This weekend was probably the saddest Easter I’ve ever had. My angel’s 8 year old dog, Tihui, passed away, leaving her family and friends in tears. (myself included)
At the end of 2014, we noticed that Tihui wasn’t OK so we took her to several veterinarians. It turned out that she had several health issues, including cancer. They doctors were very honest with us and said that they can operate her, but if the cancer has already spread to several organs, then there is nothing they can do.
Seeing as how an operation seemed to be her only option, we decided to go for it. So a few months ago, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Tihui was on the operations table.
Luckily for her, the operation was a success and she got to see 2015 with her own sparkling eyes, and together with her loving family!
Afterwards, Tihui apparently regained all her strength and, just when we thought that she’ll be with us for at least a few more years, she started becoming weaker and weaker.
I won’t mention any details because that won’t do either of us any good. I decided to write this article because I have a strong belief that we have much to learn from our dogs and this recent made me think about it even more. So, let us see what makes dogs so unique and lovable:
1. They don’t take people so seriously
As opposed to humans, dogs never forget to fully enjoy the life they have been blessed with. They might be sick or feel sad sometimes, but the moment you give them some love, they instantly change their state.
If I *accidentaly* hit someone, do you agree that there is a good enough chance that the other person might get offended or upset? I’m a very passionate and direct person, and though this helps me in some areas of life, it’s less useful in others.
So believe me when I say that the moment I get smacked in the face, even by accident, in the first half a second my mind just thinks about punching someone. Afterwards the sensation goes away and I remind myself of my code of conduct, but I’m sure you’ve met people who just get angry and stay that way, even if you said you’re sorry.
Whether you’re very passionate or a naturally calm person, we can all learn from our noble friends to stop getting offended all the time and start enjoying life as much as we can.
2. They know how to forgive
If you yell at or even slightly spank a dog for leaving you a present in the living room, or even worse, on your brand new sofa, you don’t need to worry. They won’t take it personally.
More so, if you give them a bit of attention 30 minutes later, you can expect them to be just as happy as ever!
I’m not saying that you should be OK with people yelling at you or being aggressive in any way, but rather to not keep grudges. Why? Because the only person we really hurt is ourselves. A dog won’t forget you hit her, but will forgive you for doing so.
Keeping grudges is toxic both for yourself and for your relationships, so why keep them in the first place? Remember:
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi
3. They don’t spread negative vibes
I’m sure you also know at least one person that just *loves* to tell you everything that’s *bad* about their lives. Though many of them don’t do it intentionally, they spread negative vibes and hurt both the conversation and the vibrancy of the relationship.
A strong dog, on the other hand, might feel bad, but they won’t show it. Tihui, for example, was a champ until the end. The doctors told us that we cannot imagine how much pain she is going through, but she wasn’t showing it because she didn’t want us to worry.
This does not mean that you should ignore your health. On the contrary, you should be always taking care of it and react fast whenever it’s in danger. The point rather is to stay strong for those who are doing their best to support you.
The same goes for bad things that might have happened to you. Do you agree that it’s one thing to talk about them *once*, as in sharing an experience, but it’s a totally different act when someone either whines about it or repeats it several times?
The lesson here is to stay positive and, in our case, to focus on the solution, and not the problem. Everyone has problems… Everyone! But I believe that there is always a good side, even if sometimes it’s just harder to find.
4. They accept you for who you are
When’s the last time a dog judged you for anything? Of course, if you’re too lazy to give them to eat or drink, they might insist in their own way, but they never care about how you look, what you eat, what clothes you wear, nothing.
We humans are so used to “tagging” others that we do it as a reflex. The moment we see someone we’ve never seen before, our brain starts tagging! Handsome, Ugly, Tall, Short, Nice, Rude, Fat, Skinny, Likeable, and Annoying are just some of the thousands of tags our mind has in his arsenal.
Though tagging by itself isn’t bad, because at the end of the day, it’s just a personal opinion, but we should learn not to let ourselves fall prey to treating others with less respect than we would ourselves.
I’m not a religious person, but I did read the bible *twice* and one of the most important lessons I’ve learned of is The Golden Rule:
Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
– Matthew 7:12
5. They are always there for you
I’ve known Tihui for over two years now and was very sad to see her go, but my angel, who has known her since she was just 3 months old, was deeply and noticeably affected.
