Lindsay and Nate’s dog, Missy. (Credit: Love Me Do Photography)
Three years ago we welcomed an adorable mutt, Missy, into our family. We thought we were rescuing her and teaching her how to acclimate to a new way of living. We watched Missy blossom into her own unique being, but along the way I started taking notes from Missy’s instinctual behavior. Here are the life skills I learned from Missy.
Walk with Confidence: Missy doesn’t know self-doubt or insecurity. That seems to be a predominately human trait. When Missy walks, she walks with “wagger” (my new word for dog swagger). Other dogs respect her because she walks with her head and chest up, exuding confidence. I’ve tried to apply this behavior to my own posture at work. In my mind I picture that I’m the most powerful person in my department and I walk like I imagine that person would. I feel more powerful as a result, and I think other people really respond to that. I’m going to continue to walk with purpose and hope it walks me right into a promotion.
Be Present: Being present can be a huge challenge for most people, and I am no exception. I’m a planner and focusing on what is happening right in front of me is difficult. I will often pass up on opportunities for recreational enjoyment because I feel an impulse to be productive and work towards long-term goals at all times. Missy has no such concerns. She focuses on enjoying what she’s doing right now. This is an enviable trait that I hope to bleed into my everyday life (with varied success). The trick is to find a balance.
Acknowledge Everyone: I think this is a lesson many people could stand to learn. Although dogs may acknowledge each other in ways not desired or condoned by humans, the idea of acknowledging others is important to consider. Think of the weirdo in your office that refuses to make eye contact with you in the hallway. Chances are that one little behavior has a real impact on how you view that co-worker. Don’t be that person. Be friendly, smile, nod. The worst that happens it that your weirdo co-worker doesn’t acknowledge you back, and that’s their loss.
Keep Your Best Friend(s) Close: Many dog owners joke that their dog is their shadow. Missy definitely has her favorite people that she attaches to, and who can blame her? When you like someone, you want to spend time with them and be there for them. Make sure you know who the people in your life are that will be loyal to you and make sure they know you are always there for them. Please don’t physically stalk them like Missy does to me.
Find Outlets for Your Playful Energy: Every dog has his or her own idea of fun. When we adopted Missy, we bought her scads of chew toys and tennis balls just to learn that Missy’s idea of a good time is sniffing every square inch of the sidewalk and peeing on every tree. While those would be weird hobbies for a human, the idea is that you need to find what you enjoy and make time for it, even if other people don’t understand why you enjoy it.