I have a 5 year old german wirehaired pointer/hound mix. He weighs about 75 lbs and is as sleek as a bullet train. He's about as fast as a bullet train as well. In fact, watching him run brings me more joy than almost anything else I do (skiing and some other unmentionables might top the list). Though it is a challenge to have a dog as energetic and intelligent as Milo it is also a wonderful opportunity to learn from one of God's most precious creatures. Here are 10 things that I've learned from Milo over the years. 8. Sleep is good for your body and soul. We are so used to just sleeping 8 hours at night, but sometimes that is not enough. When we run ourselves ragged we need more opportunity to sleep. If someday you just can't get yourself out of bed, then stay there. Don't feel bad about it. Your body needs rest and recovery as much as it needs to be pushed to the limits. Milo runs himself into the ground, but sleeps and sleeps and sleeps once he's home.
7. Do what you want, not what others want you to do. Though as a dog owner, I should resent such a statement, I really admire Milo for this behavior at times. Why shouldn't he eat the chicken off the counter that smells so good at 7 pm when he's hungry from all the adventuring from the day? It's dinner right? Milo knows that he shouldn't eat it, but he wants to, and who can blame him? I'm not saying we should go on a tirade and break the law left and right... I think what I'm getting at is that we often do what pleases others, but forget about what pleases ourselves. So, the next time you just feel like having a piece of chocolate after dinner, do it, or if you'd rather get a pedicure than drive your best friend's mom to the airport, don't feel bad. YOUR NEEDS MATTER TOO!
6. Sleeping in the sun feels really nice. Every day, Milo will lay in the sun patch that comes through our living room window. He'll just stretch out and soak it all in. Sun is good for us! It gives us strong bones, boosts our immune system and reduces our stress. So let's just lay in the sun! Soak it all in... Let its warmth permeate our body and rejuvenate our souls! (Just wear your sunscreen).
5. Sometimes it's fun to just break stuff for the fun of breaking stuff. I've yet to find a toy that Milo cannot destroy. In fact, I think toys are fun for Milo because they can be destroyed. Sure, why not? Breaking things makes you feel strong, powerful and confident. Go to the dollar store. Buy some cheap plates. Smash them on the ground. Sweep up the remains and throw them away. How good did that feel? (Just make sure no animals or children are in the way).
4. Sometimes you just need to let it all out! Every now and again (bordering on more nows than thens) Milo just barks like a madman. He barks so loud and gets so riled up that you'd think the world was coming to an end. Our neighbors probably think that we've had few small earthquakes in Salt Lake lately because of his powerful, house shaking bark. But often, when he's done with his rant he seems very relaxed and satisfied. We are always so concerned about being politically correct that we never really say what's on our mind in a satisfying way. Unfortunately that's for good reason most of the time. But allow yourself some time whether it be alone or with a non-judgmental 3rd party to just VENT! Let it all out. Scream, yell, shout, what ever you need to do. I imagine it will feel really good and you'll probably be able to carry on quite well afterward.
3. Playing with others is a great learning opportunity. I have seen my dog play with so many animals over the years and I think that it has made him a better athlete. Honestly, watching Milo observe what other animals do is an amazing experience. You can see his brain working. If that squirrel can climb the tree, so can I! Though he hasn't successfully climbed a tree yet, he did manage to make it to the top of Mt. Olympus- the VERY TOP! (For those of you that haven't hiked Mt. Olympus, the last 200 vertical feet is sheer boulder scrambling...my dog climbed up it.) So, what do I take from that? Well, simple, though sometimes it's easy to be threatened by others' abilities, we need to be inspired by them. Say to ourselves, if they can do it, SO CAN I!
2. Love unconditionally. Milo doesn't think about what I look like physically, he doesn't care how I smell, or how cranky I've been lately. He loves me unconditionally. He is not afraid to just give in to that feeling of love wholly and completely. We are often afraid of such a commitment, but what a beautiful thing.
1. Sometimes you need to stop to smell the roses. Milo loves to run and play as much as I do, but when we are out he takes everything in. He sniffs every inch of land that he can get to and takes in his surroundings in all ways possible. We get so used to using certain senses that we forget how full of an experience we can have if we open ourselves up a bit. The next time you are on a beautiful hike stop, dig in the dirt, take in the beauty, SMELL THE ROSES... these are opportunities to feel so alive!