What is the biggest life lesson you have learned from owning a pet? Several Found Animals staff members had plenty to say, so much that this article had to be split in two! If you haven’t read part one, check it out here!
Indira: Two dogs: Sammy Boy, a rescued Cocker Spaniel, and Jamon (Mo), a Bulldog, and what I’ve learned through them, is that there is nothing better than a walk.
My friends who are married with children would get upset when I, unmarried, no children, with dogs, compared children to dogs. Now that I’m married with children and dogs, I still don’t see the difference with certain principles:
- Keep commands short and sweet. “Sit,” “Let’s go,” “Stay,” “Sleepy time” – too many words just lead to confusion and tuning out.
- Toys are toys. Tennis balls are so much fun… ripping up stuffed Elmo, so much fun.
- No junk food. My dogs love rice cakes (two ingredients: rice, salt), and my daughter loves rice cakes. Sugar and junk food make everyone crazy.
- Everyone needs their own “time-out” spot. Dogs go out on the patio; kid goes in the playpen.
- Both speak their own language that we have to understand.
- I’m in charge, and there are boundaries, and they will get away with what I let them get away with.
- My dogs listen to me about as much as my child does.
- It’s all about treats, praise and attention.
Marcela: From Bubba the golden Labrador Retriever, we learned that naming our dog Bubba (who was named after the cave-duck from Duck Tales) might have not been the best choice when introducing him to our family.
When we moved to Chile and brought him along, everyone thought our dog’s name was drool, since the Spanish word for drool is baba (pronounced the same way as the dog’s name)!
From Chester, I am learning every day to laugh at the little things, to explore new places, to take naps, to play ball, to be afraid of skunks, to get excited about simple things, to enjoy long car rides because there is so much to see! He is a four-legged fur ball of wisdom!
Jonathan: The biggest thing that I have learned from Pierre is patience. Everything, from trying to teach him commands as a pup to taking him out on his daily walks, requires a bit of patience. But it’s obviously worth it. His stubbornness still brings a smile to my face.
Sandy: Wisdom, my 11-year-old Yorkie, has taught me compassion, love, understanding and patience towards animals.
His previous owners moved to Korea and left the little guy behind. He was timid and scared of any person that would approach him. Little by little, I gained his trust.
After six months of cage-living, I was able to bring him home. Wisdom’s the most loyal dog you’ll ever meet. He’s still a little timid and scared of strangers but not as bad as he was eight years ago. All he needed was someone to take the time to give him what he needed… LOVE!
His previous owners treated him like a piece of furniture. They never took the time to bond with him. They never taught him the wonderful connection a human can have with a pet.
Before him, I didn’t really have any pets. He has taught me that dogs have personalities just like us. He’s loving, devoted, grateful, and in my house, he’s the alpha dog (I have two other dogs).
When I wake up, he’s the first one to greet me good morning. When I get home, he’s the first one waiting for me at the door. And at night, he’s my teddy bear.
Ahavia: I have learned so much from my dogs. First, living with an animal helped me understand the deep connection we as humans can create with all creatures if we really “see” them and listen to what they need.
Second, something I learned from my children when they were little was profoundly validated by my animals. Discipline is love. They want it almost more than we can imagine.
Annie: My dog Rio taught me about priorities. I chose to leave a career that I thought I would be doing for a long time because the hours were so long and erratic that I was unable to take care of him.
At one point, I had to board him even though I wasn’t traveling. I would come home late at night to my empty apartment knowing he was just across town, and I got so depressed. I missed him, and I was miserable.
I decided this career was not worth it, and that was the moment I learned how much happiness animals bring to my life and how important having a dog is to me. I chose him, and now I work at Found Animals.
Helping animals is something I care about more than anything, and I consider myself so lucky to be able to do it as my job. Now, Rio comes to work with me, and we spend pretty much every minute of every day together.
Brad: I adopted a week-and-a-half-old kitten that a friend had found abandoned in some bushes. For the first few weeks, I had to get up for 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. feedings as well as feed him every four hours during the day. I had to help him go to the bathroom (like his mother would) and basically do everything for him. I never knew that waking up in the middle of the night could feel so fulfilling and that taking in this little orphan could be so rewarding.
Jennifer: I guess I would say that they have taught me to not get upset when things aren’t perfect, like letting dog fur be on the bed and in everything I eat or to not compulsively clean because they’re just going to track in dirt.
Deva: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. My cat, Pumpkin, is always finding new ways to get on top of the fridge, shelf, washer-dryer or under something that seems too small for her, running toward a closing door to sneak inside before it’s locked – that type of thing. Sometimes, it takes her a few tries to squeeze herself under the ottoman, but in the end, she finds a way to make it a special little place that’s just for her.
Jeff: I’ve had multiple pets in the past… cats, dogs, horses. One thing I’ve seen from animals is they are the perfect model of unconditional love.