August 13, 2015

What Can a Dog Teach Us?

One of my favorite newsletters is Next Avenue, Sponsored by Twin Cities PBS, it started publication four years ago. During its first several months I was hired to write a few articles, but that isn't why I like it. The newsletter has developed into a product I am proud to be associated with. The information is insightful, varied and  interesting. If you haven't seen Next Avenue recently, click here for the web site.

Donna Sapolin is the managing editor and regular contributor. Last December she authored a post based on a photographic essay of old dogs, and the lessons they can teach humans. Our dog, Bailey, is 3 years old. One of our daughters recently added a dog to her household. So, when I read Donna's article I was already open to part of its message: that there are six admirable characteristics of dogs that human would be wise to consider:

Adler Jean Lowry (our daughter's cocker puppy)

1. They live totally in the moment. Dogs have a very different concept of time than we do. If you have ever owned a puppy you know that to be true. It may be bedtime for you, but the puppy can't read a clock. If he is ready to play, then so are you.  Whatever happened earlier today or yesterday is forgotten. They instinctively grasp the importance of now.

2. They never stop expressing love and devotion. Whether you are gone from home for 30 minutes or three hours, the tail wagging and pure joy is the same. What if we were the same (without the tail-wagging) with the important people in our life?

3. They do what they love to do. Dogs don't use excuses. If she wants to run, chase birds or a Frisbee, there is no consulting a calendar or checking a clock. There is no time like right now to do what she loves.

4. They don’t use a physical problem as an excuse.  A dog never says, "I have a headache", or "it was a tough day at the park, I think I will just sleep now, if you don't mind." Their human owner offers, they accept. 

5. They stay as active as their body will allow them for as long as they can. An old dog will move more slowly and spend more of each day sleeping, but he will still want to greet you upon your return home and still want to play. There is no quit with a dog.

6. They don’t fear death. Of course, dogs don't have a concept of what it means to die. They can't think about the future in that way, so they don't. Life is meant to live without playing the 'what if" game. 

Bailey understands the importance of  naps

The original article is here: Next Avenue: Six Admirable Characteristics of Dogs


  1. My dachshund has epilepsy, arthritis and is losing his teeth...yes, we make quite a pair...but he still thinks he's the man.

  2. Our dogs have always been "rescues" (from a shelter or headed there) and I volunteered in our local animal shelter for awhile, so the other thing I've learned is resilience. Because they live in the moment, even the shelter dogs I worked with totally enjoyed the connection with whoever was walking them or playing with them.That ability to forget the past was amazing!

    On another note, SO glad to see you back, Bob. Because I had checked your blog every morning, I didn't have you tagged in my email browser so it took a month or so for me to catch up with the fact you had returned. I did, however, have a wonderful marathon read as I caught up.

    Welcome back!


    1. I am so glad you came back. I enjoy your thoughts and participation, Pam.

      The dogs that suffer the worst abuse at the hands of their owners do have the ability to respond with love and devotion rather quickly when loved in return.

  3. We have a 'princess' and a 'jester' who keep us entertained daily. Can't imagine not having them and I don't trust people who don't like dogs. Love the pic of Bailey with the stuffed animal!

    1. Dog people make good humans! I agree completely. Since the picture was taken Bailey has sent the stuffed toy to another life.

  4. Well, I agree with all except perhaps No. 5, Our dog hates to go outside, and sleeps 25 hours a day, 8 days a week.


Inappropriate comments will be deleted