While out riding my scooter yesterday, I drove past a new dog park our city built. It has become an instant hit with dogs and dog owners of our city. The number of dogs and dog owners was the highest I’ve ever seen it but what really caught my attention was the ruckus going on in one corner of the park.
All eyes were focused on this corner of the park where two golden retrievers were dancing together in a mud puddle too tempting to pass up. These dogs couldn’t help themselves and the mud and water was flying everywhere.
As I reflected on the fun those dogs were having, several lessons started forming in my mind from my visit to the dog park. Lessons for life. Lessons for all of us.
Life Lessons from the Dog Park
1. Play time keeps you healthier and happier
Those two golden retrievers plus the 25 other dogs engaging at different levels of fun were better off because they had gone for their walk and met their friends for some play time. Some dogs are quite content to simply watch other dogs play and get pleasure from watching while others need to jump in to have maximum fun.
If you take some time to play a little each day, you will be a lot healthier and happier!
2. If you’re hurting, you have to slow down but can still enjoy the walk
Dogs develop all kinds of ailments from bad hips to sore feet to poor eye sight. One dog owner taking her two dogs for a walk had one out front and another one limping along a few feet behind. The dog in the back didn’t look miserable but just needed more time to go slow and live with his limitations and not be rushed on his walk.
When you’re hurting, you have to slow down – but you don’t have to be miserable or stop going for walks altogether!
3. Exercise keeps you calm and reduces stress
When the dogs go through the gate into the dog park and are let off their leash, a surge of adrenaline rushes through their body and their stress falls off. Dogs are so much calmer at home when they’ve had a run in the park.
This week I started riding the stationary bike – it has calmed me down and lowered my stress!
4. It’s more fun to play with others than alone
A smile formed on my face when I saw dogs in the dog park find other dogs to chase and play with. There are some dogs who don’t play well with others but those who do seem to have more fun.
I went to a hockey game last week with two friends. I had way more fun than if I had gone alone!
5. When you face uncertainty you can get grumpy
While riding down the path, a dog approached me and started to growl. I wasn’t sure if I should grab my crutch from behind my seat and prepare for an attack or keep looking straight ahead and avoid eye contact. What was this dog thinking? He was probably afraid and uncertain about this shiny red scooter and was growling to protect himself?
When we are afraid and uncertain about life, we can become aggravated and grumpy.
6. When you are grumpy, you need accountability and reassurance
When the growling dog’s owner walked past me she said, “Did my dog just growl at you?” I said, “Yes, but I wasn’t too scared.” She apologized and proceeded to give some much needed feedback to her dog.
When we get grumpy because of uncertainty or fear, we need someone to tell us “Fear not! This perceived threat is not as bad as you think it is. Just keep walking!”
Final word: So next time you are out for a walk or a drive and past a dog park, think about all the lessons you can learn from these furry friends.
Now go and have some fun today!
What lesson do you need to learn today?
What lesson would you add to this list?
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