Life is unpredictable and obviously much better with a dog. Your dog is your best friend. Your 4-legged kid. Your sidekick.
You go for long hikes together, to the lake for a swim, and to all the dog-friendly spots you can find.
But, what happens if one day all of this suddenly, unexpectedly, disappears? Your dog passes and you’re left with nothing but grief and memories?
You learn to cherish those moments together and start really living to the fullest. It’s not about how many adventures you can fit inside a day or how far you travel. It’s about how present you are in everything you do, and being sure that you do what you love.
Here’s 3 tips for living your best life with your dog today.
1. Put your phone away.
When you’re out for a walk with your dog, be on that walk with your dog. Take in the sights. Say hello to a passerby. Watch your dog’s goofy face as he/she runs after a squirrel or bunny. Let your heart glow with pride when your dog checks in and gives you undivided attention. Take your time.
You need a digital detox, and dog walking time should be just that. You get pulled in so many different directions all day long. When you’re out and about with your pup, let it be precious, guarded time that you two spend together, without the phone in your hand.
Can’t go the whole walk without looking at your phone? Start small. Set a goal to not touch your phone until you get to the end of the street. Then add on another block. Then another. Pretty soon, you’ll forget about it and find that there’s such peace in not checking your email, not scrolling through Facebook, or typing the one-handed text message.
Disconnect from your phone to connect to your dog and the world around you. There’s so much more to see.
2. Do something you love to do together, everyday.
If today was the last day you’d ever have with your dog, would you be satisfied with the life you had together? Is anything missing? And if so, what are you waiting for?
“Later” isn’t guaranteed. Right now is as good a time as any. Don’t let there be any regrets at the end of it all.
Always wanted to go to a certain park? Hop in the car and go. Take a trip to the mountains? Pick a weekend and commit to it. Wanted to try out a new dog sport like dock diving, Treiball or sheep herding? Sign up for a class.
Not only is it fun to do these things, but if you make time at the end of every single day for you and your dog to do something awesome together, you’ll start to feel that life is full. You’ll go to bed happy, and wake up ready to tackle anything, with the anticipation of the adventure that’s coming. The quality time with the furry family member who you adore so much.
Stop finding reasons why you can’t (like there’s no time). Make it a priority, and you’ll see such a shift in your entire perspective on life.
3. Treat Yourselves
It’s totally okay to order your dog a happy meal when you go to McDonalds for your McNuggets.
Or, to grill your dog his/her own personal steak at the family barbecue.
You officially have permission, because life is short. Be healthy and feed yourselves nutritiously, but yes, do indulge a bit everyday!
Play into whatever feels right for the day. Maybe a treat means a piece of the chicken off your plate. Or maybe it means an extra pig ear for the night. Maybe you cook a whole feast.
Don’t deny your dog of extra deliciousness. Food brings people (and dogs) together. Go ahead. Grab a bag of Cheetos and share it with your drooly dog. Play with your food. Enjoy yourselves.
Bet you and your pup will be happier than you knew was possible.
Now is a good a time as any, to be intentional about how you and your dog spend your days. Be fully present when you and your 4 -legged bestie hang out. Put away the distractions, go for an adventure, and just be.
After all, isn't that why you got a dog?
Enjoy each other's company and make sure that when it comes down to it, you can say that you and your pup lived an exceptional life together, and there are no regrets.
Need ideas for things to do with your dog? Want some variety? Something unique?
Check out Doggie Recreation & Resources, your online doggie enrichment center. In here you'll find:
- A new enrichment class each month
-Dog parenting articles
-Shopping for the best enrichment toys
-Support for puppy parents and first time dog parents
-Resources for helping dogs with behaviors
-A place to connect with other dog moms and dads