Five Things You Can Learn from Puppies
NOTES FROM PUPPY-PALOOZA LAND!
Currently I have a litter of 6 Australian Shepherd puppies that are 7 weeks old. This is the first litter I have raised for almost 40 years.
They’ve been a lot of work, but they’ve also reminded me of very important aspects of life.
Here are five reminders from my litter of puppies:
Puppies require patience, even when you want to tear your hair out. The world is brand new to them, and they have a tendency to explore every nook and cranny. Recently a couple of puppies managed to escape from their whelping area, ran into my bedroom, grabbed a sock from the laundry basket and played tug of war with it. Another one dragged my bathmat out of the bathroom and proceeded to poop on it.
- Setting boundaries
Puppies need to know what is acceptable and what isn’t. Although they explore and experience the world through their mouths, they are not allowed to be land sharks. No biting the hands that feed them! Or ankles, or noses or any other part of the human body. They are not allowed to jump on people or grab the bottom of the human’s bathrobe and pull. The adult dogs are very good at setting boundaries with the pups, such as the growl that says, “you’re invading my space”. Or the raised lip that warns, “if you jump on me one more time you are going to regret it.”
One of the most important puppy lessons I’ve re-learned: They are excellent rascals. Puppy antics are better than watching Comedy Central or most stand-up comedians. Being with the puppies reminds me of how important laughter is. It shakes off the heaviness, a kind of giggly oxygenation. Everything feels lighter, buoyant, and the puppies feel it too.
There’s something about holding a puppy in your arms, that brings out our human gentleness. There’s something about the way a puppy looks up at our faces that goes right to our hearts. Puppies open the softer emotional currents in me and help heal the scars.
Being able to observe puppies is a glimpse into their world. Doing so takes us out of our digital obsessions. I find that I feel more childlike when I just sit and watch the pups, the wonder of these little beings learning about their world and my feet. Observation gives us permission to be in-the-moment, and present … just like the puppies.
Raising a litter of puppies takes a lot of work, but oh the gifts they bring to us—and the puppy lessons they remind us of—are immeasurable!