Some of My Best Teachers Have Four Legs

January 13, 2014

“Everything natural—every flower, tree, and animal—has important lessons to teach us if we would only stop, look, and listen.”—Eckhart Tolle

I’ve had various pets nearly all my life. Aside from their cuteness and cuddleability, pets can be expert teachers of life lessons (and if you doubt me, check out the delightful book Guardians of Being). Currently, I have one elderly dog, a “teenage” kitten, and a middle-aged horse. They’ve taught me many, many things (including don’t wear any clothes to the barn you’re not prepared to ruin, and no, the kitchen counter is not tall enough to keep food away from either the kitten OR the dog…). 

Here are a few of my favorite life lessons from my pets:

From Prudy:

There is a time for play and a time for cuddling. Know your priorities and stick to them.

The world is to be explored.

Like everyone until they prove unlikable.

Assume everyone likes you until proven otherwise.

From Scout:

Do everything joyfully: get up in the morning, go to bed at night, eat, announce your presence to the world.

Sleep when you’re tired, even if something interesting is going on elsewhere.

Don’t put up with bull$&@, but only do as much as you have to to get it to stop—don’t overreact.

From Tank:

You can make huge progress by taking many small steps.

Relationship is more important—and ultimately more satisfying—than tricks or blind obedience.

Hold out for your favorite treats. Spit out the ones you don’t like. Don’t waste time (or calories) on them.

Don’t let the turkeys get you down. 

Animals live in the moment. They don’t worry about what might happen tomorrow, or what the dog next door has, or what the horses in the next paddock might be saying behind their backs. Seems like some pretty valuable wisdom to me.

Have you learned any life lessons from an unusual source?

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  1. Don't take no for an answer if it's something you really, REALLY want!

    Ask. If they say no, you haven't lost anything.

    He who hesitates often goes hungry!

    If it moves, it's a toy.

    Boxes make comfy sleepy spots.

  2. Great ones, Laure! I especially like number two.

  3. Kathy - I too have four legged teachers...I think they are the best ones. Their grade system allows for some mistakes (LOL) - that is if you don't forget to feed them.

  4. Debbie--That's right, don't forget to feed them. They're not shy about letting you know you've done wrong...