5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from My Dog


When she’s not driving me crazy, she’s teaching me how to live a better life. 

So much wisdom…


Celebrate Your Own Victories

It’s easy to get caught up in endlessly competing with others. Especially in today’s world where every social media feed and magazine cover is filled with people achieving the impossible or doing it all with a smile. It’s easy to feel like whatever it is you’re doing isn’t good enough, big enough, or colourful enough to deserve attention or celebration.

To get out of this mindset, all I have to do is watch Juno when she achieves her goals. Whether she finally got the squeaker out of that toy she’s been chewing on for hours or she’s running around the yard with a newly discovered dry cow turd in her mouth, she exudes pride. She trots around, head high, showing off her prize. At that moment, she is the queen of the f***ing world. It’s kind of spectacular to watch as long as I can forget that I spent $40 on that toy she just destroyed or that she’ll most likely lick my face with that cow-turd-covered tongue later on.

My takeaway: celebrate what feels like a victory to you, even if it looks like nothing more than a piece of shit to everyone else.


When Life is Good, Take Advantage of It

Livin’ the good life

For whatever reason, it’s often easier to focus on the negative and ignore the positive. When things are going right for us, we like to downplay the good stuff, tell ourselves we don’t deserve it, or spend all our time worrying about when it will all come crashing down.

If you want a lesson on living in the moment, just watch Juno. If we give her a dish full of raw chicken, does she stand there and contemplate what she did to deserve it or what we may want in return? No. She scarfs it so fast that she has to regurgitate it and try again before she can get it to go down.

When we’re getting ready for bed, does she worry about whether it’s proper for her to climb into our king-size bed and take up the whole thing? No. She sprawls out across that mattress like the magnificent beast that she is, while Mark and I fight over little bit of blanket that’s still up for grabs.

My takeaway: When the going’s good, get it. Sure, someone might kick you off the bed eventually, but in the meantime – enjoy it.


It’s Okay to be Scared Sometimes

I’m not going any deeper…

Somehow, we’ve come up with this idea that we should all be fearless. We assume that people who are out there doing awesome things never experience fear or uncertainty. We think that showing fear is showing weakness. But the reality is that we all have fears, some of them rational, some of them not so much – Juno included.

Juno is big. She’s 140 lbs of muscle, teeth, and fur that could logically take on just about anything you threw at her. But she’s also a total chicken. Here’s a short list of some of the things she’s afraid of:

  • boat rides
  • thunder
  • loud noises
  • the fly swatter
  • swimming
  • my new office chair

You’d think that nothing would phase her, but she’ll climb on my lap and bury her head in my armpit faster you can swat a fly (literally). Once the (perceived) threat has passed, she goes back to whatever it was she was doing, as if nothing happened.

My takeaway: no matter how tough you think you should be, sometimes in life you’ll come across things that just scare the pants off you for no reason. And that’s okay.


Be Persistent

Are you paying attention to me yet?

So, there’s something you want, and you decide to go after it. But you run into obstacles along the way. Maybe you don’t get a call back for that dream job you applied for; maybe your friend backs out on that epic trip you had planned; maybe training for a marathon is harder than you thought it would be. Do you give up?

Not if you’re Juno. When she sets her mind to something, she sticks with it. Even as she goes into hour 3 of a hopeless squirrel standoff or nose-nudges the smartphone out of your hand for the 27th time (because SHE WANTS TO PLAY NOW!), she doesn’t give up on her goals. Other words to describe this include dedicated, pushy, obsessive, and stubborn. But hey, it works for her.

My takeaway: sometimes you gotta just go for what you want, even when it seems like the world is against you.


Never Stop Being Curious

What ya doing in there?

As we get older, life tends to lose some of its mystery. Things that were once exciting or interesting become mundane and routine. Or maybe when we come across someone working on something intriguing we’re too embarrassed or shy to ask questions and learn more about it.

Well, Juno does not have that problem. If you are doing something, Juno needs to know what it is. While I’m doing chores, she needs to know what’s in the fridge, the laundry basket, and the dust pan. I’ve seen her knock people over just to get a look at what they are up to. She’ll shove people out of the way, take a look, sniff around, and go on her merry way to find something else to get into. She needs to be in the know, at all times.

My takeaway: maybe you don’t have to be quite so nosy, but don’t be afraid to take an interest in what other people are doing. You might just learn something new.


What lessons have you learned from your dog?

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