There are some really important things I have learned from my husband's dog. I was never a dog owner growing up. So I never really knew or loved a dog until I met Roxy. She has taught me some valuable life lessons for personal health, businesss success and relationship well being. Here are four of them.
1. Always do the 'downward dog' stretch before going out for the day. We hold significant messages from our emotional brain, in our body. We hold onto much more tension than we are aware of, and this stretch really helps with that. It's probably the foundational stretch of any yoga practice. I have been going to yoga classes for years but I recently noticed that Roxy does it better. She sticks her butt higher and reaches her front paws out further and when I try it the way she does it, it's a much deeper stretch. I'm sure my yoga instructors also do it that way. I'm just saying I understood it so much better when I imitated Roxy.
2. When you sense an opportunity, give it your focus and be there when the door opens. When Roxy wants to go out, she'll lie on the mat by the front door. If one of us comes nearby, she'll watch carefully. If we go to the closet, she'll leap up. If we reach for our coat, she'll quickly stretch (downward dog of course) and hurry to the door. She puts her nose an inch from the door knob and does not move, does not lessen her focus, regardless of how long it takes for us to get ready. I sometimes smile. There is no way that she is going to miss the opening of that door. The second the door cracks open her nose is through it. She never misses an open door if her goal is to get outside. And her goal IS often to 'get outside' where there are so many more opportunities.
3. If you want affection and attention be clear about what you want, and also be understanding, available and mostly content while waiting. Roxy loves affection and attention. Maybe even more than food, and that's saying a LOT. Sometimes she will come over and wiggle her head under my hand to make extra clear what she would like. She will put her paw on my lap. She has no trouble communicating her desires for attention. When I pat her, she makes little happy noises that my son compares with our cat 'purring'. If it's not a good time for me to attend to her, she doesn't pout, criticize, stonewall or shut me out in any way. She flops down nearby, or engages in something else, and stays alert for a mutually good time to connect with the people she loves.
4. When you are happy, show it. Happiness is contagious and why not spread that around, given how many other things we spread around. When Roxy is happy her tail wags so vigourously that it takes her entire hind end back and forth with it. Her feet prance around. Her eyes sparkle. Her whole body exudes happiness and excited anticipation. It makes me want to do whatever she is excited about, which is usually a walk or food or affection. It's pretty uncomplicated with her. But lots of times that's what we want too. Connection, something physical, nourishment, affection. I'm pretty sure that if we received those things with such visible and tangible and pure happiness, we would attract a lot more of it.
Sometimes we can learn a lot from our pets if we are willing and observant. In these four observations, there is a foundational assumption of non-abusiveness. Naturally it changes (for both a pet and a human) if the relationship is abusive.
If you can't seem to 'get' this in a way that feels real or meaningful...if you resonate more with stiffness and bodily tension, inability to focus and missed opportunities, lack of affection and confusing communication, sadness/anger or at best 'guarded' happiness... or... if you are in an abusive relationship and want to change that, call me. I can help.