Nothing is too good for our dogs.
I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you're as guilty as I am of going "over budget" (is there really such a thing?) on things for your dogs. We buy them the best food, give the best toys, send them to daycare, unquestionably cover medical expenses that would likely stop us in our tracks if they were for ourselves. Heck, we even take them out in the rain and sleet and snow (which is never as much fun as it should be). There are no compromises when it comes to the important things for their health and happiness. Our dogs, our best friends, deserve the absolute best. No question.
BUT, what if we reversed the roles... what if your dog was responsible for YOUR care? What would they say the most important things are?
I asked a few pups, and they were eager to share the most important rules for giving their human a happy and healthy life. Just like us, there were no compromises; but go figure, it seems they know what we need better than we know ourselves. These were their human guidelines...
- ALWAYS leave the gate open. Your human needs to explore and have fun every. single. day. With the gate always open, you and your human can both easily get out there to soak up the world. (also big bonus: You will always be together adventuring!)
- TREATS. Humans love treats, and we love treats, so this one's a no-brainer for human happiness. You'll know you chose the right ones when your human makes happy stretching sounds eating them. Give them as many as they want! (They'll probably share!)
- Humans can be unpredictable, sometimes they get very loud or very quiet for no reason. This is confusing and scary at first, but you can help! Here's how: Get as close as you can, give some kisses, and remind them that they're the best human you've ever met. We think sometimes they forget? Must be a human thing.
- Always protect your human. There are all sorts of dangers that they're unaware of. Sometimes they'll think they don't need you, just let them believe that. You know better. They rely on us for bravery and security, and it is the easiest hard job we do.
- Keep your human in the soft spots. Especially if they are soft warm spots. Even more especially if they are soft warm spots by a fireplace. They will think they need to get up for something unimportant, but hold them down with your paw or your head, or your whole body (hey we don't judge!). They will thank you.
- Schedules. Your human probably wont like this, but they need structure. When it's time for the most important parts of the day (morning stretches, adventures, all food, evening stretches etc.) you may have to initiate. These things can be hard to train our ever-anxious human, but keeping the basics in order actually allows more time for fun! Worth the effort!
- Just as important as structure, humans need play! This one's easy. Just grab one of the fun gifts from your human, be yourself, and lead by example until they join you. You might have to use some pretty weird tactics, but they'll figure it out eventually. When they do, there is nothing better!
- Humans need other humans, but they are usually scared of each other (weird, right?). Do your best to show how safe and great your human is by saying hello first to other humans and being your best fun self. For some reason this always makes humans smell hands and talk to each other, it's magic!
- Never let your human out of your sight! We haven't seen it happen ourselves, but we've heard that sometimes they disappear. Yes. Terrifying. Just the thought of them leaving and never coming back is enough to make you chew something up! So always keep an eye on them no matter where they go (even to the small territory room), just in case.
- Most important rule! More than anything else, your human needs YOU. There is something we can give humans just by being ourselves. This is one of those "easy to feel and hard to explain" things, but y'know how your absolute favorite toy is always there, no matter how rough you play with it, or where you leave it, or how old and tattered it is? Like it's a part of you that is there whenever you need it and is full of all the good memories? It's kind of like that.
What do you think? Do they have it right? I mean we may buy our dogs anything they could ever want, but they seem to understand what it is we actually need, all of us.
My question is:
What if you treated yourself the way your dog would treat you?
Be gentle, be present, be adventurous, be protective, be playful, and be loving with yourself. Look at yourself through their eyes. Quiet the easy excuses. Know you deserve it!
It's what your dog would want. ❤
Just a few amazing dogs who've taken very good care of their humans... Their canine wisdom lives on.