I am most definitely a pet person. I’ve always had dogs and cats, and honestly, loving them is a big part of who I am. I might be an entirely different person without them in my life, and I definitely don’t think I’d have learned these eight healthy living lessons very well without them (and you know I had to share them for Fit Bottomed Pets Week!) …
Rudi: Take time to snuggle. Rudi has always been a really loving, cuddly dog, but after she spent a week in the ICU a couple of years ago and I realized how close we came to losing her, I began to see her mid-day pleas for a cuddle session in a new light. I don’t make time to do it every day, necessarily (although I’m trying, and she definitely considers meditation a form of cuddling!), but I’ve learned I can generally carve out five minutes for a stress-busting snuggle.
Hollie: There is always something to be excited about. This dog wakes up in the morning just bouncing with energy, and she stays that way until she falls asleep. I want to be as excited about anything as she is about, you know, life.
Trixie: Eat with zest. Trixie is a really vocal cat, and every time we set foot in the kitchen, she talks us through whatever we’re doing. If we get out her wet food, she’s nearly beside herself — our neighbors can probably hear her. And even when she gets her regular dry food, she eats with such gusto that she makes a huge mess. Does she care? Nope. Girl loves to eat and doesn’t care who knows it.
Mac, Jellybean and Fiona: Love, nap, be fearless. We fostered three kittens late last year, and each one taught me a lesson. Mac (named because he would purr so loud all the time that the vet couldn’t always get a heartbeat) showed me the power of showing the people you love just how much you care. Every time he laid eyes on me, he’d start purring. Jellybean was all about the good naps. She’d play, play, play, but when it came time to sleep, nothing was getting between her and some shuteye. And Fiona was a great example of how being fearless can open new horizons. She could climb and scale just about any wall we put up, and loved exploring — even when that meant facing the dogs.
Tebow: Be confident. Tebow is my parents cat, and dude has swagger. He’s a big cat and he really exudes confidence. He tends to assume everyone is going to like him (and generally, they do), so he never backs down from playing with anyone, whether it’s a dog, cat or person. He treats every situation, from a car ride to a nap on the corner of the couch, like it has the potential to be a seriously good time.
All of them: No one is perfect. And, perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned has come from all of them at various times: Nothing — and no one — is perfect. And more importantly? That’s okay. They love me when I’m at my best, and completely accept me at my worst. I could stand to do more of that myself.
What kind of lessons have you learned from your pets? —Kristen