My girlfriend and I recently moved in together. (And you, too, can get the girl of your dreams immediately upon releasing a dating book! How’s that for one of my life lessons?)
As expected with a move of this magnitude, some things in my life have changed. My living room is newly redecorated and I miraculously have 14 throw pillows. I have a bar! And I also inherited a 12 pound shitzu named Chloe.
Now, let the record show that I have never been a dog person. Ever. Even when I adopted a rescue dog in 2013 – a huge-ass Pitbull/American Bulldog named Buddy – I was a reluctant owner. And it may or may not have even been a partial deal-breaker in a previous relationship.
Well, lo and behold, I swore up and down I’d never become a dog person, and there I am, on the kitchen floor mumbling baby talk to a dog that weighs the same as a sack of potatoes.
But in addition to being absolutely obsessed with this animal, I’ve learned a few life lessons from her too.
Dogs Don’t Need Instagram or Facebook to be Happy. I’m not implying that Chloe, in her infinite wisdom, woke up one day and said, with a sense of drama and sincere introspection, “you know what? Technology is tying me down. I’m gonna ditch my iPhone and enjoy a walk in the neighborhood.” But nonetheless, she loves going for walks. I just say the word “walk” and she freaks; tail wagging, tongue out. It’s like how I would be if Jason Statham was my neighbor, and someone told me he was just getting back from set. When Chloe and I are out, she’s wide-eyed, looking at a new flower, smelling a tree, or shitting on the sidewalk (two out of three isn’t bad). She’s noticed more about my neighborhood in four weeks than I have in four years. And there I am, staring down at my phone, thumbing through droves of nothing, wondering why life feels monotonous sometimes. Chloe may not have my sophistication, but she doesn’t need it – she knows the amount of joy that can be had from a clear mind on a clear day. And nothing else.
Dogs Just Want to Love You. I’ve lived my entire life in perpetual search of external validation, and who knew all I had to do was get a dog? I am not that special (which is another one of my life lessons, but we’ll table it). But Chloe follows me around the kitchen, paws at my feet while I whip up a Nespresso, or just whines until I let her sit on my lap while I work. And she is happy and fulfilled by doing it. In her eyes, I am George Clooney, and I am so grateful for her dog brain in that regard. Chloe knows that love is one of those things that, the more we give away, the more of it we get.
Chloe Knows How to Shut Off Her Mind. Life gets stressful. Which is a little vague, but insert whatever it is that causes you stress if you need it to be more specific; the pace of work, money worries, relationship struggles, etc. Chloe doesn’t have that problem. She knows that life is as simple as we allow it to be. So when she’s relaxing, that’s all she’s doing – she’s not worrying about what she’ll eat later, if we’ll go across the street or around the block for her next walk, or if I’ll give her the chewy snack treat or the crunchy one. She can’t control those things, anyway. So she kicks back, let’s me wrap her in a blanket, and she passes out, or watches HGTV. Not a worry in the world.
I wonder what else I’ll learn from Chloe, though rest assured you won’t find me shitting on any sidewalks. I haven’t learned everything from her.