November starts the holiday season and general chaos with parties, travel, shopping and end of the year events. It also gives us a reminder to pause and be thankful for all that we have. All too often, we forget to be thankful for what our dogs bring into our lives.
Dogs give us unconditional love. There’s a saying that always makes me laugh: Lock your spouse and your dog in the trunk of your car overnight; which one will still be happy to see you in the morning? I’m not advocating doing that, but you get the point.
Dogs forgive all our mistakes.
Forget to feed them? They understand and will be happy to eat when you do feed them. I’m thankful for that unconditional love.
Dogs teach us to take time out of our busy schedules to just be. Have you ever just watched a dog? They can sit around and do nothing and be content.
How many of us can do that? In a busy world, with cell phones and over-extended schedules, just doing nothing seems like a luxury sometimes.
When one of our dogs puts his head on my leg for attention and I spend five minutes just petting him, my troubles stop for those five minutes.
I’m thankful I can just “be” with my dog.
Dogs teach us to enjoy the power of a good stretch. Do y’all remember what a good stretch feels like? If not, stop reading and do it right now.
One giant stretch to loosen your muscles and relax your soul feels good.
Dogs know their power and how it revives you anytime of the day. I’m thankful my dogs taught me to enjoy stretching and grateful I don’t have to stick my rear end in the air like they do.
Dogs give us comfort. We might remember this one because all too often in this hectic world we look to our dogs for a sounding board or a hug at the end of a hard day, trusting them when no one else seems trustworthy.
Our dogs are there to listen, to accept us as we are and comfort us through the rough patches. I’m thankful for their comfort.
Dogs teach us gratitude. I’ve never met an animal more grateful for affection. I can be gone five minutes or five months and my dogs are still overjoyed when I return. That makes me feel good.
How do you feel when you walk in the door and your dog goes crazy in appreciation of your return? Loved? Appreciated? Accepted? Wanted? When you return from the grocery store with food, your dog looks at you like you are a mighty hunter.
The pride in your hunting skill that shines in their eyes is appreciation for a job well done. Even when no one else in the house might appreciate it, the dog does. I’m thankful for that gratitude.
With all dogs give us every day of the year, take time out of your day to repay the favor. Spend some time with them this holiday season and remind them why you are so awesome and deserving of their love, affection, comfort and gratitude.
Kathryn Leisinger is the “dean of wags” at School of Wags, a nonprofit dog training and rescue organization.