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6 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dogs

This week in celebration of Fit Bottomed Pets’ Week, each FBG is writing about her experience with pets and how they make us healthier, happier and generally more awesome. 


My dogs, Rudi and Hollie, didn’t exactly pass their obedience classes with flying colors, but when it comes to living life to the fullest, well, they could probably wag their way into Mensa. They’ve certainly taught me a few lessons!

6 Life Lessons I Learned From My Dogs

1. Enthusiasm is contagious. There’s rarely an occasion when one dog gets excited about something without the other one jumping in. Someone’s at the door! A leaf in the backyard moved! The cat looked at me! Mom shifted in her chair! These are all things that get both of them going, but none of that compares to the excitement they show for getting to go out in the backyard or going for a walk. The enthusiasm with which they greet every single day? That is ruffing awesome.

2. Stretch because it feels good. I tend to schedule in stretching sessions because, well, if I don’t, sometimes I just don’t do it. The dogs? They have no schedule. They’re not in training. They don’t do anything that should make them particularly sore. But they stretch all the time, and they clearly enjoy it. When Rudi goes into downward dog—and trust me, you’ve never seen as perfect a downward dog as hers—it reminds me of how great it feels to spread out my shoulders and fill my lungs with air in a great stretch. I should do that more often.

3. Eating nutritious food is something to look forward to. I feed the dogs a high-quality kibble, and they get the same thing twice a day, every day. And they’re just as thrilled about it each time as they were the time before. The fact that it’s good for them doesn’t quell the drooling—they truly cannot wait for me to set those bowls down and give them the okay to begin.

4. Earn your treats, then enjoy the hell out of them. The dogs generally just get a treat or two per day, and they have to work for them by doing tricks. Then they scarf them down like it’s going out of style. It’s kind of like me and ice cream—if I’ve had a good workout and eaten reasonably well that day, I deserve a bit of a treat. And oh, do I enjoy that treat. So much.

5. Rest is also good. Despite their seemingly limitless energy, they’re also great at fully embracing rest. They’re fantastic at finding a cozy spot in a sunbeam or rolling around in a warm patch of grass until it’s just perfect for sleeping. And, when I let them climb up in the guest bed with me as a special treat (yes, I’m a mean old pet owner who doesn’t allow my dogs on the furniture on a regular basis), well, they might not be able to smile, but their thumping tails let me know that they’re as excited to snuggle as they were for anything else that day.

6. Shake it off. Although they’re the best of friends, these two dogs have gotten into a couple of scraps with each other. They’ve done things to make me yell at them. Loudly. They’ve run into walls and fences and who knows what else while playing, but nothing’s ever slowed them down for long. They don’t hold grudges. They don’t sulk (much, anyway). They never sit around feeling sorry for themselves. They just move on and find the next fun thing.

I want to be as excited about anything as my dogs are about, well, pretty much everything (other than the vacuum cleaner). I feel like that’s a great way to look at living a fit and healthy life—get excited about all the things you get to do and never even give a thought to something you can’t do.

Do you have pets who have taught you some good, healthy life lessons? Do any of these sound familiar? —Kristen

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