With tears in her eyes she would remember how her faithful dog would *always* come to her room, whenever she was sad or sick, and wouldn’t leave until she felt better.
When is the last time you were there for someone when they were sick? Or when has someone else come to your side when you felt down? As the saying goes:
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
Be there for those you love and be nice to people that you’ve never met before. And please try not to take others for granted… You never know when they won’t be there anymore.
6. They are good listeners
Though the right words at the right time can change the world for the person you’re talking to, sometimes knowing when *not* to speak is the best thing you can do.
Many times when we feel down, we’re not looking for advice, we’re looking for love. We’re looking for understanding and acceptance, maybe sometimes appreciation or even a simple “Thank you.” for something we did.
Dogs feel it when you need love and Tihui was a natural at sniffing out any family member that needed it. Learning to shut up and just listen (which I had to practice a lot) is a skill that can be of great service to you and that would help those around you to feel much more comfortable in your presence.
7. They get excited each time they see you
There was not one occasion in which I would visit Adriana’s house and Tihui wouldn’t get super excited! She would be looking at me with her “I’m so glad to see you!” eyes, even if she saw me yesterday.
Swirling her little tail, moving around with excitement and sometimes jumping on me were just a few of the ways she would greet me each and every time!
We see it as natural for dogs to do that, but slightly weird if a person would do it so often. We do it also sometimes, when we haven’t seen each other for several years or when we’ve recently met, but over time, we generally get less and less excited.
Why is this? Well simply put, familiarity kicks in. You see each other every day, so it’s no surprize when it happens. You know everything you want to know about the other person (sometimes maybe more), so they become slightly boring.
But for dogs it seems to be the other way around. The more love you give them, the more excited they are to see you! Even if you left just a few minutes ago! Doesn’t that sound more logical?
Doesn’t it make more sense that the more time you spend with someone the more excited and appreciative of their time you become? Think about that for a second… Have you been taking anyone for granted lately? Do you remind those you love most of just how grateful you are to have them in your life? I hope you do… Tihui sure did, and it made everyone feel fantastic!
8. They only fight to protect
Naturally, dogs will not harm you if it’s not to protect either themselves or the ones they care about. Of course, many people have put in extra effort to either breed dogs to be aggressive or traumatise them so much that they do not trust humans anymore.
Also, as with humans, different dogs have different ways of interpreting things. For some dogs, just coming into the house without being escorted by the owner is a felony all by itself and they might react inappropriately, even if you mean no harm.
Others, like Tihui was for example, love you the moment you put your foot in the house! Yes, they’re curious to know you first, but they can be so friendly as to start playing with you in a matter of minutes!
Fighting isn’t only physical. Most fighting is verbal. As a general rule, we should avoid any type of fighting, no matter the reason, but the world isn’t as peaceful as we would want it to be, so sometimes you need to protect yourself or others.
Never fight to prove a point or to harm others. The next time you feel that you’re going into a fight, remember that fighting is a loser’s game (because no one really wins) and that man’s best friend has already found a better solution: Love and protect.
9. They are natural experts of the “Puppy Eyes” method
Just two weeks ago, me and Adriana were enjoying lunch at her house. Tihui, hungry as always, even if she just ate, magically appeared near Adriana and just looked in her eyes, nothing more.
Adri asked me if she should I give her whatever she was eating then, but my response was: “No. She just ate. We can give her more later.”
She looked back at Tihui and, just a few seconds later, she turned to me again and said: “But I can’t help myself! Just look at her eyes! I’m sure she’s still hungry! I’ll give her just a bit!”
Can you remember the last time you convinced someone to do something just by looking at them? Many times we forget that words are not the only form of communication. On top of that, words account for only 7% of communication.
We aren’t convinced by what someone says, but by *how* they say it. Tihui didn’t even need words. She got what she wanted only by looking. We can of course do the same, we just need to learn how to use all of the different forms of communication.
In either case, one thing is for sure: Love is a form of communication that is understood by humans and dogs alike. Tihui loved all of her family and friends, and we loved her just as much.
All of the above lessons are parts of the universal emotions of love and caring. If there would be only one idea that I could get through to you today, it would be this:
Love openly and cherish all those around you. Life is such a fragile thing… Let’s learn from Tihui and and fill it up with love and affection towards others.
Tihui! We already miss you! You were the best and will continue to live on in our hearts!
Creating a better tomorrow,