The Things Dogs Can Teach Us About What Matters Most

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My Sweet Tina - Dogs Can Teach Us About What Matters Most

Last week we received a very serious phone call from our vet hospital regarding the health of one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met.  Her name is Tina and she’s been with us since  we pulled her out of a shelter in Northern California in May of 2007.  Her story is very different from the majority of pets that are abandoned by irresponsible owners.  She had a very loving owner that had lost his housing and was unable to take a large dog to his new living situation.  This man was so heartbroken and concerned for Tina that he called every single day to find out if she had been adopted by someone.  I truly believe that God worked through us that day as an answer to his prayers.

When Tina first joined our family she was seriously overweight and full of dandruff.  We placed her on a healthy diet, gave her supplements, and began exercising her immediately.  The transformation was amazing and a true testimony to how powerful a healthy diet and consistent exercise can be no matter where you are starting from.  She went from huffing and puffing on hikes to running on the beach all day.

We are uncertain about Tina’s actual age. However, it has become quite obvious that she is getting up there in her years.  She doesn’t really run anymore and battles arthritis but when it’s time to go for a walk she perks up with the same enthusiasm she showed back in 2007 when we first adopted her.  Her attitude is so contagious that it gets me fired up to go out for a walk no matter where my energy level is at that particular moment.  She reminds me that being able to walk and enjoy fresh air is something that should never be taken for granted!

Tina has never met a stranger.  She loves to greet anyone that is willing to say hello or pet her.  I’ve watched her turn frowns into smiles.  When she was younger she would take off down the beach and find people (usually young college students) that were hungry for a dog fix and hang out on their blanket with them for the afternoon.  She would always leave them better off than when she found them.  That’s something I work hard to do but I don’t think I’ve mastered it quite like Tina.

Tina has always been a great companion and friend to all of the other dogs in our house.  They love her and she helps comfort the ones that are overcoming anxiety when we first rescue them and bring them home.  Being a good friend is one of the most valuable things we can do for someone else.  There are a lot of things that money can buy but true friendships aren’t one of them.

Studies have shown that owning pets helps lower blood pressure and battle depression.  I personally believe that this has something to do with the unconditional love that our pets have for us.  They don’t care how badly you messed up that day; all they care about is that you are home and they get to spend time with you.  When you are responsible for another life you tend to take your eyes off of your own issues and find the strength to carry on.  Whether it’s your kids or a pet, they are counting on you and it’s usually easier to make it through trials or meet your goals when you are doing it for a reason that’s bigger than just yourself.

What Tina and OUR Dogs Have Done For Me

I can honestly say that my dogs have done way more for me than simply help me stay in shape.   They have helped me become a better person in every area of my life. They’ve taught me to focus more on others and less on myself.  My experiences with them have helped me have more compassion and patience when I am out navigating this crazy world.  I’ve learned that things that seem annoying or embarrassing at the time usually turn into stories that make you laugh or even shed a tear when you share them over dinner.

I’m not sure how much longer Tina will be with us.  She tends to turn in early and hangs out on the deck or in her bed more and more these days.  One thing I do know for sure is that we will continue to create precious memories with her and the rest of our dogs for as long as we are together.  Days can turn into years rather quickly so it’s important we take time out to spend them with family, friends, and our furry babies.

I encourage you to maintain balance in your life and take time out to spend it with the ones that matter most to you.  It’s important to work hard.  However, it’s equally important to take time out to play and create the memories that will matter the most to you in your golden years.

Have a great week!

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