As I tell my kids all the time, life is all about learning. Learning what works, learning what to never, ever do again. We learn a bit from our success, but far more from our painful failures. Maybe it just helps me deal with the wrinkles and expanding waistline, but I consider myself far wiser with each birthday.
I also believe that our companion animals teach us far more than even the best trained dog has learned from us. They teach us the important stuff, which on our deathbed we’ll find comfort in knowing. Okay, out of the morose and into some fun.
Throughout this week I’ll present my humble list of what I’ve learned from my various and varied pets, over these many years. Maybe you’ll see some familiar themes, or maybe even see another reason why cleaning up all that poop is indeed worth it. If you don’t have a pet…I offer these as some reasons to adopt one!
Patience is a stress reliever
Coaxing a cat into their carrier for a vet trip, or waiting for a dog to find that perfect spot for a poop, simply cannot be rushed. As a matter of fact, rushing the process will only cost you time in the end. Some things in life just require one to stop, take a deep breath, and trust that it will happen (eventually). All the planning and manipulation in the world will not speed things up. Believe me, I’ve tried.
All my pets have fertilized the miniscule patience in me, more so than even my kids. Pets really cannot be reasoned with or cajoled. They live on their own timeline, not mine. Pets are just different enough that we have to trust that there’s a reason when they don’t seem to like someone, or when we find them staring up into the corner of the room. It’s just best that they’re not disturbed.
I’ve internalized this principle and cut my stress level considerably. Whether I’m waiting for potty training to take effect or that job offer to come through, patience is sometimes the secret sauce. I can do my part (just as I put on the leash and lead my dog to the grass), but at some point it’s out of my control. For me, that’s freeing.
In the end, I think this is a good thing. The universe needs to unfold as it should, not as I insist and when I demand. Learning to be patient with the pets we love, leads to patience with the humans we love and then (the highest calling of all) patience with those which insist on testing it each day.