Last week, I was graced with one of the worst upper respiratory viruses I have had in a while, and so because of this, I was forced to take three days off from work. Awesome [enter sarcasm here] Well actually, it was awesome because I spent THREE full days with my beautiful, playful, and full of energy puppy, Ruby. Our daily schedule consisted of snuggling on the couch, watching Ruby play, playing with Ruby, watching Ruby eat, watching Ruby play some more, and then snuggling again on the couch. After our busy day was over, I later watched my snoring puppy wondering how I had gotten so lucky. I thought what a blessing she has been in my life and how when I first set eyes on her, I had no idea what a game changer she was about to become… Some people consider a dog “just an animal, or just a dog.” I know this to be true, because I am one of those people! OR at least, I was… And maybe she is just that, but maybe she represents so much more to me. Maybe she is just a dog, but what she brings to my life has been quite powerful over the last six months. Being an educator myself, I have learned that there are endless opportunities to learn and grow, and better yourself. In fact, in the first blog I wrote, I even stated that I believe there is a teacher in all of us, and Ruby is no exception. Just to name a few, here are some things I have learned from my oh so wise teacher, Ruby.
1. Life is Short
She reminds me on a daily basis that life is too short to waste too much time on the past or the future. All you have is the now; not the minute before, and not a minute ahead. Ruby’s life span is significantly shorter than mine, and she does not appear to be bothered by such statistics. Every morning is a new day and a new opportunity, and she always awakens with an abundance of energy and fresh love for the world outside.
2. A positive attitude is key
Ruby wakes up ever morning in the exact same mood; with a zest and passion for life. I have never witnessed her sad or lonely, or grumpy just because, and she certainly does not ever wake up “on the wrong side of the bed.” No matter what is going on, Ruby always chooses happiness. Every day is a new day for her to live her puppy life to the fullest.
3. Forgiveness is easy
Ruby continuously shows me the power of forgiveness is quite simple. You just move on. You just forgive. No matter how mad I get when Ruby gets into the trash, or has “an accident” in the house, or runs in the complete opposite direction as I very clearly yell “Ruby, Come!”, she always forgives me. And for all the mornings that I oversleep and have to skip our morning walks, she forgives me, without question. For all those late nights at work when she has to spend far too long in her kennel, she forgives me and is as excited as ever once I walk through those doors.
4. It’s the simple things in life that matter most
Ruby has a few favorite things and most of these activities include me; however, the more I watch her and pay attention, I notice that almost every damn thing in the world makes this dog happy. Car rides to the grocery store make Ruby crazy with excitement. When my boyfriend comes over for a visit, Ruby cannot contain her joy. When my neighbor gives Ruby treats, she appears to be the happiest dog in the world, and when it is time to go on a walk, Ruby is overjoyed with emotion and enthusiasm. In fact, the other day, I watched Ruby play in the yard just as happy as can be and wondered what was making her so delighted, but as I got a closer look, I realized she was playing with a frozen turd!! Fantastic, I thought… my dog is playing with shit! Then I quickly realized that if my puppy looks that happy simply from playing with a frozen piece of poop, then maybe I should compare/contrast (and then) prioritize the things/activities that I believe bring me the most happiness versus those that actually bring me pure joy. The moral of the story being that it doesn’t take much to be content and happy with your life. Life is simple and so is happiness, you just have to choose it… and then stick with it. Thanks, miss Ruby, for the fantastic life lessons. I look forward to many more years of learning from you.