Christmas Spirit is Best Learned from Your Dog!
It has been said that the only people who can change the world are the ones that want to! Our dogs, with little effort, change the world for the better every day. Creating a world of more smiles and kindness – all for an occasional pat on the head or a treat! There was a study done that showed kids raised with pets were gentler and kinder than kids without. It’s an interesting conclusion but not all that surprising to me! Dogs do not tolerate mean behavior and will nip or simply walk away if you’re too rough with them. The child loses their playmate and soon learns to be gentle or stop playing!
We have talked about life lessons dogs teach us. Our dogs are always glad to see friends, get excited about the little things like a car ride or running a squirrel up the tree, and treat every day like it is the “Best Day Ever”! As I’m sure you already know, lessons in kindness and gentleness come from our pets, too; here are a few stories that prove this to be true.
A five year old who just lost his beloved family dog said to his dad and the attending veterinarian that he knew why dogs did not live as long as people: “People have to learn to get along, be kind, and not to hurt each other. Dogs already know that when they are born, so they don’t have to live so long!” That brought a tear to my eye and reminded me that children often have insights beyond their years and our understanding.
My dogs are excited to greet my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson even though they have not seen each other for some time. This past visit, Casey and Manny, my treasured Shar-Peis, loved all over eight-year-old Beau, and he relished their wet kisses! Tails wagged, smiles filled the air, and the universal language was grunts, growls and giggles. I watched Beau with my two dogs and smiled. At nine and thirteen, my dogs are older than my grandson, who grew up with them. Beau looked up and said, “Grandpa, they think I’m one of their puppies that sometimes comes back to visit!” I think he is right! Dogs are glad to see you, and witnessing their simple joy is another gift they give us!
On a recent trip, I was waiting in an airport when I saw a service dog with a child. I quietly walked up, introduced myself, and asked if he could tell me about his dog. “I’m Branden, and Max is my help-to-stand,” the little boy replied, “He stays strong when I am not, and he lets me lean on him when we walk. He also helps me get up because my legs are weak, but I am getting better with Max’s help!” The optimism of a child is another of God’s gifts from our dogs!
Branden then showed me how Max works, and I noticed how gentle Max was in starting out so Branden could get his legs moving in one direction. Before long, kids of all ages crowded around, watching and talking as Branden showed Max off. Everyone could see that this dog was a wonderful friend to Branden. With a smile to his parents, I thanked Branden and Max and left, with Branden explaining to everyone how Max even goes to school. Max was without a doubt Branden’s best friend, but Branden was making his next friend everywhere he went with Max’s help.
People talk about the Christmas spirit as if it is seasonal, but the Christmas spirit lives in our pets every day! Dogs make every day their best day ever and don’t waste a minute feeling sorry for themselves! When you greet friends this Christmas with smiles and well wishes, remember to extend that kindness through all of 2016! After all, your dog already taught you to be kind, gentle, honest, and loyal. We should aspire to be the people our dogs think we are – for the Christmas season and beyond!
Merry Christmas, and don’t forget to get a gift for your family member with fur! I know I will.
– Dr. B
In-house veterinarian for Revival Animal Health