By Jackie Kellum
Our pets can teach us a lot about life. You do not have to own a cat or a dog to learn from their life skill lessons. However, you have to be willing to be an observer of their life, sort of like being a “people watcher” which we all do to some extent. Animals probably are more honest than many humans in their outward conduct and not as refined in their behavior. They have a wealth of patience, wisdom and defined social boundaries within their family unit. Pets value the success of the whole social family unit above temporary individual desires. Unless a perceived threat is presented to an animal, they tend to follow the “golden rule” in their relationships with humans and other animals that are not their natural enemies. Unlike many humans, an animal will give you some kind of warning, like a growl or snarl before they bite you.
Pets have patience, perseverance and independence. Cats always get what they want, even if they have to get it themselves, and not rely on another to obtain their goal. Likewise, they also know how to “sweet talk” their person if they really want something. They know the limits of what they will do to get what they want or need, and get it they do. All those who had a boss at one time know this technique and no doubt enlisted this maneuver. You just have to determine your level of sweet-talk tolerance, like complimenting someone but not cross the line of totally humiliating yourself, or being so obviously insincere.
Another good valuable life lesson is listening to your inner instincts. As humans, we sometimes over-analyze things and make ourselves a bit nuts. Animals listen, and go cautiously when they get some kind of internal warning signal when approaching a person or situation that may prove harmful to them. The only possible exception is when they repeatedly trust a human who has done them harm, but they keep hoping that this trusted person will not repeat this hurtful action. Animals, like humans in this case, sometimes stay in abusive relationships, until they realize they need to get out of it for their own safety and good health of mind and body.
Cats and dogs take life one moment at a time. They relish the sheer joy of that moment. There is no brooding or holding a grudge about perceived infringements or insults that they feel were sent in their direction – like feeling unappreciated for all that they have done for that other person, etc. Life is a wonderful thing. It comes with feelings of taking great pleasure in play time and being a bit child-like. Pets treasure having joy in their hearts and in their lives. Hopefully as humans we do not view these emotions in the rearview mirror of our lives. Cats and dogs also know the value of taking a nap. They know how to relax with no worries about anything: another life lesson to learn.
Our pets can teach us about caring and empathy. I am sure we have all seen those “cute” stories where a dog has become a surrogate mother to a baby pig or rabbit. Although as an adult they might not have been best of friends, they recognize a creature in need. They put those other feelings aside offering and providing loving care and attention in a time of need. Can we say that much about our human friends? Lastly and the foremost life lesson is that each of us, at least once a day needs a hug and an Atta-boy! www.anitasanimals.com