I’ve had my dog Lulu in my life for 6 years and she has taught me quite a bit about myself and life in general. Before adopting Lulu, I had fish and rabbits as pets. I had never imagined the joy of having a dog! Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all kisses and tummy rubs, but even in her naughty moments, Lulu continues to be one of the most effective teachers I have ever had.

Lesson #1: Patience

I considered myself a pretty patient person before having a dog in my life. I’m not the kind of person who gets angry or frustrated very easily, but when the dog annihilated the fairly new leather loveseat? I felt qualified for sainthood for remaining (relatively) calm. The coffee table corners and dining chair legs also served as chew toys. Soon after, I embraced the joy of crate training!

Lesson #2: It’s Fun to be Friendly

Lulu is a social butterfly, me – not so much. She just loves to meet people as well as other dogs. Before Lulu, I barely knew the security guard and my closest neighbours in my condo. Lulu has allowed me to meet fellow dog owners in the building as well as the neighbourhood, not to mention local dog lovers and kids! Going for walks isn’t a chore, it’s an opportunity to socialize!

Lesson #3: Get Over It!

On the rare occasion that Lulu has a negative encounter with another dog or anyone on small wheels (rollerblades and skateboards make her crazy!); Lulu doesn’t let it ruin her walk, never mind her day. A few moments after the encounter, she pauses, gives herself a good shake, and she’s off on her merry way! No lingering bad feelings, no barking 20 minutes after the episode, just shake it off and go back to figuring out who peed where.

Lesson #4: It’s Never Too Late to Try Something New/Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

I adopted Lulu when she was 4 months old. It didn’t take long to figure out that she was deathly afraid of water. It didn’t matter what form it came in; rain, sprinklers, bath time – it was all the same to her… NOT FUN! For years I have tried to coax her into going in the water; lakes, creeks, it didn’t matter, she wanted nothing to do with it. A few weeks ago, on a trip to the lake, Lulu decided to see if the water was drinkable, a first for her. During the long weekend a few weeks ago, she not only tasted the water, she decided she was ready to walk right in! It was pretty amazing to watch! Last weekend, we were back at the lake and she went in even deeper than before, getting entirely soaked! I’m wondering if she’ll show off her swimming skills on the next visit.

Lesson #5: Unconditional Love is Easy!

Like most dogs, Lulu is a very empathetic creature. She’s there to lick your tears away when you’ve been crying (and won’t stop until you start laughing at her persistence!), and knows when you need someone to cuddle with. Whether you’re in a bad mood or down with the flu, she’s there with her tail waggling and a goofy look on her face that can’t help but make you smile. She doesn’t take your bad moods personally; she actually seems to make it her goal to “turn your frown upside down”. Even when you’re late coming home and have completely gone off schedule for a bathroom break and dinner, she doesn’t hold it against you (she took it out on the pillow!).

Lulu’s been a joy to have in my life. There is never a dull moment and her endless energy is (often) contagious. She’s one of the most entertaining, yet effective teacher’s I’ve ever had and I look forward to seeing what else she has in her lesson book!

Author's Bio: 

Sandra Dawes is a certified Life Coach with her own practice - Embrace Your Destiny. The passing of her father inspired a journey of spiritual growth and enlightenment, with many lessons learned that she wants to share with others who have found themselves facing similar challenges. A student of A Course in Miracles, she is also inspired by the teachings of Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay, to name a few! Visit www.embraceurdestiny.com for more information.