Living Life To Its Fullest From A Dog’s Perspective

by RuthCox

10 Tips for mankind, from canines, toward learning how to live our life to the fullest--It's a dog's life!

I have learned more about living life to the fullest in the past fourteen years of my sixty years of living than ever before. I have learned these valuable life lessons from the presence of dogs in my life.

Seriously, my dogs have had it made in the shade! So, I thought you might indeed like to learn a bit about how to live the carefree life of a dog too.

This, then, is my gift to you, a legacy of sorts bequeathed to me by my canine companions--living life to its fullest from the perspective of a dog.

A Dog's Life

State of Living

Interestingly, "a dog's life" has not always implied a healthy and happy state of living. In fact, in the 16th century, the life of a dog was less than enviable. It wasn't until the latter part of the 19th century that dog became man's best friend.

Domesticated Dogs

Man's Best Friend

If we ascribe to the theory that dogs domesticated themselves, and I do, then it follows that dogs can train mankind to also take advantage of all the wonderful everyday things which life has to offer.

Roger Dangerfield Sings

To put our minds in proper perspective for being trained to get the most out of life by living it to the fullest, we need only listen to the tune of “It’s a Dog’s Life and I Love It!” from the animation film, Rover Dangerfield.

The Dog Who Gets No Respect

Now that we have danced to the tune of a dog's life, let's view the film and see what else we might learn from this dog named Rover.

If you enjoyed the tune, It's a Dog's Life, then you will love the rest of the soundtrack in the animation film of "The Dog Who Gets No Respect" and the storyline itself, of course.

How could you not with this voice lineup: Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Ronnie Schell, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Teaching Trio of Dogs

My Family Portrait of Dogs
Ruthi's Marvelous Mutts: NewBe, Scratch, and Tidbit
Ruthi's Marvelous Mutts: NewBe, Scratch, and Tidbit

Picture it! My three canine friends were taught they would receive the gift of a treat on the correct response to the two-word command, “Sit pretty!”

On this day, the command was used to capture them all together in a “sitting pretty for the camera” position. They complied, each in their own unique way.

The puppy on the left, NewBe, is rather confused by being commanded to sit pretty and shoots me, the photographer, a rather quizzical look, as if to say, “So where’s my treat?”

The gal in the center, Scratch, loves to please and is content to pose for the camera for however long she is asked to do so.

On the right we have Tidbit, mother of the other two dogs. Tidbit fancies herself the true leader of the pack. She sits, albeit unwillingly, which can be noted in her grimace.

Note: After our photo session, the girls received doggie treats for their good behavior!

While I managed to capture my family of dogs on camera, more importantly I learned a lesson on this day. Their reactions to my desire of the moment taught me to never again misuse a command in a way that would be confusing or demeaning to them.

My teaching trio of dogs also made me think of how often I might do this same thing with my human friends–resorting to barking demands or using bribery to get what I want from them. (Not a very pretty picture!)

How to Live a Dog's Life

Life Lessons Learned From My Dogs

I have learned to live life to the fullest by taking lessons from my dogs.

Many hours, days, and years have been spent in the company of the best teachers I could have been given.

There are times when these dogs have made me realize I am one of the 'women who run with the wolves' more so than I could have ever imagined.

The canines have been my greatest teachers and have proven to be this woman's best friends.

Get a dog or two and pay attention to what they do!

Tip #1

Mother and Daughter, Tidbit and NewBeOf course, you can live vicariously as a dog lover through family and friends who have dogs, too. The point is to spend as much time as possible with the canines, watching, learning, and applying what you learn from them into your day to day relationships with others.

Tidbit taught me things about motherhood that I wish I had known oh so many years before when mothering a young child of my own. She proudly stood in her stance as protector, nurturer, and teacher of her young--never letting her guard down, never shirking her duties--preparing her young for their own life journey.

Take Time to Smell theFlowers

Tip #2

I have learned to take time to smell the flowers every day. Sure, it's an often heard phrase, but one that can not be repeated too many times.

Just as with the blooms of flowers, possibly sooner rather than later our time with those we love may be cut short. I am reminded to stop rushing around from one activity to the next. I am reminded to Stop!

Take in the pleasures and treasures of the moments throughout each day that really matter--the flowers that bloom in life's grand display.

You, too, can have this life point of view, for on our postcard, Tidbit is here to remind you!

Hug Therapy

Tip #3
Helen and NewBe
Helen and NewBe

Hug someone today!

I have learned that a hug, a touch, or a snuggle is sure to bring a smile to the face (and spirit) of giver as well as receiver. Nothing beats a warm embrace for becoming the saving grace in a dull or dreary day.

It is a well documented fact that hug therapy works wonders for soothing the soul and may very well be the key to happiness.

Family, friend, or stranger--you will be given the opportunity to touch someone today--don't pass on the chance. And, if you have a furry friend, be sure to hug them too!

Grow Where Planted

Tip #4

I need to frame this picture of NewBe as a reminder of the life truth: You can run but you can't hide!

The baggage we carry with us when we run away (especially under the guise of relocating) never lies well-hidden. Wherever we go, there it is, in full view!

I need to re-learn to grow where I'm planted. I need to define and find that one place to call home, plant myself there, and watch my true self grow.

