small animal has been incredible to experience as it is the first unconditional love I have ever had. He loves me totally for who I am. I think only a dog can do this for you. He helps make my life complete! Like you I have learned a good deal from watching and loving my little friend.

    • Tayla

      Buddy sounds amazing and and like a blessing for you. Dogs are so good at unconditional love and it does make us feel more complete in our lives!

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