6 life lessons I learnt from my dog Joey

9 months ago, Joey joined our little family. We are home number 5 and feel the luckiest family on Earth to have found him.

Joey was rejected as a pup because he was a lurcher, not a greyhound (so couldn’t be raced). This was his first lucky escape based on what I am learning about the dog racing industry, so he has certainly landed on his paws as a result.

Being taken away from mum too soon, then passed from pillar to post, is without doubt unsettling but the unconditional love that dogs have, has meant he didn’t give up and eventually he found his forever home, with us.

Yes he’s been a right twat, eating my slippers, makeup and glasses (two pairs). He has ‘opened’ my post, stolen my lunch and found his way into the bin more times than I can remember, but I wouldn’t change any part of him.

We’ve worked really hard to help him settle and I’m learning, albeit too slowly not to leave stuff within reach of his giraffe neck and his chops that move faster than the speed of light.

And I often think not only have we saved him from a life he didn’t deserve, but he’s also saved us.

This is what Joey has taught me:

Accept Yourself.
Joey doesn’t care his ears point in different directions; that they don’t stand up like other dog’s do. In fact Joey’s ears flop around like a helicopter in the wind and when his right one points to the sky he can hear EVERYTHING. Especially the dishwasher opening from 500ft. And squirrels. Lots of squirrels.

There are a lot of things like this that Joey has learnt to be grateful for too. Like thighs of steel that make him run like a rocket. He can twerk too. He wiggles his bum when he wants to play. It seems to be a universal sign that both dogs and hoomans understand. Basically, Joey doesn’t give a rats arse what he looks like, he is just focusing on finding happiness. And food!

Love unconditionally.
Joey doesn’t care that some of his buddies have kept their balls, are taller than him, have longer, wavier fur or that they steal his stick. He loves them all, unconditionally. They don’t compare themselves you see. Dogs also accept you have bad hair days and haven’t done the hoovering. And that they have smelly farts, it’s no big deal. It makes life a lot easier you see, especially when you go through ruff patches.

Show compassion.
Joey definitely has a sixth sense. He picks up on your energy and vibes. He knows when I’m sad, stressed or excited and typically mirrors my behaviour. He’s never been known to turn down a cuddle but he is often the first one to comfort me (as it’s usually just me n him at home in the day). In fact he has helped me take notice of how I’m feeling; to stop and pause, to decide what the best, next move should be. He’s shown me how important it is to meet our most basic needs in life – to rest, play, eat or get your belly rubbed.

Find the joy.
There is fun in everything Joey does. Especially when it comes to getting outside. Joey doesn’t have a fit bit. He doesn’t count his steps. He just wants to get outside, do zoomies and see what new smells he can find.

Joey has got me back walking every day and now I’m running again. Me n him. Him n me. The things I love most about our jollies is the conversations we have, the things we see; exploring new places and meeting new friends.

Joey has taught me to notice the world around us, to connect with nature, to listen to and better respect my body. Joey has reminded me of joyful movement; not punishing or pushing through the pain or fatigue barrier. Joy should be at the centre of everything we do.

Communicate
As annoying as it can be (the early morning deafening shout in your left ear), the ‘looks’ whilst he waits patiently at the back door, for you to get up for the umpteenth time to show him the rain still coming out of the sky, Joey talks all the time. I’ve learnt to understand the different barks, whines and squeaks. And his body language. He asks for help when he needs it, something us hoomans are not great at. I’m doing more of this myself now.

Live life
Joey lives each moment to the fullest. OK he sleeps ALOT but when he’s awake, he’s up for doin’ stuff! He doesn’t dwell on yesterday or fret about tomorrow. He listens to his main needs (mostly food orientated) in the moment. Whether it’s to play tugga tugga, football, sleep or eat, he enjoys what’s happening and makes it count. Until he falls asleep again. I still have lots to learn about living this way and, whether you have a dog or not, may also find these lessons of value too.

If you have a dog, what life lessons have they taught you?

Mel x