Puppy NewBe Hides
Puppy NewBe Hides

Do Not Judge a Book by it's Cover

Tip #5

My Tidbit and Billy's LucyMany lessons were learned from watching my Tidbit interact with my son's pit bulls. Pictured here is Lucy, the so-called bad one of the bunch, ha!

Lucy taught my Tidbit how to fight, how to guard, how to learn her boundaries and loved ones and how to protect them. The other pit, Jitterbug, was Tidbit's nurturer, who taught her how to be the lover dog, the mother of her pups, and to be nice to children and the elderly.

I learned so much about pit bulls from Lucy and Jitterbug, and about dogs in general. Probably the best lesson learned was to not judge a book by its cover!

I have learned to make new friends and to judge them according to how they treat me, not by any other measure.

And I learned to follow a dog's lead about people and other animals--if a dog doesn't like them--Beware!

Take Time Out to Play

Tip #6

Let's play! Puppies and kids never seem to lose their lust for play time, a lesson we adults can certainly learn from them.

The next time I play tug of war with an "I must do this" against an "I need a play day" - I am going to choose to play and jump for joy for having done so.

Care to join me for an adult play date--for the fun and the health of it all?

Puppy Tidbit Jumps Rope
Puppy Tidbit Jumps Rope

Walk the Right Path

Tip #7

Confusion and chaos, oh my! No worries. Just untangle the mess and move on!

Yes, there are times when life can be a bit confusing, as my Uncle Billy discovered first walking Tidbit and Scratch on their "rescue trip" from domestic abuse.

Yes, our girls have taught us well. We have learned to keep on walking the right path and find your own way to living a dog's life.

Uncle Bill Walks the Dogs
Uncle Bill Walks the Dogs

Appreciate the Beauty of Life

Tip #8

Aunt Helen and Scratch at Doc'sBeauty is a thing to behold and can be found no matter the circumstances.

From our dog Scratch, Helen and I both learned to see the beauty of life, even when a bit of pain for healthy gain for our girl was where it lay.

Aunt Helen and I spent a lot of time at the vet with Scratch.

We learned the depth of compassionate care--thanks to Doc, the owner of the veterinary hospital--who charged us not a dime for his services to help us to heal her badly broken bones. (My ex, an abuser, to blame.)

Funny thing, our pain was greater than hers, I think. Never did Scratch allow her spirit to be broken during the healing process, nor with her lasting partial lameness. Scratch's innate personality, that of pure sweet sunshine and silliness, remained within and without for our years together wherein beauty and compassion were our bounty.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

Tip #9

From my dog Scratch I learned that laughter really is the best medicine. Here she is in the garage seated in her throne--Aunt Helen's wheelbarrow!

This girl could add a touch of silly to the darkest of days. With her antics, you had no choice but to smile and break into a laugh, sometimes until you cried.

Scratch in Wheelbarrow
Scratch in Wheelbarrow

Embrace Change as Inspiration for Adventure

Tip #10
Tidbit Greets the Homeless Pup

The life, and the loss, of my dogs has become the inspiration for a new adventure for me.

As I mourn the loss of my dog Tidbit, I am in the beginning stages of venturing into volunteer work at a local animal shelter. I am currently walking dogs but plan to do much more in the future.

I look forward to being able to open my heart and my home to dogs less fortunate than mine have been.

I have no doubt that Tidbit would approve. She always welcomed new pups into our lives, even if she were a bit put off in having to share the spotlight and affection.


It's A Dog's Life

Nobody, but nobody, could depict a dog's life better than Charles M. Schulz!

Here we have the best dog ever--Snoopy! The whole Peanuts Gang is here, once again bringing us the best of Schulz, this time in book form.

Lifeprints Walk Softly in the Shadows

Me and My Dog Tidbit in Haiku

Ruthi and Tidbit--Lifeprints in Haiku

Love is the greatest teacher of all and from my dog Tidbit I was fortunate to experience the ever elusive form of true love. Through our friendship I have learned that life is nothing more, nothing less than–living and loving to the fullest–forevermore.

Updated: 11/03/2014, RuthCox
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What lessons have you learned from man’s best friend that have steered you closer toward loving and living life to its fullest?

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RuthCox on 08/16/2017

Pets truly are a big responsibility, Angela, and great companions. It is good you get to spend a bit of time with dogs of your friends.

AngelaJohnson on 08/16/2017

I've never owned a dog, but play with my friends' dogs and take them on walks. A pet is a big responsibility which I can't take on right now, but they are certainly good companions.

RuthCox on 06/15/2016

Thank you, Lilysnape!

Lilysnape on 05/12/2016

A lovely article

RuthCox on 07/19/2015

Very nice to meet you, Linda! Your family of furry friends sounds wonderful. If your little gal your husband found is a herder, you have yourselves one smart dog. Enjoy her!

RuthCox on 06/11/2015

Revisiting my sunshine girls always gives me a smile, too, Marsha.

Marsha Cooper on 06/10/2015

I liked reading this and looking at the pictures....they made me smile.

Monica L on 02/27/2015

Tips #4 and #10 are my favorites. Working on these all the time! It's a process...

katiem2 on 01/31/2015

I love your story, I too have three dogs and agree with your philosophy. I can't imagine living without dogs and yes I mean plural I am so lucky they allow me to be apart of the pack. Great article. LOVE IT!!!

RuthCox on 01/15/2015

Amen! to the lessons to be learned by our animals, Linda! I love that you have rescues!

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